Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Older and Wiser

As I march headlong toward my 25th high school reunion (egad) I pause to think about the concept of getting older, not getting old. Why are we so hung up on getting old? Let's face it, from the time we're cognizant of age we know we're going to get older. Just a fact. So, why does it bother us so? I mean, just look around people, the signs are out there. "age is just a number", "40 is the new 30, etc", and the like are some of the most overused cliches out there. But are they simply cliche? I say thee nay. I say we need to stop sweating getting old and embrace it. I know for myself, and yes, I know I'm hardly atypical, some of the best years of my life have been the last 5 years or so. Why? I guess my theory is I now have the means to do things I couldn't when I was younger, I'm not as single minded as I was when I was younger and enjoy a wider variety of things, and I simply like 40 something Rich better then 20 something Rich and that's important. So, despite the creaking joints, white hair and expanding midriff, I really don't have a problem getting older

Why do we hate getting older? It's not like your life is over, it's just getting better. Let's face it, older and wiser go together like, um, Bud and weiser. So being wiser means making better use of what you still have. So, can you still go out to clubs and bars? Sure, just avoid going to places you went when you were 25 as guess what? Everyone there is still 25. Maybe you can't run 6 miles but you can still run 3 (or walk 2). Maybe you can't make last call anymore but certainly you can stay out until midnight. Right? And while you may not be the stud athlete you were in high school you can still go hard enough that you can look at your kids and sneer "let's see if you can still go like me when your my age"

No, I think the biggest reason we hate getting old is we hate LOOKING old. Since recorded history we have been presented with an image of what male and female perfection is and have strove to attain this. Society paints a picture most of us can never hope to match but we try. When we're young we can pretty much look pretty good with a little work. But as we age it becomes harder. So what do we do? We dye our hair, we wear toupees. We look to miracle creams and drugs to do everything from slimming our waistlines to removing wrinkles. And why? To fool someone into thinking we're younger then we are? I know someone will say we do it for our own self esteem which is fine but there is also something to be said about being happy with who you are. Your grey hair doesn't say old it says mature. Your receding hairline says experienced. Your wrinkles are from a life time of smiles. Plus, we finally live in a society where being grey, bald, or heavy no longer carry the negative connotation they once did (Thank you George Clooney, Michael Jordan and Oprah). It is what it is people, it is what it is

So, in conclusion I say make the most of whatever age you are. Throw out the Just For Men and lose the combover. Get those pants one size bigger. You deserve it. Grab life by the lapels and scream "So I'm 40, what the fuck are you going to do about it". Take control of your oldness and don't ever say "I'm too old to..." because if you do, then you really are

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