I was leaving work a few days ago, and bumped into a new friend on my way to the parking garage. As I walked through an alley where I've met many interesting people, I saw someone at the end of the alley waving to me.
The sun was in my eyes, so I couldn't tell anything about this person until I got closer. It didn't look like anyone I knew. I shaded my eyes, and saw it was a fellow wearing a white beanie helmet. Ah-ha! A biker!
I waved back.
I caught up to him as he was getting on to his BMW. I told him to have a good ride. When he turned to face me, I saw that he was an old man - easily 70 years old. He gave me a joyful smile, and I noticed he was missing most of his teeth. His eyes twinkled, and he told me to do the same, and asked me if I'd been parked next to him on the fifth floor of the garage.
We talked briefly, and then he roared off to go pick up some older ladies, or do whatever it is old bikers do.
Honestly, he made my entire day.
I love old folks who are still living, not just waiting to die. I hope that when I'm in my 70's, I'm still riding, causing trouble, and having neighbors younger than me tell me to turn down that confounded heavy metal music.
Lust for life is not only for the young. There are a disturbing number of folks I've known/met who are still in their twenties and seem like they're just waiting to die. How sad. We are not meant to be "kids" until we graduate from high school or college, then live tedious, consumerist lives waiting to retire so we can do all the things we dreamt of doing, and then never do any of it because we're old and it's scary out there.
"Old" and "Grown Up" are mindsets. My greatest fear is that I might become a cranky, paranoid, judgemental old man.
In high school, the mother of a friend asked me, in a disapproving tone, why I acted so silly. I told her that I wasn't ready to stop having fun, and I could still get away with it since I was a minor. Of course, what I thought was "So I don't end up like you, you nasty old crone."
I was a little more well-mannered in those days. Now my response would have been two words, one starting with an F, and the second with a Y.
I don't think you're "old" until you decide that you're old. Then you give up your curiosity, stop having adventures, and watch the world pass by in quiet desperation.
And that's when you die. After that, you spend the rest of your "life" regretting things you never did, trying to relive the things that you did do, and eventually you cease being.
Me, I want to live up until I'm dead - toothless, battered, joyful, sublime.