A friend wrote, “My body is affirming the long standing belief I’ve held that 77 marks the beginning of old age.” A few days later I saw Jim. Jim is 85 at least, if not older. Jim said he mowed two acres of grass the day before—on one of the hottest days we’ve had this summer. Then I had breakfast with my friend, Vernon. He will be 82 years old tomorrow and is still going strong. He told me I was just a youngster! What does it mean to be old? Are we old or just stuck in the Age Slump?
Over the next new hilltop
Or through the garden gate
Or just around the bend of the road,
The great adventures wait.
And when my mind leaps not,
And when my heart is cold
To the call of the road and the gate and the hill,
I shall know that I am old. (Source unknown)
You’re getting old when you don’t care where your spouse goes, just as long as you don’t have to go along. You’re getting old when work is a lot less fun—and fun is a lot more work. You’re getting old when it takes longer to rest than to get tired. You’re getting old when you realize that caution is the only thing you care to exercise. You’re getting old when you wake up with that morning-after feeling, and you didn’t do anything the night before. You’re getting old when you take on the cardiologist’s diet: if it tastes good, spit it out! You’re getting old when the doctor says, “I have good news and bad news—the good news is that you are not a hypochondriac.” You’re getting old when you find it difficult to be nostalgic because you can’t remember anything.
Some say old age is no fun at all, but it could be, if one could just muster some energy. For example, statistics show that at the age of seventy, there are five women to every man. Now isn’t that the darnedest time for a guy to get those kinds of odds? Wisdom comes with age, but by the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he’s too old to go anywhere or have any fun. “Of course,” says the 80 year old, “I’m against sin; I’m against anything that I’m too old to enjoy!”
Dr. Seuss writes: “I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups [will] happen to you. You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. You’ll be left in a Lurch. You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump. And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-Slumping yourself is not easily done.”