Getting Old is Relative…But to What?
When I turned forty, someone gave me a button to wear that said: “Forty is not old if you’re a tree.” I actually felt some comfort in that…for a while. Having crossed the threshold of sixty a couple of years ago, maybe I should search out remnants of old growth forests to find the same comfort from a tree analogy as I did when I was forty.
After all, those of us early boomers were not supposed to get old. We were a teeming mass of energy, heavily influenced by the eternal youth of Mary Martin’s Peter Pan and the irrepressible smile of Annette Funnicello. And today, do we really care that Ron Howard is a very successful filmmaker? To us, he’s Opie grown up. And in perpetual reruns, he’s still learning the lessons of life from the down-home wisdom of his father, Sheriff Andy Taylor.
But we are old now. It just happens. And no matter how many times someone tells you “You’re only as old as you feel,” there’s this thing called biology. By the time you’re 50, you only have 80% left of those billion cells you had at birth. Think about this: A fifth of your brain is gone. If you’re lucky, what you forgot you can do without. You can sit around smiling and telling everybody how wonderful you feel all day, but you’re still losing cells. And by the time you do reach 50, someone once said, you have the face you deserve. Take a look in the mirror.
Your best bet for feeling young, if you want to know the truth, is to mingle more with people who are a lot older than you. They do a lot of complaining about aches and pains and constipation and always talk about how things were when they were young. You’ll realize their antiquity when you have no idea what they’re talking about; then you’ll feel young again.
Yes. Getting old is relative..but to what? Are there any Redwood trees in New Jersey?