Thursday, February 26, 2015

On Being Old

It's official: I'm old; today I turned 65. Up until recently I didn't think much about age. When you turned 30 you thought of the phrase "never trust anyone over 30" - not exactly words of wisdom. When you turned 40 you thought that was supposed to be a marker for middle age - so what. By 50 you were definitely in middle age and by 60 you were supposedly at or near the end of middle age. But 65 is a little different. That used to be the standard retirement age, and you were expected to die within a few years. I'm already on Medicare and Social Security and now qualify for all of the senior citizen benefits, including discounts and tax breaks. The local newspaper would refer to me as "an elderly man."

My grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles are all dead. At least six people whom I knew in college are already dead. I've started reading obituaries with greater interest. One becomes habituated to death, and it is less disconcerting over time. The worst part of old age may be having to listen to others discuss their ailments and medical procedures ad nauseum. One friend, a lifelong smoker, had cancer, and we got blow-by-blow accounts of his progress for several years, including the misplaced encouragement from his doctors, before the inevitable occurred. An acquaintance died suddenly of a heart attack at age 60, a better way to go. Rest assured that on this blog I will not discuss any illnesses that I develop in the future.

Fortunately I don't yet seem to have any ailments. I weigh less than I did when I was 25 and am probably in better shape. I haven't noticed any cognitive decline. Research shows that if one is not impecunious or sick and enjoys one's life, the later years are the best of all. My inner elitist snob rejoices in no longer having to take orders from cretinous bourgeoisie. Rural Vermont suits me perfectly. I have sufficient resources to pursue hobbies without worrying about destitution. Children and a grandchild provide a basis for interest in and optimism about the future. Whatever additional benefits technology may bring, I don't think I'm interested in immortality.


  1. Maybe you haven't noticed any cognitive decline…Ha ha. Happy Birthday Paul ! a day late sorry.


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