Growing Old is Inevitable

“Growing old is inevitable.  Growing up is optional.”
“Age is just a number.” “You’re only as old as you feel.”
“Growing old ain’t for sissies.”

As much as we might wish it weren’t so and as much as the young think it will never come, we all grow old. At least we have hopes we will, rather than face the alternative. But I’ve also been known to say,  there are worse things than dying, and… there are.

With the passing of each year we draw ever closer to getting older… getting old. I’ve often reflected on how quickly it has come along. Certainly reckless living, eating, drinking and merriment — thinking we’ll stay young for ever, that tomorrow never comes  — will hasten its arrival.  In looking back I wish I had taken more time to stop and smell the roses. Not that I haven’t done that on occasion, it’s only I wish I had done it more.

Don’t know if you realize it but there are actually perks to growing older, things we of the more experienced set have over the younger. Fringe benefits, icing on the cake. Here are ten of them in no particular order.

               Perks of Growing Older

  • Kidnappers are not very interested in you.
  • No one expects you to run… anywhere.
  • There is nothing left to learn the hard way.
  • Things you buy now won’t wear out.
  • You get into heated arguments about pension plans.
  • You sing along with elevator music.
  • Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.
  • In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.
  • Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service.
  • Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size.

Apple founder Steve Jobs gave an memorable commencement address six years before his untimely death at Stanford University. Speaking to those graduating students in June 2005 he said, Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away.

Cleared away to make room for the new? I’ve never looked at it that way but I guess, just like those before us, we have to do our part for mankind.

Earlier this month I discovered an interesting website. By answering a few questions it will tell you the expected date of your death. Mine is Wednesday, October 26, 2044. I don’t know whether to be disappointed or elated! Surprised, definitely. 91 years old?  Never guessed I’d make it that far. 12,087 days to go! But to die on a Wednesday?

Here’s an epitaph from the grave of a man no longer living, in Nova Scotia, Canada:

 Here lies 
Ezekial Aikle

Age 102

The Good 
Die Young

One of my boys —  in response to a comment I made several years ago — that I was after all getting old, said to me: “Dad, you’re like a fun toy, you’ll never get old.” Well I can’t begin to tell you the affect that had on my spirit to have a son compare me to a fun toy. Growing old does have its perks.

Related Posts:

Age Has a Way

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7 comments on “Growing Old is Inevitable

  1. Cheryl P. says:

    Thanks for leaving the link to your blog. I had trouble finding my way over here. I have a birthday day coming up in a few months that will put me in my 60s, so I have been thinking a lot about age lately. I appreciate the humor and totally relate to some of your “perks”. I agree with Jeni Hill Ertmer in the only real advantage I see is my grandkids. I worry more than I used to because of the state of our economy and there aren’t enough years left to reinvent my self and rebound from the losses in my savings/retirement acccounts. (UGH)

    I will say that 59 isn’t what I thought is would look like when I was 30. Now I go to the gym and we baby boomers look fit and active. My grandma is 98, and as I look at her today she is just now starting to look elderly. I like to think the new 60 is the old 40. I know I am delusional. Let’s shrug that off to my aging brain. My dementia will also be the reason why I intend to say I am 59 for at least 2 more years.

    • Rick Gleason says:

      So good to hear from you Cheryl and thanks for stopping in and leaving a comment.

      I enjoy your humor and how you handle the art of being conflicted. Reading your blog I imagined you younger, which of course is good.

      I’m 39 and holding!

      All the best and I hope you’ll visit again.

  2. I knew when I started saying, “well, back in MY day” I had already crossed over to the other side. As always, it depends on each person’s unique situation. In my case, I haven’t been a big fan of passing fifty three years ago. I do like the idea of being one of the first hostages released however…

  3. LeRoy William Bloom says:

    Well I don’t mind getting older at all. The alternative sucks. Unlike religious people, I don’t see death as a promotion, only an end. There are so many discoveries and interesting things that will happen in the future and it bothers me I won’t get to see them. I’ll never even be able to read all the books or study all the things that interest me in a life time. So as long as I can still derive any little satisfaction out of life at all, I want to keep living.

    Now I realize that many people have trouble dealing with the infirmities that accompany aging. Get over it. Old age is not for sissies. Accept growing old graciously, and make the best of your life no matter the irritations that aging brings on.

  4. Other than I don’t have any particular value now to a potential kidnapper, I’m not seeing too many other perks in the aging department. My ankles swell more now than they did 30-40 years ago when I was pregnant … my knee plays tricks on me (usually when going down steps)… The only true benefit I’ve found is having grandchildren (two who actually LIVE with ME!) and they are the best things ever! I have no pension plan so nothing to even discuss with any degree of civility, much less to argue about -unless a good argument about Social Security would qualify….

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