I’m Getting Too Old For This (Aren’t I?)

As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary. ~Ernest Hemingway

Kid, you gotta look for heroes somewhere else
A very strange thing has happened to me in the last year. I’ve started to feel various aches and pains in places that were previously virgin territory. Like the soles of my feet. I mean, I’m on my feet most of the day and I stay in decent shape, so what was the big deal? “Oh, that,” my mom practically laughed when I told her. “Sounds like you’re dealing with the beginnings of arthritis.”
Arthritis? Isn’t that, well, an old person’s ailment? Yes and no. Lucky me, I won the genetic lottery for the early-onset variation of the disease, so I know what’s now a nagging pain is going to be a screaming agony as I age. At the same time, I’m only in my early 30s, not a geriatric crone sitting on some nursing home stoop waiting for God. I run, I climb rock walls, I fly planes with supervision. I’m in that “active” category. Nothing’s going to slow me down shy of a broken leg.
The reason all of this had me thinking was simple. This week I received the opportunity to attend yet another obscure sci-fi convention in yet another obscure American suburb attended by my favorite actor. Every few years, I say I’m done with them. I rationalize that it’s like teenage girls chasing the Beatles (then) or Justin Bieber (now.) Done, over, fini. Then a chance pops up and I jump on it faster than a starving dog on Beggin’ Strips. After all, I am a (sort of) professional thirtysomething now, not a starving college kid or some lovesick teenager.

These women probably ARE old now

At the same time, I feel as drawn to my old stomping grounds as the swallows are drawn to San Juan Capistrano every year. It’s something I have to do. Not just to meet my heroes (although that’s part of it), but to have an adventure. For the uninitiated, it is sort of fun to fly to someplace new, rent a car, and cram in a hotel room with six or seven like-minded friends whom you’ve only ever talked to online. It’s a definite bonding experience. And I’ve never *not* had fun when I was doing it.
At my age I’m turning into one of the crusty old veterans. If this were a baseball movie, I’d be the Crash Davis or the Jake Taylor character, the wise, slightly jaded old-timer catcher passing on wisdom to the Nuke LaLoosh and Wild Thing Vaughn  generation. This is my 14th year going to sci-fi conventions in weird locations. There are times when I do feel just like a journeyman ballplayer, going from place to place and meeting a daffy assortment of quirky personalities. It’s not just a life. It’s a lifestyle.
Who the hell cares if I’m considered “too old” for some of these flights of fancy? It’s not as if I’m getting a tattoo in my 60s (not that there’s anything wrong with that) or riding a Harley in my 70s (ditto there.) We only live once. If we all sat around sensibly discussing stock prices and political debates, life would be one big boring morass. I’m just helping to add a little spice to my life as well as others’ lives. And maybe I’m trying to get a little wiser along the way. If not that, maybe more anecdotes in my planned book about a life spent going to conventions.
After I get back, there’s always next year’s Warrior Dash or the opportunity to go zip-lining. To hell with arthritis…those are just too much fun to pass up.

I'm not too old for this, either, Smithers

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on September 7, 2011.

3 Responses to “I’m Getting Too Old For This (Aren’t I?)”

  1. I so related to your post. I found myself avoiding going to sci fi conventions thinking, I’m getting too old etc. Then when William Shatner came to town last year and I got to shake his hand and get an autograph, I was so thrilled. It’s nice to go back to a simpler, younger time.

  2. I can completely relate. I’m 38, and I found out a few months ago that I have some arthritis also. And yeah, I’m fond of conventions too.

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abandonen toda esperanza aquellos que entren aqui


You - philosophical, thoughtful, witty. Me - still thinks fart jokes are funny. We should DEFINITELY get together!

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