There are a number of ways to face the aging process, and most are not productive.
It really comes down to this—you give in to the frailties that are coming and live out a sedentary life OR you go kicking and screaming down that last path and enjoy every minute you have left.
Some would say the latter way is not proper or seemly. I say—that’s the way I’m going for as long as I can. When I retired after 33 years of teaching, I walked out of one job on Friday and into another on Monday. I have been retired for a long time now, and my counsel to those about to take that trip is to retire to something. If you retire to nothing, you become nothing!
I’ve seen too many friends who decided to “rest for a while and then find something”, who ended up making that rest a permanent sleep. Stay active, stay vital and stay the course you know—even in a different job. Don’t change who you basically are, or you might fool your body into giving up. Work at something, play hard and grudgingly give up every inch that time takes.
Keep your older friends but get some younger ones, too. They keep us on our toes. We may not agree with some of the things they do, but few people today have a reverence for age alone. You must prove every point you want to make. This is the computer age and you can’t just throw random facts out there like you could years ago. They’ll just Google the right answer. Know your stuff and strut what you have left. It’s a policy that seems to keep me healthy and happy—so I’d suggest it for others to try Now, this is a poem I wrote a while back that reflects that very philosophy. It’s called:
The Grizzled Head
“Don’t think ‘cause the hair on this grizzled head has turned to white from a brownish red
That everything down below is dead, “ the man in the rocking chair had said.
“I’ve slowed down just to rest a while”, he said with just a hint of a smile.
“I’ll soon be going again in style, ‘cause I’m a man who’s versatile.”
I heard what he said, but wondered aloud if he was just playing to the crowd.’
He spoke like a man who was lost in a cloud, but, his chin was high and his head unbowed.
It often happens with older folk, they’re treated like some kind of a joke.
Then, the man looked down and quietly spoke, “I didn’t get old with mirrors and smoke!
I was young and strong with a set to my jaw; My eyes were as sharp as a falcon’s claw.
I worked with the best and they’d call it a draw, ‘cause I was as good as you ever saw.”
When he finished speaking his head was high. The sparkle of life danced out of his eye,
The frail old body was straight as a dye, and his challenge was one you could not deny.
Age has a way of wearing you down till nothing’s left but a grizzled crown.
They take your best suit and give you a crown and weep when the Reaper comes to town.
Well, not me, friend, better hold on tight. I won’t go easy into that night.
When that shrouded devil comes I’ll fight for every last ounce of life and light.
The man who sits and waits to go has a brain of mush beneath that snow.
But he, whose fire still burns below keeps the grizzled head like a firefly’s glow. JDF
Joke: The husband finished a book entitled, ”You Can Be the man of Your House.”
He stormed out to his wife who was in the kitchen and shouted, “From now on you need to know that my word is law. You ARE going to cook a great meal tonight, then run my bath and scrub my back. You will then bring my robe and massage my feet and hands. And tomorrow—guess who’s going to dress me and comb my hair?” The wife looked up and answered, “The funeral director would be my first guess.”
Tidbits from History: *George Washington never had wooden teeth. His natural teeth left him early and he had many different sets of false teeth. They were made of everything from human teeth to ivory—with a little gold thrown in. He had six different sets, but none were made of wood. *
KGB agents failed in an attempt to assassinate John Wayne in 1949.
* A man sought a federal post from 7th president, Andrew Jackson, for a friend who had lost a leg on the battlefield. However, the man cautioned, “You should know, though, that he didn’t vote for you.” Jackson replied, “If he lost a leg fighting for his country, that’s enough vote for me.” They were a different breed that what we know today.*
Finally, for my friends who are Red Sox fans: President Coolidge was at a White House reception when a man sidled up to him and said, “Mr. President, I’m from Boston.” Coolidge looked at him softly and replied, “And you’ll never get over it.” JDF