Maybe nobody else can see it. But I can.
I can feel the soreness. Shave away the white whiskers. See my hairline moving backward like receding water.
It alters your life in strange, often unpredictable and under-appreciated ways.
Like when you begin calling people younger than 45 "kids." Or when you realize nobody in the room (but you) actually remembers Richard Nixon (he's a former U.S. president, in case you don't recognize his name).
My grandmother said something so profound once that I actually wrote it down, even though I wasn't a journalist back then. She told me that her life passed by and one day she realized, after mulling the possibility of getting older, that "I am old."
Most of us imagine we're the same person inside that we were at age 8, 16 or 26. My frail, old grandma wrote in a memory book that her favorite childhood place was sitting on a branch up in her parents' apple tree. For most of her life she wasn't frail, nor elderly. But we'll all eventually age, like cheddar cheese, if we live long enough.
My goal, if I survive that long, is to become like my great-great aunt Elva, who at age 100 still lived by herself in a second-floor apartment.
Or like my great-great aunt Annie, who I can still see as clear as day in my mind's eye, mowing her lawn with a push mower. No engine. At the time, she would have been in her 80s.
I dream of being physically and mentally able to go on long hikes and having healthy vision to read novels. I'm fully aware that genes, determination, fruits and veggies, exercise, medical advances and luck will play significant roles in determining whether I get that far.
A lady asked a while back if I wanted my senior discount, even though I won't qualify for the 55-plus early-bird special for another decade. So I try to enjoy every every age moment I have.
In the words of John (Cougar) Mellencamp, who sang "Jack and Diane" when I was in high school, "Hold onto 16 as long as you can. Changes come around real soon make us women and men."