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The Fear of Getting Older
It happens everyone
As of this writing, I’m in my late forties. I’m not in a good place.
I know I’m right at the precipice of youth and middle age. I’m still young enough to not worry if I trip and fall that I won’t break anything, yet I’m also at the age where I can tell you whether it'll rain in a day or two if my knees hurt. When I get up from the floor, I hear a cacophony of snaps, crackles, and pops that could rival any bowl of Rice Krispies.
Don’t even talk to me about my eyes. I either need a better set of glasses or longer arms. While my vision has been bad since high school, I've become as blind as a mole in my forties.
I have good skin and gray hair. And the hair that I have is growing in places it shouldn't. As I grow older, I’ve begun to think of myself as the missing link between Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon man. I feel I'm growing my own sweat suit while I’m wearing it. The white patch of hair on my chest came without my asking and it won't leave.
Like most men, I keep hoping I'll find some kind of metaphysical pause button. Men would like to take a snapshot of their health and think, “I’m not too bad right now.” Meanwhile, “right now” is a fleeting state. It’s like a quart of milk. The expiration date is coming, but it's still good in coffee.
My wife managed to find her pause button. She’s a year older than me and she looks could pass for 30. Of course, she also eats right, takes care of herself, and only has harmless vices. Ironically, she looks forward to that time she calls her “croning”. She sees it as a special time in a woman’s life where maturation is the beginnings of maternal wisdom and she can finally get that secret knowledge that comes with crow’s feet and arthritis.
I, on the other hand, would rather have facelifts until I can bounce a coin from my cheeks.
She’s beautiful. She really is. I, on the other hand, am shallow and vane. My body is aging gracelessly and I'll eventually be plastered across the Internet in one of those “botched plastic surgery” collections.
I make light of getting older but I really think there’s a lot to be scared of.
Do you want to live to see an old age?
The Murtaugh List
that perfectly m making. It's about all the things you're too old to do.
They came up with “The Murtaugh List”. Repeat after me, “I’m getting too old for this $h%#!” Say it the same way Danny Glover did in all of the Lethal Weapon movies.
It's not just a list of things you can't do anymore; it's a list of things you shouldn't do anymore. It includes things like drinking all night and going to work the next morning, playing basketball without a knee brace, hanging posters without a frame, and not going to the doctor when you’re clearly sick or injured.
You see after age forty, the days of ignoring things because you think they’ll get better are pretty much over. People need to check out things that seem to be innocuous. A pain in the ankle can lead to vasculitis and kidney failure. That mole on a shoulder could be a tumor. Did you have a seriously bad sunburn when you were younger? You'd best see a dermatologist. It could be skin cancer.
Retirement in Amazon
No, It isn't good for you.
Do you smoke? Do you have any idea how bad cigarettes are for you? Next time you see an old guy with a throat kazoo or an old woman who needs an oxygen tank to go anywhere ask them if they can still taste the flavor of Marlboro Country.
There are so many things in this world that are better than cigarettes.
Or how about alcohol? Drinking when you're young and stupid is okay. But when you're older you might have a serious drinking problem that not only can s insulin.
Getting a blood test in your later years can lead to all sorts of problems.
We live in an age where our government approves food that isn't good for us. Saccharin, aspartame, pesticides, genetically modified foods, genetically modified animals, processed wheat, enriched flours, hormone infused meats, and nitrates – yeah, all that isn't good for you.
And that’s just the food we eat. Do you know how many toxins we absorb through our skin through the dyes in the clothes we wear? How about through the air we breathe? Prolonged exposure to these toxins can cause problems.
I’m foolish in thinking that my generation is a hearty one. I know our generation certainly isn’t healthier than the one spawned it… or the one that spawned that one.
All I know is that when I was growing up peanut allergies were rare. Now, parents today go nowhere without an EpiPen (Epinephrine autoinjector).
What does that say about the likelihood of today’s children reaching their “golden years”?
We seriously need to ask if everything we're allowed to eat, wear, and consume is everything we should eat, wear, and consume. When you come up with an answer you're either going to change everything are be happy with how your health is deteriorating.
I’m not saying that it is. I’m just saying that one should seriously ask that question and seek a real answer.
There’s a huge debate going on in Congress. It’s all about the money in Social Security fund.
Despite all of the paycheck deductions working people have endured through their entire career, we probably won't see a dime of it. If you feel like you’ve been robbed, then you’re awake – because you have been.
In addition to this, since the crash of 2008, many people’s nest eggs for retirement have evaporated. Unless you really knew the market, you were screwed. 401k plans, pension plans, and IRA's felt the impact. The money you put in certainly wasn’t the money you got out.
It paints a depressing picture. There are exceptions, but that’s the story for most of us.
Why does the future look bleak? Well, people between forty and sixty are looking at not only generating a retirement fund, but also looking to generate income to support the lifestyle they've rightfully earned.
It’s easy to get a low paying job when you’re twenty. Young people can do all kinds of labor. They will do it because they have no debt or long term payments. Those are jobs doing anything from being a cashier to banging steel spikes into concrete with their foreheads.
When people get to be about fifty, doing heavy lifting on a job is frightening. Bounce back time for older people is measured in days – not hours. When I think about all of the work I did between the ages of twenty and twenty-five it makes me wince.
Most older people can't do a younger man’s job. Most businesses won't hire older people anyway. It just isn’t done. Unless you have your own business doing something that will allow you to work using your head, anything outside of “greeter” at a Walmart may be beyond you.
So, what’s left? You see the things you’ve accumulated. When that’s gone, you’re done. No money. No home. No food. If you’re lucky enough to have adult children, you can try to hit them up. Hopefully, they have some room for you – because, if the Republicans have their way, you’ll just be another statistic.
This wasn’t because people didn’t plan. This wasn’t because people failed to take responsibility for their actions or only planned for their world to end in 2012.
This was because everything, including our health, failed.