MY TURN: An aging checklist to ponder

At a recent gathering of those sporting face masks, where good stories were flowing as readily as the tales of life in the pandemic era, I was struck by the number of conversations that were dominated by the vagaries of age.

Or as one compatriot said, in borrowing a phrase from Mae West, “If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”

To prove his point, the man with the quick wit sent me a collection of his favorite “age-old” sayings, a list that I can relate to as time chips away at my youthful exuberance.

Here’s a sample of his aging checklist:

  • Everything hurts and what doesn’t hurt, doesn’t work.
  • The gleam in your eyes is from the sun hitting your bifocals.
  • You feel like the night after, and you haven’t been anywhere.
  • Your little black book contains only names ending with M.D.
  • Your children begin to look middle-aged.
  • You finally reach the top of the ladder and find it leaning against the wrong wall.
  • You decide to procrastinate, but never get around to it.
  • A dripping faucet causes an uncontrollable bladder urge.
  • You know all the answers, but nobody asks you the questions.
  • You look forward to a dull evening.
  • Your favorite part of the newspaper is “25 Years Ago Today.”
  • You turn out the lights for economic rather than romantic reasons.
  • Your knees buckle and your belt won’t.
  • You’re 17 around the neck, 42 around the waist, and 99 around the golf course.
  • You have too much room in the house and not enough in the medicine cabinet.
  • You burn the “midnight oil” until 9 p.m.
  • Your back goes out more than you do.
  • A fortune-teller offers to read your face.
  • After painting the town red, you have to take a long rest before applying the second coat.
  • The little gray-haired lady you help across the street is your wife.

Those are worth a smile or two, for sure, especially in light of the ever-changing definition of old age. Its former benchmark – 70 – is said to be the “new 50,” which is akin to moving the goalposts in life.

For that, like the shifting sands of time, we should take some solace in determining that there is no reason to lament old age, only, as one wise scholar said, to simply “affirm it as a significant part of life.”

Or if you prefer a musing from Mark Twain, stick with this as you embark upon the final six months of 2020: “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”


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