Kids, I don’t want you to be afraid of getting old. Aging is a marvelous mystery of life which brings much joy, fulfillment, and early-morning arthritis.

Getting older means waking up tired. Which isn’t all that bad. Except for today—because not only am I tired, I’m four pounds heavier than yesterday.

Four.

How about a real world example: pretend you’re going to dinner with three high school friends— a doctor, a yacht owner, and one quasi-famous television star who looks like Tom Selleck. Now imagine you haven’t slept in a month, and each pair of your blue jeans were recently altered to fit a seven-year-old.

You’re getting the idea.

Once upon a time, you were limitless. You could eat barbecued ribs for lunch, then go paint the house, mow the lawn, tar the driveway, play beach Frisbee, and still have enough energy left to run a decathlon. Now, you eat one grilled chicken salad, and it’s a three-hour nap without your pants on.

Naps. Enjoy those as much as you can. Because they’re God’s little gifts to the aging.

During college, sleep was as simple as picking your belly button. You could slumber nineteen hours while Mama vacuumed underneath your bed. But as an adult, if you even glance at fried catfish you’ll develop heartburn and wake up with a hangover.

This is because your body is falling apart. Not literally, but worse. Figuratively. It will begin like this: one sunny day, you’ll see a little elderly lady at the hardware store with twenty bags of potting soil in her buggy. You’ll smile and offer to help load them into her Buick. Ten years, and one in-patient surgery later, Blue Cross Blue Shield still wants your firstborn.

I suppose what I’m saying is, getting older is all about learning who you are. About squinting your eyes at the menu, or pondering your own digestive system. About learning to enjoy the wisdom you’ve collected over the years. Which as it happens, only makes you realize how little you know.

Sure, age is about injuries, wrinkles, and fiber supplements. But it’s also about family, weddings, watching babies gnaw on teething rings, and accepting others for who they are.

But most of all.

It’s about getting fat.

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