Thursday, January 08, 2015

Be Bold ... Not Old

            Not so long ago the one thing guaranteed to set my eyes rolling was an old person nattering on about his or her latest medical problems or such ancillary topics as health insurance co-pays and the outrageous cost of medicines.
            Today, I sometimes begin conversations with the admonition that those around me must immediately stop me from droning about exactly the same topics, all of which are increasingly fascinating to me.
            I also search for shampoo to enhance the gleam of silvering hair. I accept senior discounts at the movie theater even though I don’t really qualify. When my dentist warns my tooth implant might last only 10 or so years, I shrug. 
            All that makes it logical to conclude I am evolving into that creature known as an Old Fart. Maybe, but I am not so far gone I an unable to fight back. And as they declare in those weepy too-much-information stories, perhaps my experience-based advice can help save others from the worst bits of (in this instance) senescence. Here’s what helps me:

            Embrace tech. Upgrade your computer and your smart phone regularly. Use GPS in your car. Stream video to your HD-TV and save your memories in photos and videos you store in the cloud. Learning to take advantage of all your gizmos (if not all their features) offers a sense of achievement and gives you something useful to discuss rather than the side effects of your new meds.

            Buy cool stuff. Everyone lives on a budget of sorts. But everyone also must replace possessions as they wear out. When that happens buy absolutely the best and coolest you can afford. Maybe you only have enough money for a compact car, but there are a number out there with convertible tops and, yes, they have automatic transmissions for when you start to get a bit shaky. Only need one suit or formal dress as time goes on? Fine, but choose the best in the store and make sure it’s in style. Looking and feeling sharp count when it comes to happiness.

            Cop an attitude. Be careful with this one and don’t become the neighborhood crank or the curmudgeon who urges the city council to vote ‘no’ on everything. But if you care pro or con about something take advantage of feedback options in online publications or even start your own blog. It is personally liberating to mouth off intelligently even when others disagree or children are embarrassed.

            Avoid old people. Of course, you don’t want to completely ignore them as your peers will age and become your most relevant support group. But avoid drowning in the downside of aging by constantly cultivating relationships – or even acquaintances -- among people of varying ages. It will keep your mind ticking along as well as create a continuing connection with the more active stages of life. Even after your own children are grown and gone, some kid noise from next door can be invigorating from time to time. Some.

            Don’t enjoy aging. Doing one’s best to enjoy life at every age is a worthwhile goal. But creaky backs, memories full of holes and the loss of friends and loved ones are not elements that make for a period of life eagerly sought, like young adulthood is to a teenager. Do what you must to stay happy but always feel free to get angry about the negative bits as you get older. It will only prove you are young at heart.