Growing Old Is Not For Sissies

This year I turn 77 and it’s beginning to show.

No. That post image is not me. Though I am now over three-quarters of a century old, I am in good health. I am blessed with good genes it seems and so too is my wife. She has seven siblings and I have four and they are all still with us and all in reasonably good health. My mother lived to the grand old age of 98 and my mother and father in law lived well into their 80s. My father was a casualty of World War One and died far younger than he should have with various pulmonary problems as a result of the war.

Both my wife and I are active, both physically and mentally. We have a small circle of friends and enjoy board games, music, dinner parties, plays, movies, walking, our children and grandchildren, and stimulating conversation.

There is an opinion out there based on increasing longevity, better health care, more awareness of the need for healthy eating, and fitness that 70 is the new 50. This is just not true. Its a fallacy. I can remember being 50 even though it was 27 years ago. My joints and back didn’t creak. I had far more stamina. My hair wasn’t grey. I didn’t have a pending issue with glaucoma and cataracts. My hearing was 100 percent and I didn’t have a turkey neck.

Another big difference was the number of friends I had in my fifties compared to the number I have in my 70s. Why?

Many of them have died! 

If 70 is the new 50, does that mean 80 is the new 60 and 90 the new 70? I don’t think so. I know several people in their 90s and they have many more health issues and degeneration of body organs than I do in my 70’s.

Growing old is an inescapable fact of life. All humans suffer from the ravaging effects of the sun, the weather, chronic diseases, and wonky genes. We originated as four-legged animals and gradually became bipedal. 

Our skeletal makeup is suspect, originally designed for tree climbing, not for two-legged running or playing tennis and basketball and other sports that require juking and jiving and sudden stops. As a result, all humans at some point in their life suffer back and joint pain requiring hip replacements, knee replacement, spinal fusion, chiropractic, and physio care and maintenance that becomes more necessary as you age.

As someone once said: Growing old is not for sissies.

I count myself as lucky. Three years away from 80 and in good health - touch wood. And I grew up in an age of leaded gasoline and DDT: no such things as catalytic converters, seat belts or airbags. No Department of the Environment. A time when some brands of cigarettes were recommended by doctors and the word vegan did not exist. Somehow, many of us survived to live to an old age.

There are many positives to getting older. You learn to appreciate the small things in life much more. Sunsets.  Children’s laughter.  Growing a garden. Walks. The joy of grandchildren.  My eyesight may not be 20/20 any more but my perspective and perception of things are much clearer now than it was when I was younger.

But, regardless of how well I look or act or how healthy I am, I refuse to believe 70 is the new 50. It just ain’t so. My aging bones tell me so!

If you have any comments, disagreements, or additional information on this post, please contact me either through Pippies, or through my website.


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Written by Michael Trigg

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