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Age

I scanned through my reservoir of pieces past and danced over it with fresh feet. Having endured––excuse me––been blessed with another birthday this year, the selection seemed appropriate. Enjoy!

Aging for some folks can be an ironically frightening event.

As children, most of us couldn’t wait to get older. We scrutinized our big brother’s or sister’s lifestyle––or perhaps our teenage next-door neighbor, or the cool kid down the block––and craved all the privileges that age afforded them. They drove cars, maybe even owned one. They dated, went to Prom, and eventually bought their first drink. From our pre-teen perspective, the milestones of reaching sixteen, eighteen, and twenty-one, were steps that seemed as if they’d take forever to attain. As we entered those domains, however, we discovered there was a catch that we had ignored. The equation of age also carried significant obligations, which, for some brought doubt as to why they were so anxious to get older.

For many of us, the added responsibilities of marriage, children and mortgage payments further hastened the aging process to the point that we realized we just couldn’t slow it down––not even a little bit. Attaining our childhood desires had put an irreversible process in motion. As we continued to rumble down the tracks of life, it became glaringly obvious that Death was the only alternative to stop this train ride.

But before geriatrics yank closed the lids on their coffins, they need to consider age as a relative thing. How we age is largely controlled by our state of mind. If we believe we’re old, we’re gonna be. If allowed, negative ideas toward being elderly can turn into a destructive life-force. Just because a person becomes chronologically older doesn’t mean they are obligated to make plans for their funeral. People today live longer with each generation. Advancements in medical science serve to encourage that statistic. Proper diet and exercise––and maybe a few pills––can sustain the length and quality of life for a great many seniors.

On the other hand, upon reaching the geriatric stage, we should also heed Dirty Harry’s statement from the movie Magnum Force: “A man’s gotta know his limitations.” Let’s face it, some parts just don’t work exactly like they used to. We humans have to acknowledge the concept that some physical and mental degrading of our bodies is natural. Really, the words didn’t become blurry because newspaper and magazine publishers are conserving ink or using worn out printers. We need glasses…or Lasik.

Yet, despite those glaring realities, there are more super-seniors literally jogging around these days. As long as we can learn to accept Dirty Harry’s philosophy and recognize our individual boundaries, there is little reason why we can’t learn to be part of that group and age with grace.

Remember. Growing old should merely be a phase, not a deterrent. Life is a privilege––a blessing––meant to be treasured at every age. Enjoy your life!

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