John Grindrod: As I age, what I value most

We change as we age, and I’m not just talking about the sad manifestations of physical aging. As for the changes physically, well, while we don’t recognize those changes day in and day out as we gaze into the bathroom mirror each morning to begin our hygienic ritual, we certainly do when riffling through old photos of us from decades ago which prove that things aren’t as they once were.

As far as personality changes, I really tend to think they’re minimal, at least for old guys. Scratch the surface, and the little boy will usually emerge. However, when it comes to our behaviors that represent our likes and dislikes, I think there are certainly changes.

As for me, one of those changes would be the way I once craved the excitement of crowded places. Whether it was a crowded bar or house party with scores of my young contemporaries milling about or massive crowds at, say, a college football game, I just loved the electricity and the din that came with the whole scene.

However, now, in doing a bit of self-analysis, which live-alone folks do on a daily basis since there’s often no one around with whom to communicate besides, at least for me, the pretty fair amount of jabbering I do to myself, the thing that really has changed is I really no longer yearn to be where the action is, especially where there are large crowds.

There was a time I loved to go to OSU home football games. However, my last Ohio State game at The ‘Shoe was Urban Meyer’s first back in 2012 when my alma mater, Miami University, came a calling and played their part of a wooden fence perfectly as the Bucks applied a couple of coats of shellac in a 56-10 drubbing. I remember the length of the day, the number of times I was jostled and especially the noise when 100,000 people are all occupying the same patch of real estate. When I got home 11 or so hours after I’d left that morning and drank in the quietude of home sweet home, I realized that would be my last Buckeye home game.

Nowadays, after a week of being out there working and motoring about checking those errand boxes, I love returning to the serenity of home, especially on weekends. Where once I couldn’t wait on Friday night to get out amongst ‘em to celebrate the end of the week in grand style, now, my favorite night of the week is Friday, when I’m ensconced in my man cave tugging on a few longnecks, doing the laundry and finding a good movie or game on the stream.

If, like me, you’re a Seinfeld fan, you’ll remember George’s father Frank Costanza’s plea. When the outside cacophony crescendos, I feel as if I should be raising my hands to the sky and joining Frank in pleading, “Serenity now!”

Having lived in my house for some 37 years, I know the changes that have occurred, and the fact is, unlike when I first moved in, the neighborhood has become one where the canine population has grown exponentially. As a matter of fact, in my two next-door neighbors’ homes and yards, there are eight or nine total, two on one side and either six or seven on the other side. As for the latter, I don’t quite know if it’s six or seven because, while I hear them so very often behind their high wooden fence, especially when I’m working in my backyard, I only see them through the gaps between the boards after they pile out of the flap at the base of the garage door. However, I’m certain there’s at least six since I’ve gotten those fleeting glimpses and learned to recognize the registers of their barks.

As for the people who live with these dogs, I have zero problems. They’re nice, and I’m friendly with them. Last spring, I realized for my own serenity to come to me, I had to do something. Of course, one option was moving. However, I like the neighborhood, the castle is paid off and I’m 72, three good reasons, in my opinion, to stay where I planted myself in a time when my beautiful daughters were nowhere close to being done with St. Charles Elementary.

Since the house still had only the original installation that was put in when built back in the mid-1970s, I thought a good option to increase my domestic tranquility was contacting a company to upgrade. That call went to USA Insulation after I’d seen the company’s wall-foaming technique on commercials that air during my pal Jeff Fitzgerald’s anchoring of the local news.

I hired the company and following the work done late last spring, I couldn’t believe how much quieter the house was, even on the ground floor. When the dogs that surround me are out in their yards, their voices are so muffled that I barely notice what used to annoy me so much.

Yes, over time, we change, not only physically but behaviorally, I believe. And, for me, that was my desire to enjoy a pair of words that are as difficult to separate as “sick and tired” and “rest and relaxation,” and would be the pair “peace and quiet.”

John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at [email protected].