College fine hiding place from age

It occurred to me the other day when I was looking at our vacation pictures and noticed the large amount of gray hair poking out from under my baseball cap, but it really hit me when I was at the doctor this week; I’m getting old.

“Your cholesterol is a little high,” he told me. “Watch your diet and exercise and we’ll see if it comes down; otherwise we’ll have to get you on medication.”

“You’ll also want to start taking a baby aspirin every day; it’s good for strokes, heart attacks and colon cancer.”

Cholesterol? Baby aspirin? Colon cancer?

Am I getting that old? I can’t be, I reasoned with myself as I left his office; I’m a college student.

For the last two years that’s how I’ve been able to think of myself, as a college student, albeit a non-traditional one, but a college student nonetheless.

Non-traditional means I’m older than 25, and/or married (I am), and/or have kids (I do). According to the stat-keepers, there were 38 percent of us on this campus last year; that’s a lot of people in denial.

In reality, though, I just realized, it means I’m old, and I’m dissatisfied. It means I tried in the world, but was weighed and found wanting and I have come back to these hallowed halls of education to correct whatever deficiencies I possess.

I don’t know what I was thinking, though. Was I thinking time would stop as I bettered myself? Was I thinking everything would halt and I would make my turn on a dime instead of having this large swooping curve when I move as much forward as I do around?

Time doesn’t stop, however. I looked at my oldest son yesterday and realized he’s grown a foot since I’ve been here.

This being old explains a lot, actually. It explains why the professors laugh harder at my jokes than the other students.’ It explains why history is so much easier for me than the rest of the class and computers are so much harder.

And it explains why when I tell my wife about my newest lab partner that is so attractive, and so friendly, she just smiles and says “That’s nice.” That’s condescending, is what that is.

This realization does raise some fairly serious questions, however. Have I waited too long to get started with my life? Will I be able to catch up with the rest of the world when I get out? And is that look I’m getting from that girl over by Steely, is she flirting or fearful?

Why is that old guy looking at me? Hurry! Get in the library!

There are some men my age that combat their advancing years with shiny, new, expensive cars and shiny, new, expensive women. They look at a picture one day and realize where they are, and what they have become, and it scares the hell out of them. So they jump in their new car and leave their wife and kids in a cloud of dust.

That’s not me though and, even if it were, I couldn’t afford it.

But as I learned in writing class, there are different ways I can tell my story. I can tell my story chronologically, a series of events one after another, or I can tell my story in order of importance. I prefer the latter.

No, I was born, I lived, I died – that’s for family Bibles. If it’s just dates and times, and not what I did, or what I can do, that’s when I really start thinking I’m getting old.