SMIT: Making the best

Ah, the beauty, and not so much, of getting older, explains Parksville Qualicum Beach News columnist Ray Smit

Doris Day once said, “The only problem with middle age is that it ends.” Doris had a point. Age sneaks up on you. Even though I still think of myself as 25, the brutal truth is that I’m more than twice that now. And to be frank, middle age has not been kind!

When I was a teenager I was so skinny that if I stood sideways on the beach and stuck out my tongue I looked like a zipper. Once, playing tennis, my girlfriend stared at my pale skin and huge shock of blonde hair and giggled, “You look like a giant Q-Tip!”

So what happened to my weight? To be fair, many people develop muffin tops in middle age. But not me. Mine is actually more of an umbrella top. Sadly, my loose 32-inch jeans have been replaced with extremely snug 38s. They cut off my circulation but I’m too vain to buy 40s. So I guess it’s a judgment on me that I’ve begun walking like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. “Oil can! Oil can!”

Another sure sign of aging is crow’s feet. These days I’ve got more wrinkles than the old plum I forgot at the back of the fridge. The other night I fell asleep on my stomach and awoke to find creases on my chest. I looked like I’d been crisscrossed by wagon ruts. Not exactly the rugged cowboy look I was going for.

Another change wrought by middle age is the deterioration of my singing voice. Sure I think I’m a young Paul McCartney when I’m crooning in the shower, but I sound uncannily like Grampa Simpson everywhere else. Which just goes to show what kind-hearted folks go to my church. They still applaud me even though I sound like a rototiller unearthing a dead skunk. When I was a teenage rock singer, young girls would ask for my autograph. Now I sing at care homes and older girls ask for their walkers. The polite ones just remove their hearing aids.

When I was a teen I could memorize anything I read. I could learn Bible passages in mere minutes. Now I’m lucky I still remember that John 3:16 is in the New Testament. If you’re wondering about your own memory, I invite you to try to recite the Lord’s Prayer by heart. You’ll find it in Matthew 6: 9-13. And, yes, I had to Google it.

In the end, it’s all about making the best of life. Since love is lovelier the second time around, I’ve made a long list of changes to attract the fairer sex. The highlights include losing weight, taking singing lessons and suddenly becoming breathtakingly handsome.

Okay, no one said it would be easy. Nevertheless, a new and improved me is just around the corner! At least it will be if I can only remember where I put my list.