The Dangers (and Blessings) of Becoming A Senior Citizen

Philip - Binghamton, New York
Entered on April 13, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65

What does one do when one reaches the age of 64, the last year one can officially delude oneself into proclaiming, “I’m middle-aged!”? The Beatles were part of my generation but I never thought that their tune, “When I’m Sixty-Four” would ever pertain to me (When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now….). After all, this is a song about old folks. I’m not an old folk, am I? Well, I guess that depends. They say 60 is the new 40. I hope so for I am not as yet ready to spend my twilight years rocking to the beat of Montavani (remember him?). And Mr. Welk, with all due respect, although you still look great on TV after so many years of internment, the wunn-ana-twoa beat is a bit hoary now, even for me; however let the champagne flow!

Why do I find this delayed entry into my golden years so daunting? First I obviously have nothing against seniors. After all, I am chronologically (and biologically, I might add) part of that special generation. Would I want to cast aspersions upon myself? No way! Is it simply the fear of growing older and losing my teeth, hearing, memory, equilibrium, coordination, and libido? Hmmmm, is that what happens when you age? No, I prefer not to think about that. Is it the fact that looking in a mirror accentuates the wrinkles that seem to clone themselves without the help of stem cell research? I don’t think so. Then what is it?

I just don’t want to become totally stereotypical! To that end I have pledged to do the following for as long as I can regardless of how senior, golden, or downright old I get, namely,

to smile as frequently as possible and to encourage others to smile (Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella On A Rainy, Rainy Day – oops, I’m showing my age!);

to refrain from complaining about the world, the nation, the state, the city, etc. unless, of course, it’s constructive criticism;

to be tolerant of the latest in fashion, music, art, film, et al. unless, of course, they are cheap, crude, salacious, ugly, and shocking;

to eat sensibly with less fat, salt, calories, preservatives, emulsifiers, hormones, sugar, and fried foods in our diet, i.e., to cut out everything I enjoy although a warm round of applause for red wine and dark chocolate;

not to eat dinner before 5:00 PM so as to avoid confusing lunch with dinner;

to stay awake until at least midnight – you think this is easy for people of my advanced age! – so as not to jump out of bed before the flashing traffic lights have turned to red, green, and yellow;

not to criticize the younger generation for making all the same mistakes I made as a flower child;

to exercise my body and mind daily by walking, reading, and doing crossword puzzles and by avoiding the myriad mindless programs on TV unless they contain people singing, dancing, losing weight, fighting for survival on a desert island, or vying for the title of the world’s best chef.

Although the above may seem like New Year’s Resolutions, they are actually Old Years’ Resolutions and, while I promise to abide by them, I may need a reminder now and then due to that memory thing we oldsters talk about all the time. So I will charge headlong into those so-called declining years with zest and verve and optimism and, most importantly, a sense of humor and anyone who would like to join me, be my guest!!