An Eye Opener

We age in different ways: physically, mentally spiritually. Fortunately for me, I think I age a bit slower than many others. I don’t know if it has to do with being Asian, or if it’s because I chose a profession in which I am surrounded by younger people, or simply because I allow stressful situations to slide off my Teflon-coated teenage mentality.

Still, while my aging rate may seem slower, I am aging nonetheless.

I previously wrote that I once had people tell me that I resembled Jackie Chan. My step son said so, but I thought that was mere flattery on his part. But I had other people tell me this when I came to DC. This was ten years and 26 pounds ago, a time when I worked out regularly, running 10 to 20 miles a week and lifting weights about every other day. Unfortunately, as my work increased and the number of other activities grew–altough I’m not sure if watching J drama can be considered an activity–I have been taking less and less care of my body. Yuck.

Well, this lifestyle has its consequences. While many still seem surprised when I tell them I will be 52 later this year, the gap between my real age and the age I appear to be in the eyes of others is closing dramatically. When I came to DC, I was 40 but many thought I was under 30. In fact I was carded more than a few times. This was, as you might imagine, quite an ego booster. But now, people will guess my age to be around mid to late 40s, which is not too much different than my actual age.

The othere day, however, was the last straw. I went to my bank to wire some money to my step-son in Japan–don’t ask… Anyway, at the bank, I was filling out the form and making small talk with the bank officer helping me. I must have said some humorous things as it elicited a few chuckles. Then this officer strikes me with the equivalent of a punch to the belly.

“You look like that guy in the Karete Kid. You know…”

“You mean Pat Morita?” I ask.

“Um, you know, the guy who was the teacher?”

“Mr. Miyagi?”

“Yeah, yeah! Mr. Miyagi.”

I laughed with her, but deep down inside me, I was floored. This was a real eye opener for me. No more can I fool myself into thinking I look younger than I am. No more can I pretend to think a youthful attitude will cover for an aging body. My physical appearance has finally caught up to me. In the span of about ten years I went from Jackie Chan to Mr. Miyagi.

Well, there is only one thing for me to do this summer. I swear…

Wax on, wax off…

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