I’ve been thinking a good deal lately (“lately” at my age meaning the last 20 years) about aging and what it means to “get old”. I’ve also been thinking a lot lately (“lately” at my age meaning the last 20 minutes) if I could write something funny besides humiliating myself in an exercise class. Here’s an opportunity to kill two birds with the same assault rifle.
I started thinking about this the first time I heard someone 50 called “middle-aged”. Check the mortality tables lately? That train left the station at 40.
The second thing that got my attention were the famous and (not famous) actors, politicians, fitness gurus, granny’s graduating college, 90-year-old owner of the clothing store we all know, who despite their being well into their advanced years, just don’t seem “old” at all.
How do I get there? What does it mean to be “old”? I did a little research. (Ok, VERY little research) Here’s just one website I found on “aging”. http://ask.healthline.com/galecontent/aging#1. Here’s one example why conventional medical science doesn’t clearly reflect what we all see in the real world. Here’s the symptoms listed under “Diagnosis” on page two:
diminished, or lack of, desire for food
failure to thrive
Seriously? Ok, if weight loss and diminished desire for food are symptoms, call the National Enquirer, I’m destined for immortality. As for increased confusion, failure to thrive, dizziness, falling and urinary incontinence: frankly, that just sounds like my twenties. Wow, if I’d known that was aging I wouldn’t have cut back on my drinking.
So, I’m developing my own “anti aging” prescription list. Screw a bucket list, I wanna be Morgan Freeman, who turned 76 June 1,2013. Make EVERYDAY a bucket list day.
1. Keep up: if you can’t/won’t/don’t wanna use-learn cell phones, computers, social media, technology, you don’t only LOOK old, you are old. in general, KEEP UP. When you hear the “20’s”, “40’s”, “50’s”, or “80’s, s each decade evokes a certain menagerie of fashion, politics, technology, media, design, and culture. I find this harder as the years go by. I admit I rely on my girlfriend to insure I don’t dress like its 1985. I’m constantly scrambling to listen to bands who have clearly gone viral for awhile. Vampire weekend? Yup, their third album is out. You get the drift. Keep up
2. Do NOT join the AARP. Does this really need any explanation? It’s a cult. I know they have kool aid. I’m not drinking it.
3. Aches and pains. If you’re over 50, shut the hell up about them. If you’re between 9 and 49, bitch away. I hear my friends between 9 and 40 bitch about their migraines, bad backs, discs, constantly. It’s ok, if you’re “young”. Over 50, you sound 80. That ’cause, that’s ALL old people talk about. If it hurts, suck it up and shut up. Unless you got a scrip for hospice, don’t tell nobody.
4. Aging “gracefully”. I admit I succumbed to false vanity and struggled with this a bit but the bottom line is that you cannot hide the outward physical effects of aging. Translation- every bottle of scotch from 30 years ago is proudly showing up today on my face and saying “whee- look at me”. While I heartily recommend a good dermatologist, increased exercise, healthier eating and lifestyle in general, (along with your addictions and bad habits of choice) you all have that image of the “she’s had too much plastic surgery” and “who’s he fooling with that comb over”. Be comfortable in your own skin is good advice for any age.
5. Hang out with young people besides your grand kids. This is also an aging test. If you are a PITA (pain in the ass) they won’t hang out with you. Grumpiness is a sure sign of aging. See, e.g. The movies GRUMPY OLD MEN I,II,III, IV & V.
I’m happy to die today or 40 years from now, that’s inevitable. Aging? That’s optional
“We all live in a yellow submarine”. (This is a lyric from a song by a band called the “BEATLES”, which had a flash of popularity 50 years ago).