Confronting one's true age

A number of incidents in the past few days have called my attention to my chronological age.

Not that I'm in a state of denial that I am growing old. It's just that my mental outlook, physical state and age somehow aren't synchronized.

Is it my fault that I still wear pants with 31 inch waist?

Should I be blamed for being slim, and retaining for the most part the hair that I was born with, though that has to be retouched every so often to mask the gray streaks?

Should it be taken against me that I've been spared from being constantly reminded of my age by the terminology that certain family members use to refer to an older member like me?  I'm not "Daddy" to anyone as I have no children of own; not "Lolo" either as I have no grandchildren. The worst term I have to endure is to be called "Tito" by some of my cousin's children. I say "some" as a number of my other nephews/nieces still refer to me as "Kuya".

I still read the comics page of the Sunday newspaper.

Not bad for somebody who is turning 57 later this year.

And then graduation time came.

I've been invited to speak on March 30 in the morning recognition program of the local public high school where I graduated. The fact that I finished high school there in 1967 -- 40 years ago -- will be mentioned.

That same day, in the afternoon, I am scheduled to be the  graduation speaker in the public elementary school that I attended. That I graduated there in 1963 -- 44 years ago -- will be announced.

I'm sure the parents in the audience -- twenty something of age for those of the elementary kids; thirty something for those of the high school ones -- will treat me with exactly the same awe and reverence that they give to their fathers/grandfathers. Aaargh!

My only consolation is that principals tend to be of the same age or older than me. At least there'll be somebody in those two schools whom I can call "Sir" or "Ma'am" without any guilt at all.

To be realistic about it, when I visit my old schools after 40 or so years, I don't expect to find any of my former teachers there to welcome me. Kinuha na silang lahat ni Lord... though I'm sure na hindi silang lahat ay kasama ni Lord. ;-)

Then, a couple of days ago my right knee swelled slightly after I finished all by myself a big pack of cashew nuts. The doctor's verdict: I could be suffering from rheumatism which got delayed in manifesting itself as some people start experiencing it when they turn 40. Should I be happy then that it missed me by 17 years?!

Will I be able to walk straight on March 30 when I make my two public appearances, I wonder.

Anyway, if you'll excuse me, I have to look for my grandfather's cane. Better early than sorry as they say.

[March 15, 2007]