Saturday, June 17, 2006

My End is not near!

I’m only 59 years old. I feel like an 18 year-old inside the body of a 45 year-old. Old is a relative thing. When I was really 18, Old Age started somewhere between the ages of 50 and 60. Now that I’m between 50 and 60, albeit barely, Old Age doesn’t start until after 70. I’m not there yet but I am getting closer to it even though it is moving away.

This week I was working with a young woman around 30 years old. While discussing sleeping habits I mentioned that I like to wake up early – between 4 and 5 AM. She said that she was a night person and doesn’t go to bed until after midnight. I added that I am also a night person and I, too, stay up late. I said, “I just don’t sleep long now that I’m older”. She asked me if I didn’t sleep long because I’m thinking about dying soon.

What the …! I haven’t even reached Old Age but this young woman thinks that I’m close to the End. I’ve heard people say, “He died of Old Age”, but he wasn’t 59! Maybe 99 or 89 but not 59!

Do I look like I’m about to expire? I have a nice tan on my face from my convertible sports car. That’s not the look of Near Death!

Since my conversation with this young agent of doom I haven’t been sleeping well. I realized that this was not the first time that somebody has thought that I was near the End.

A few years ago I attended a reunion of sailors that had served on the Navy destroyer USS Braine. I'm one of the younger sailors from one of the last crews. Some of the attendees had served on the Braine in WW2. During one story telling session, one of the older sailors learned from one of my shipmates that I have had hepatitis C for several years. The old sailor was shocked. He told me that he’s known two people that contracted hep C and both died after only a few years. One of them had been married to one of his friends. Since USS Braine reunions were held every other year, this old sailor thought we should meet every year for the next couple of years WHILE I WAS STILL ALIVE!

It was funny the first time but now I’m getting concerned. I'm concerned that these suggestions could shorten my life. I’m only 59! Even my wife is contributing. Since January 1st when I tell somebody that I’m only 59, she says “You’re 60 this year.” Yes, I’ll be 60 in October; however, right now I’m only 59 and I just don’t require a lot of sleep.


Karen said...

Man o man....people can really place the head trips, yes?
I suffer from this "what the..", as well. I have lupus and fibromyalgia, etc. Half the people I know with lupus fight for their lives. Some days I feel 80...most days 35....
Joe, I know a couple of people with Hep C and they are fine and thriving after many, many years.
You look young and healthy!

Joe said...

Yes, some people just don't think about the impact of what they are going to say and perhaps a very few don't care. It's typical to reflect privately on a matter sensitive to somebody else because we are curious and it helps us to understand how we will or are dealing with the matter. It's not typical, however, for an adult to blurt out every thought that crosses his mind like a curious 2 year-old.

Karen said...

I don't know....I've found it typical that a lot of adults act like 2 year olds! :-)

ginny said...

Joe, I know you are young at 59. Hep C or no, take care of yourself and you will be fine and with lots of years left to enjoy your life, and even renew your life. I will be 59 next month and I in no way feel like I am heading for my last days. I have many younger friends and I have much more energy than they do. There is no need for your wife to say you are 60
"this year". You are 59 now, and I am 58 now. No need to qualify that by saying how old you will be this year. Does she say she will be "however old this year"? Of course, I imagine not.