New Webpage -- 21 April 2006
The subject of aging is something everyone... eventually... comes to think more and more about. Kids don't think too much about it, except to note it in others, and possibly to see it as a means of being able to drink, drive, and/or join the military. But in general, thinking by older and wiser heads on the subject of aging tends to be along the lines of how to prevent aging.
But not always. As a matter of fact, there are many people who seem to relish the idea of aging. It's as if being "old" makes them appear wise, experienced, and no longer prey to the rules of the game, i.e. being an "old fart" allows one extraordinary lattitude in one's everyday activities. Aging becomes a badge of honor, as if to say I actually managed to make it this far, and thus I deserve some respect! I can now wear purple, or hideous plaid pants. It also provides fuel for woundology in all of its many forms.
For others, aging is something to be avoided. Growing older implies less robust health and a smattering of aches and pains which slowly but surely endeavor to make the individual become an expert on the human body, its anatomy, and all the prescriptions, and medical terminology available to... well... fix the aging device! Anti-aging then becomes all the vogue -- as does the intent to avoid like the plague (pardon the pun) such lovelies as Iatrogenics, vaccines, and drug enforcers.
The interesting part is that aging is very much a personal choice.
The author, for example, decided that the age 36 was a very nice age. It was just beyond the military draft in the United States, the auto insurance rates fell to their lowest level (with the insurance companies no longer worried about the foibles of youth, and not yet worried about the foibles of old farts), and the author was now qualified to be a US Senator or even President. Meanwhile, there was no particularly urgency in growing older -- especially when so many years from Medicare. Therefore, at 36, he ceased to age. It was not until about 12 years later that he actually became 37. Curiously enough, he is still able to pass for someone 12 years younger.
The gist of all of this is that aging is in large part within the mind. Conversely, Anti-Aging is also an internal decision. Alexandria Goodman views it as Anti Aging Wellness from Within. Dr. Goodman notes for example, that there are numerous aspects which can influence the quality and quantity (i.e. lifetime) of one's life. These include your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, choices, experiences, traumas, perceptions, expectations, habits, relationships, career, education, finances, and environment.
The key is that making bad choices, having dark thoughts, and fragile feelings is likely to age one prematurely, while expecting the best, developing good eating and fasting habits, and... very importantly... thinking young tends to promote longevity, health, and a preference for the likes of Harry Potter, Douglas Adams, and others who refuse to take on the stress and strain of adulthood.
One choice -- which has much to recommend it -- is to believe that all of life's experiences, traumas, relationships, habits, careers, and so forth... are funny. All of them! At least, funny from a distance. If the purpose of life is to gather material for a stand up comic routine later on, it then follows that humor, laughing, and chortling at all of the myriad aspects of our lives -- no matter how seemingly traumatic they were at the time -- has got to reduce stress and increase longevity.
There is another good choice. Tom Robbins in his classic novel, Jitterbug Perfume, seemed to think that the key to longevity -- extraordinary longevity in terms of hundreds of years -- was proper breathing and lots of sex. Inasmuch as the latter tends to promote the former, one really has to go along with this sort of thinking.
In this regard, The Week  has recently noted that the number of people in the United States who were 100 years or older ("centenarians") was "about 50,000". Demographers, meanwhile, were seeing this number increase by the year 2050 to some 800,000! Wow! Apparently, the ready availability of Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis is having an enormous effect on our longevity. The better news is that living longer also correlates with having much more fun along the way!
Similiarly, Jamie Cohen of ABC News has reported that Happiness Fights the Common Cold. Which makes sense, when you think about it. A consistent upbeat attitude yields a mind free of stress and one prone to a more optimistic view. As has been pointed out elsewhere, optimism is the belief that this is the best of all possible worlds, while pessimism is the fear that this is true. The lyrics of "be happy" tends to be better in some cases than most medical prescriptions. The former is also decidedly cheaper!
One might also note in passing (gas or whatever) that lots of sex and laughing is very likely to promote a lot of happy old farts! The key is just not to laugh at an inappropriate moment during sex! Such humor can be misinterpreted.
[Notice how we keep coming back to sex and laughing? But let me know if this is getting old -- or causing you undue stress. Smirk.]
Finally... “Live long and prosper.”
There may likely be more on this subject in coming months. But like a fine wine, it's always good to age those thoughts just a bit longer.
 "Noted", The Week, November 11, 2005, page 18.
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