OK, I admit it. I went to the matinee to see Magic Mike, and the theater was packed. Two hundred women, and me. We laughed when Matthew McConaughey wiggled his butt cheeks, cheered as Channing Tatum unveiled his thong, and howled at the stripper using a penis pump before he went on stage. Of course, only a few characters in the movie were over the age of 28, and the combined body fat measurement of the entire cast was under three percent. Six-pack abs and tight torsos danced the night away, drank heavily, and then went to breakfast until 4 a.m.
Driving home afterwards, I reflected on my younger days when I too could stay up all hours of the night frolicking in one dance club or another. In those days, I went to the gym religiously, and my body responded with rock-hard biceps and a broad chest. I ate pizza, burgers and fries, yet somehow my metabolism maintained a 30" waist. Nowadays, I'm in bed by 10:30 p.m., pulling back muscles putting on my pants, wearing reading glasses as thick as a Coke bottle, and instantly gaining six pounds if I bite into a carrot.
Aging gracefully isn't always easy and I guess, like most folks, I sometimes focus on the negative aspects of getting older. I worry about illness, gradually losing my independence, not having enough savings for retirement, and mourning the death of friends. Whether I like it or not, the clock is ticking, and there really isn't much I can do about it.
I'm going to try my best to embrace the realities of aging and the inevitable changes that are part of that journey. I'm going to make an effort to anticipate the challenges ahead, accept them, and trust that new chapters filled with love and laughter will also be written as part of my life story. Like all of us, I have the capacity for ongoing learning, spiritual growth, meaningful relationships, and the purposeful pursuit of new goals and activities. Some in our youth-obsessed culture will judge me, and you, as we age together. But, I'm starting to care very little about what they think. Instead, I'm going to do my best to approach the coming years with optimism, humor and resilience.
"OK world, here I am. Get ready for . . . Magic Jeff!"
(Aging clipart via Bigstock)