You know you’ve reached old age when:
- You only buy pants that have elastic waists.
- The only performing artist you recognized at the Grammy Awards was Bonnie Raitt. Not only do you not know the latest hot musicians and actors, but your favorites from the old days are dying, getting strokes or showing up at awards ceremonies in wheelchairs or escorted by younger people.
- When you get together with friends, the first thing you talk about is your health: how was your knee replacement surgery? What are you doing for your sciatica? How did the cataract surgery go? Has John recovered from his stroke?
- Your keep Kleenex in every pocket of every pair of pants or jacket.
- You buy shoes a half size too big because your feet are getting bigger as you age and wearing down from overuse.
- Everyone speaks too fast. You’re constantly asking your TV-watching partner: What did he say? Similarly, you forget who’s who in a complicated detective show and keep asking: Wait, who’s that? Was that the man who shot at the police officer or the one who found the body by the lake?
- The music in restaurants is too loud. But you hesitate to ask the server to turn it down because you remember your father making himself obnoxious by constantly complaining about the loud music and that he couldn’t even hear himself think.
- You prefer old movies, preferably from the 1970s, over contemporary ones, which have strange plots and don’t make sense.
- Even though you hated him when you were young, Richard Nixon looks to be a model of dignity and honesty compared to the current crop of lying and cheating politicians.
- You and your friends tell each other how much better life was when you were young, how technology is ruining the world, people drive too fast nowadays, and young people don’t know how to communicate.
- You bite your tongue when you find yourself saying, “When I was young,” but you can’t keep yourself from telling your grandchildren that there was once a time before computers, the Internet and cell phones; that we only had four televisions stations; people were nicer then; we did all our research using the encyclopedia; and gas was less than $1 gallon. You want to impress them with how much the world has changed, but they don’t believe you and they don’t care.
- You buy shoes that come with Velcro closings because your arthritic fingers can’t quite manage tying shoelaces.
- You’re bored by most TV sitcoms, which seem to feature young people endlessly flirting with each other.
- You’re horrified by the clothes young people are wearing now and the piercings and tattoos—so revealing, so tight! —conveniently forgetting you outraged your parents when you were young by wearing bib overalls, mini-skirts, short hair (for women) and long hair (for men).
- You start referring to “young people” to differentiate them from “old people,” of which you are now one. You’ve crossed some threshold, and there’s no going back.