On Growing Old(er)

Owing to a desire, after posting so many pieces about communications policy, to establish a more personal relationship with the five or six people who read this blog regularly, herewith a piece on something altogether different.

I speak, as do so many, about the phenomenon of aging, and about the dread “D’ word associated with it.  Have you ever noticed that, whatever their age, most people say that they’re “getting older” rather than that they are old?  They can be 80, or even 90, and still they describe themselves as getting older.  For such people old age is a destination never to be arrived at in their lifetimes, no matter how long they live.

I can relate to that.  I have reached an age where I’m made uncomfortable about surrendering my driver’s license to some youngster, especially the females.  Equally disturbing are those scroll-down date-of-birth features on so many websites.  By the time I get to mine, so far down the list, I often don’t even care anymore about whatever product or service required the information.

And there are other things.  Like doctors and doctoring.  When I was young, whatever ailments I had were always recognized, and treated, immediately.  Now that I’m (getting older), I find that my ailments are not only undiagnosable and untreatable; they cause, more often than not, the doctors’ eyes to glaze over upon hearing about them.  The impression one gets on such occasions is that they think you’re lucky to be alive, and should stop with the complaining.

Luckily for me, I look and act like a person who is 20 or 30 years younger than I am.  (Well, actually nobody has ever said that, but that’s the way I see it.)  And for this reason I have every expectation that, when I go to my reward (it should be so good), I’ll arrive there fresh as a daisy.

And speaking of death – the Great Oblivion, as it were – I have some ideas about that too.  It’s hard for many people to imagine the world without them, even as the world itself has no trouble at all, and in some cases positively relishes the thought.

But I have a different take on it.  Whereas most people believe death of the elderly is a consequence of cellular decay or disease, I incline to the view that, when you’ve reached a certain age, God (like your wife) is just tired of putting up with you.

So to wrap it all up, let me leave you with something that, though it has nothing at all to do with the subject at hand, is also worth sharing.  I refer to a quote by that other great man, Albert Einstein: “Gravitation cannot be held responsible,” he said, “for people falling in love.  How on earth can you explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?  Put your hand on a stove for a minute and it seems like an hour.  Sit with that special girl for an hour and it seems like a minute.  That’s relativity.”


The opinions expressed above are those of the writer and not of The Media Institute, its Board, contributors, or advisory councils.