The Mountain Times

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Old Guy Thoughts

The first time it happened, I had no idea what was going on.  I was at the mall and noticed a couple of young Asian ladies talking on their cell phones.  The thought popped into my head, "Sounds like Chinese. How can they be understood on an American phone?" Then, with a second pop, came the answer, "Of course, the phones are probably made in China." I was reassured. The universe made sense again and I went along my way.

Then there was that beautiful spring day in Burlington; it was one of those warm, sunny, birds are singing and the flowers are up days that say, winter is really over. I was driving up past UVM and noticed all the college kids walking along the sidewalks in their t-shirts and shorts. A group of girls went by dressed in a way that maximized the sun's access to their skin. (I believe the term is "scantily clad.") This was the sort of sight that tended to warm my heart, something of a rite of spring, like the first robin or the last of the snow in the front yard. But this time I thought, "Oh my, somewhere there is a father who is very worried right now."

It took a while longer before I began to understand what was happening to me. These are Old Guy Thoughts. Musings, observations, reveries. Something that until lately I was in too much of a hurry to do. Now, even on days when I am rushing, there is more time. Possibly because I hurry more slowly. Probably because I'm learning to reflect and consider. After years and years of zipping along trying to keep up, a switch inside my head has been flipped and I am actually starting to think about things. Nothing in particular, just things, life, etc...

And I can remember my dad doing this. "Look at that sky, boy. Don't you think there's a bit too much orange in that sunset? It overpowers the yellow," I remember him saying.

So, we aren't talking philosophy here. No efforts to sort out the economy or avoid political gridlock.  These are just snatches of life as it passes by. They are enjoyable and have a wonderful way of connecting me to what is going by or what I'm going by. For the most, part the thoughts aren't things to share; I've learned that after a couple of missteps.

They are just thoughts, "I think therefore I am" sort of Old Guy Thoughts.

Sometimes, I wonder if women have Old Guy Thoughts. Of course, they won't have Old Guy Thoughts they would have Old Gal Thoughts. (There's another one). But I doubt it. Women tend to think more than men all the time. It doesn't seem they would need to catch up like we do. After all, you see a lot more old guys on park benches watching the world go by than you do ladies.
Aging in Place, it doesn't happen by accident and it doesn't hurt to think about it once in a while.

Scott Funk is Vermont's leading Aging in Place advocate, writing and speaking around the state on issues of concern to retirees and their families.