Thursday, August 19, 2004

Growing Old Ungracefully 

by John H
I was getting a haircut today (for the record, I get my hair cut at a posh salon known as "Dollar Cuts") when the stylist had to run to the front to make an appointment for a walk-in. While she was gone, I looked down at some of the hair that had fallen in my lap. It looked remarkably like salt and pepper. "That's impossible," I thought. I'll find a rogue gray hair now and then, but I'm 27 years old and I hardly look gray. I also didn't have my glasses on so I figured there must be some mistake.

Turns out, it isn't. Gray hair seemed to surround me - to mock me. I never thought I'd be this kind of guy, but I don't handle getting older well. I know I don't qualify as "old" - not by a long shot. But I've had a very enjoyable last five or so years. Childhood and adolescence wasn't kind to me, so being a young, post-missionary Mormon was pretty sweet.

To get to the point, I think dealing with age and death is where a lot of Church members have me beat. I'm the kind of person who says living is a lot more important than believing, that life is short so make the most of it, and that the here and now is a lot more appealing than the hereafter. So I find, unlike most faithful Church members I meet, that I don't deal well when pondering old age or death. I like living and what life has to offer. And my inherent skepticism means I can't be all that confident of where (if anywhere) I'll be headed when I give up the ghost. Getting old is pretty much the one thing we're all guaranteed, so it seems silly to fret over it at all. And the rational person in my mind tells me that very thing. But I still find I do it.

So, any advice for a young fellow who hasn't the wisdom, experience, or mind to deal with the inevitable in a very thoughtful way?

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