Commentary

Keep Golden Years Golden – ‘Don’t Let the Old Man In’

By VIN SPARANO | Jun 12, 2019

Waretown — I can’t take credit for the title to this essay. It belongs to Clint Eastwood. I received a recent email that I would like to share with everyone who may be struggling through their golden years.

Clint Eastwood was playing golf with Toby Keith, a good friend and country western singer, at a Pebble Beach charity event. Eastwood said, “I’m turning 88 next Monday.” Keith asked Eastwood how he could still have such relentless energy to act and direct his latest film, “The Mule,” at 88. The film is a true story of a World War II veteran in his 80s who takes a job as a courier for a Mexican drug cartel.

Eastwood’s response was simple, but packs a ton of meaning. “I just get up every morning and go out. And I don’t let the old man in,” he said.

Keith was so inspired by Eastwood that he wrote the song “Don’t Let the Old Man In.” Eastwood liked the song so much that he found a place for it in “The Mule.” I don’t have room here for all the lyrics, but I want to share a few lines with you: “Try to love your wife ... and stay close to your friends. Toast each sundown with wine ... and don’t let the old man in.”

I don’t know about you, but I also hear that old man knocking at my door. As hard as I try, the old man sometimes manages to get inside ... and that’s when I feel old with aches and pains. And there are other times when I don’t let him in, and that’s when I’m happy, feel younger and go fishing with friends. OK, so you really don’t believe in all this “old man at your door” stuff. So what! But, if you’re like me, you will believe anything that will make you feel younger and stronger.

I think I’m putting up a good fight against aging, but there’s no way I’m going to win. We will all lose that battle, but we can still put up one helluva fight. There are many things that I can no longer do, but that will not stop me from enjoying the many things I can still do. Our victories become much more meaningful as we get older.

Like Eastwood, I have another way to keep the old man out. I was lucky enough to have visited many parts of the world, but only a few places and people have found their way into my memory chest. The old man will never find a way to destroy those memories. These are special places and people that I revisit when I’m having a bad day. I think the saddest thing in the world is not having happy memories.

I now have two children old enough to live here in Greenbriar, which should give you an indication of the ages of me and my wife, Betty. They are continually concerned about our health. We cherish the concern and love we get from all our children. I’m certain the day will come when a change will be necessary, but right now, like Clint Eastwood, I’m not letting the old man in.

Clint, you made my day!

Vin Sporano is a resident of the Greenbriar Oceanaire adult community in Waretown, N.J.

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