Angelina and Ben Admit to Getting Older — But…

…f or some reason, I feel like I am getting younger — and no, I am not referring to Angelina Jolie and Ben Affleck.

Rather, I am referring to Angelina Aucello and Ben Schlappig — respectively of Just Another Points Traveler and One Mile at a Time — both of whom admitted to getting older earlier today.

Was that by sheer coincidence, as today is still April Fool’s Day? Has aging become contagious at BoardingArea?!?

“I’m Too Old For This” was the title of this article by Angelina, who was not happy about receiving a text pertaining to a mistake fare — only to find that it was merely a joke posted for April Fool’s Day today…

…and Ben started off this article pertaining to taking a massage with his day room with “There’s no denying that I’m getting old. I may only be in my mid-20s, but the number of ‘butt-in-seat’ miles I’ve flown suggests otherwise. I’ve flown well over four million miles, and there are some things I just won’t do to myself anymore, which I would have done without thinking about twice a decade ago.”

Of course, I am only teasing Angelina and Ben; but my flight miles are in the millions as well — tens of thousands over the past six months or so alone from traveling all over the world — and yet I feel like a little kid again almost every time I fly as a passenger on an airplane. I still get excited about boarding an airplane, heading to a place to which I have never been; and I am still amazed at how I could be at one part of the world one day and be in a completely different part of the world so far away the next day.

Perhaps that is the result of living only 15 minutes or so away from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York as I was growing up in Brooklyn. I enjoyed watching the airplanes — one by one — on their final approach to landing in New York. I liked when my untrained mind tried to guess the different models of airplanes which effortlessly passed by overhead; although spotting a Boeing 747 aircraft of any iteration was unmistakably impossible to miss. It is a shame that the Boeing 747 is supposedly a slowly dying breed of aircraft. I also liked trying to guess from which country each airplane departed. There they were: thousands of people up there in the sky, coming and going, to and from New York, to and from all over the world. There is just something so exciting about that to me.

In this article I posted only two weeks ago, I discuss my love for travel; and I also discuss mortality. However, there was one thing which I did not discuss; and yet — through a rapid-fire succession of thoughts which I cannot explain — I went from Angelina and Ben getting older to a thought which occurred to me within the past year.

A person whom I consider to be a good friend of mine and lives in a country in Asia visited the United States several months ago on what was very well his last visit to the United States — the country in which he was born. He is getting older himself — as we all seem to tend to do — and he just does not enjoy flying as a passenger on an airplane for too many hours, as is usually the case with transoceanic flights.

I enjoy his company every time I see him; but I was somewhat saddened to realize that — unless I go to visit him, which I intend to do — I may never see him again.

Just as sad was wondering how I would feel if I knew that I would never see or visit the United States — the country in which I was born and raised — ever again. For me, it might be similar to how Neil Diamond felt in the 1971 song I Am, I Said, which is a biographical song about a man born in Brooklyn but having suffered a series of setbacks after moving to Los Angeles, which led to him feeling lonely and depressed; and caused him to question where he actually belonged.

By the way, I promise you that I do not only listen to music of the “easy listening” genre. Give me some good hard-driving classic rock-‘n’-roll or some legendary rhythm and blues or some jazz any day — but I digress.

Never visiting the United States ever again was no big deal to my friend, as he never gave it a second thought. Despite reflecting on the days when he lived in various locations in the United States — he was born in Brooklyn as well — he lived where he currently lives for many years; and that is his home. Most of his relatives who remained in the United States are no longer around; and he has very few reasons to visit anymore — not to mention that he now gets uncomfortably ill virtually every time he travels that long journey to the United States.

Although he used to be a frequent flier, I do not blame him for wanting to slow down and eliminate destinations where he is physically increasingly uncomfortable with the travel — including returning to the United States. I wonder if I will experience similar thoughts and feelings when I grow older. I hope not; but that is not entirely within my control.

As I have written and said before, there are times where life throws something unexpected at me and I have no choice but to deal with it; but I have to remind myself — or be reminded — that I am extremely fortunate that I am not required to take a single form of medication. I have no allergies; I rarely get headaches; and — as you can probably tell from some of the trip reports I have posted here at The Gate — I can go through some rather strenuous situations while traveling and usually emerge unscathed in terms of health. I cannot begin to say how thankful I am — and I would not trade my good health for anything else in the world.

I have always lived in the United States and probably will live the rest of my life in that country, so I do not foresee myself facing the conundrum of not visiting it anymore in the future. Then again — with certain exceptions — I do not want to think that there is any place I have visited where I can say to myself, “Well, this is the last time I will ever be here and I will never see it again for as long as I live.” I know I will die some day; but that is a thought about which I would rather not think.

Rather, what keeps me going are the new places I will visit; and I will be in a few more countries to which I basically have never been starting next month. I suppose that is the aspect of travel — and of life in general, for that matter — which keeps me feeling young and full of life.

In the almost nine years which I have been writing for The Gate, I do not recall once ever stating that I feel like I am too old — kidding or not — and I hope never to feel compelled to write that…

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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