By J. Ron Eaker, M.D.
I calculate, according to actuarial tables, that I have about 30 good years left on this little ball floating around the sun. I certainly will take more but I absolutely will not tolerate less. One caveat is that I want to be fully engaged with my cognitive facilities and not relegated to spending eight hours a day donating fortunes to the Shopping Network. I can see my wife telling the kids that I blew their inheritance buying 36 commemorative dinner plates of Elvis’ comeback concert. I want to exit while running my 65th marathon, even if it takes me a day and a half.
I’m not one to ruminate about age but recently a few things at work have made me reach for the Geritol and walking cane. Not long ago, I delivered the first baby of a young lady at the ripe old age of 24. What caused me to pause was the fact that I had also delivered the young women who had just delivered! It was second generation time and I was ill prepared for how I reacted. I couldn’t be so old as to be a contemporary of the new grandparents. She assured me that I didn’t look as old as her parents. This provided little solace as granddad was on the couch with oxygen and three teeth. But this whole experience made me start to notice subtle hints, previously repressed, of my progressive senescence.
My close up eyesight is deteriorating. I discovered this initially while doing a circumcision. I remembered thinking either this little tyke is going to be the butt of many jokes in the locker room, or I am going blind. A nurse lent me her reading glasses and since that seminal moment, I have stashed a pair of magnifiers everywhere I might actually have to see. I have glasses on all the floors at the hospital, in the operating room, in my car, beside my bed and, just in case, in the refrigerator. There is nothing worse than reaching for a soda and nabbing a can of tomato paste. At my last eye appointment, the disgustingly young doctor asked if I wanted progressive lenses for my new glasses. I told him the progressives were fine but only if I got the senior discount.
Not long ago, I received my invitation to join AARP. As most of you know AARP (American Association of Ruptured Prostates) is that group that offers you multiple discounts based on age. What they don’t tell you is in the fine print and none of us can read the fine print. For example, you can get great deals at restaurants as long as you eat before 5 p.m. and can park in the handicap spots. You can get a discount on an oil change if you drive a Buick and can’t see over the steering wheel. There are great discounts to Las Vegas shows, matinees only and you have to promise to play the penny slots for three hours before. AARP also promises discounts on such useful toys as pacemakers and adult diapers. After reviewing the application, I remembered that I was not retired and did not intend to be so for quite a while, and I don’t need 20% off hearing aids so I decided to trash their invitation.
My wife and I both have noted that our night life has taken a turn for the ancient. The other evening we were contemplating going to a movie so we checked the times. The first show started at 9 p.m. and we figured that we would both be asleep by intermission so we bagged the idea. My 25 year old daughter was home recently and her night didn’t start until 10:30 p.m. My wife asked if I was going to wait up for her and when I stopped laughing, I commented that I would only stay up if I could arouse her at 5:30 a.m. the next morning when I rose to run.
Another sign of impending age is the tendency to obsess about certain things. Certain necessary body habits (and you know what you are) become the source of speculation and consternation if they don’t occur on a schedule that would make European trains jealous. On the opposite extreme, I have become more relaxed about other things like I no longer care if Vanna White stumbles over a proper spelling on Wheel of Fortune. I could care less if the President wears boxers or briefs and I am numb to who wins the Stanley Cup. I am convinced that MTV is a direct extension of Satan and the inventor of the Snuggie deserves the Nobel prize.
Yes, I am aging but like a fine wine, I plan to get better with age and hopefully not turn into vinegar.
This article appears in the February 2019 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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