I recently had a birthday and am nearly a quarter century “old.” I share my age with at least 60 million boomers, assuming that all those of my generation who once thought they’d “live forever” have, indeed, made it as far as me.
I consider myself fortunate to have lived this long and am exceedingly healthy–I even beat cancer (bladder) last year through the miracle of modern medicine–surgeries and chemotherapy. (Go to BCAN.org for complete story). I play tennis, hike and feel great most of the time. I have a wonderful wife of nearly 25 years. (I only regret disappointing the handful of women whom I once loved–and eventually left–but I was much younger then and more restless).
The SIGNS of my aging are becoming apparent. But when I say to Eleanor that I am getting old, she corrects me–you are still YOUNG, she says emphatically. (Well, maybe certainly young in attitude.) With her colored and regularly styled hair, she, at 71, certainly looks younger than me. (My hair is totally white–but, thankfully, I have a full head of it.) And I’ve been “slowing down,” especially in the libido department…
Maybe there’s really no point in even thinking about getting or being old.
How do you even define the word “senior”? To younger people, perhaps it’s first being in your sixties–to older people like myself, still active and mentally sharp, it’s perhaps late 70’s and 80’s. My folks lived until their mid-80’s but neither were well and ended up in assisted living. Eleanor’s parents died before they even hit 70. I wrote a piece, “Six Alternatives to Assisted Living,” which has been seen by thousands on the internet. But even having done so, who knows if some form of assisted living might not still be my/our futures?. (Nursing home? God, I hope not).
The pandemic has certainly affected our quality of life but that’s true of most everyone. And older people are much more susceptible to covid-19, especially if they have underlying conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. Amazingly, many won’t get a vaccine, perhaps 50% of adult Americans. That’s truly stupid. My wife and I got the first shot (Moderna) a few weeks ago. I believe enough in prevention that I have stock in the pharmaceutical companies that have developed the vaccines. Herd immunity may be our only chance to defeat this scourge. (End of sermon).
I admire the people I read about who are my age or even much older who are still “relevant” and doing things (exception: America’s last president!). Former Secretary of State George Schultz died recently at the age of 100, but only a few months ago he was still publishing insightful pieces about U.S./foreign relations. (I publish, also, but most of my articles are simply subjects I am fully acquainted with such as travel and small town living–and, of course, the pieces here at Seniors Lifestyle Magazine). I’m not famous by any means but have garnered attention here and there and get quoted regularly in the media. It’s reassuring that I still have the ability to reach out.
Sometimes I FEEL really old when I think back on what I’ve done over my many years. Someone once said, “you are only as old as you feel.”
I know, it really doesn’t help to dwell in the past because it’s gone.
You have a future as long as you think you do.
Death is inevitable for everyone. But I do like to think I might be reincarnated in some form as long as the earth continues to support life.
So maybe do what you can to keep it so.