Aging ? Gracefully?

/ May 29th, 2012/ Posted in Conditions and Diseases / Comments Off on Aging ? Gracefully?

As one of those aging baby boomers everyone keeps trying to reach and relate to, I’ve about had enough on the subject of growing older.
True, I don’t intend to look granny-like, knitting booties, anytime soon, but I can’t exactly picture myself on the back of a Harley, as I’ve seen some of us boomers portrayed in ads. I didn’t relate to “Easy Rider” all that much the first time and, if my enjoyment of the exercise bike is any indication, riding that Harley now could get darn annoying real fast.

Unlike Cher, I don’t plan on redoing or replacing one or more of my body parts, although perhaps a little lift around the eyes wouldn’t be a bad thing. I don’t think I’ll run off to Disney World as soon as the last kid hits college. I mean, we did Disney World with the kids. Once, for me, was quite enough. Paris is looking a lot better than Epcot from where I’m sitting. On the merits of the food alone, I would go there, not to mention the sites, the art and the air of romance.

I’m not planning on closeting myself with some investment planner, either. How boring. Perhaps I’ll just read a couple of good how-to books and attend a seminar on how to become an aging millionaire. (We already know where trying to marry one can get you).

One of the more depressing future statistics I’ve heard is that, in this century, people may live to be 150. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but include me out. In order to get there, it seems, many internal organs and body parts will have to be replaced (kind of like your car after 100,000 miles). You might end up being someone totally different before it was all over or become one of those people you occasionally see who look like they have bodies made out of spare parts. Besides, how could we afford to live that long? Social Security is gasping now. If the Boomers live on and on, the rest of society may have to kill us before it drowns in debt.

And here’s the other thing. Life just might start to get, well, old, if you know what I mean. Everything might suddenly seem “been there, done that.” Would we have to live in retirement homes for 50 years or so? Worse yet, would we still be hauling out the trash 70 or 80 years from now? Talk about future shock.

I suppose it is the karma of the Boomers not to go gently into that sweet night, to always want more, bigger, better, NOW. So why should our aging be approached any differently? We are the glorious exceptions, the generation that defies aging (which is why you see so many middle-aged men with long hair in ponytails and earrings and so many middle-aged women in those long, flowing dresses, accessorized by long gray hair and craft jewelry). We, who were never going to trust anyone over 30, will never see 30 again (human growth hormones and all the other tricks and gimmicks notwithstanding).

My advice to fellow boomers: Relax and enjoy it. We will go where others have gone before. We may, in fact, become the geezers we’ve made fun of, and that could be a good thing, if it teaches us some humility and how we are connected to the rest of humanity.

On the other hand, I think of what Erica Jong said in her novel, “How To Save Your Own Life,” (the sequel to “Fear of Flying”): “Prepare to be 87,” she exhorted. Now I know what she meant.


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