Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Win The Case

You can't help growing older, but you don't have to grow old.

George Burns.
We are all on trial for our lives. The prosecuting attorney has gradually been stacking up all kinds of evidence against us and we have no defense attorney but ourselves.

The District Attorney presents his case. You can't remember people's names, that's a sign your slipping into oblivion. You occasionally do stupid things which proves that you're losing a grip on reality. You have aches and pains all over you so you must be in terrible physical shape. You're overweight therefore you have no control over yourself. There are certain foods you can't digest properly because your stomach has lost it's strength. You can't walk down the street without getting tired. There are so many things you used to be able to do that you can't do anymore. Certain items in your body don't function properly and need to be replaced. You don't sleep well. You need all kinds of medicine to keep going and stay alive. You're a problem for your family and a drain on society. The only conclusion one can draw is that you are old and headed for the mortuary. The DA rests his case.

Now it's your turn. You can't remember certain people's names and other facts because your mind is filled with information and you can remember the important things. (I knew an older woman who got the giggles when she couldn't remember names. She simply was not going to take it seriously.) Everyone occasionally does stupid things no matter what their age. Aches and pains all over you doesn't mean you are a physical wreck. It means you have more aches and pains than you used to have. You've been meaning to go on a diet so you can look more like your neighbor down the street but you haven't gotten around to it yet. There are certain foods you can't digest properly because your body doesn't want them. (My grandmother lost her taste for certain foods. She simply didn't like them any more.) You can't walk down the street without getting tired because you're not an athletic person as you used to be. (You don't have to be a marathon runner to prove you're in shape.) There are many things you used to be able to do that you can't do any more maybe because you don't want to do them. Certain parts of your body don't function properly and need to be replaced. So what? You don't sleep well. People who are older and less active require less sleep. You need all kinds of medicine to keep going and stay alive. Since when is medicine prescribed only for the older folks around. You're not a problem for your family if they love you and you love them. You're an asset because you're older and wiser. You're not a drain on society if you don't think you are. You are simply older and headed for another year of life (and maybe a vacation instead of a coffin.) You argue for energy, for curiosity, for adventure, for a changed and adapted life style, not doom. You rest your case.

All the advertisements about this disease or that disease, this cure or that cure, all the talk that goes on between people, the difficult experiences with doctors and hospitals, expecting and looking for problems and interpreting them in dire terms, the remembrance of past problems, the comparisons with other people's stories and the prophecies of doom are all part of the prosecutor's false evidence. It doesn't prove anything.

I used to know an actor my age who when he turned 40 began to show signs of physical wear and tear. He told me all the awful things I would soon start to experience and all the facilities and faculties I would soon lose. I went away and argued against every one of them. There was no reason, I thought, for any of those things to happen to me just because he believed they would and seemed to be happening to him. I soon realized that he had talked himself into illness which I could easily reason myself away from. That was 30 years ago and I didn't contract with any of his phantoms.

Recently a "friend" told me I had only 10 good years left and that if I didn't do this and that I would be bedridden in 6 months. That was over 4 months ago. Check back with me in December.

It is important for you to take care of yourself and to deal with problems as they occur. My point is not to interpret those problems as evidence of your extrinsic demise into mental and physical decrepitude. You are not fast approaching the moment when you'll be finished unless you accept the evidence. But you have the right to argue for enthusiasm, for a future, for life. George Burns lived to be 100 and worked as an entertainer right up till his final year. You're not old. You're just older.

DB - The Vagabond

(This is not a contest.)

At what event of the past do you wish you could be present? Why?

2 responses so far.


Thank you.


pacifica62 said...

I think I need to hire you to speak on my behalf db. I sometimes think like the DA, though in my heart I do not think of myself as some old geriatric fossil......at least not yet. You have made some good points. Age is a state of mind so therefore important to keep the mind occupied and challenged. I have friends in their forties who have some serious issues with health and attitude. I work with seniors in their 80's, 90's and even over 100 who have amazing attitudes and charge through life better, mentally and physically, than many people half their age. It does not take much to keep the grim reaper at bay and it all begins with us and what we expect from our life.

Ally Lifewithally said...

George Burns had the right idea ~ we cannot help getting older but we do not have to be old ~ Ally x

Arlene (AJ) said...

My personal motto is "No One and Nothing Will Get Me Down", has worked for me and in my heart I'll always be 18 and that seems to work for me. I go with the flow, look forward to new ventures, make the most of every day and won't allow anyone to get me stressed out.
Memory wise I've always been blessed with knowing and remembering peoples names...found that associating their name with something works for me....met a lady a few weeks ago and we started talking and I said what's your name and she said Sharon, but no one remembers that....I said I would as I was born in Sharon, PA, so now when we see each other I always greet her by name. I hope that I'll always be blessed with reaching for the stars to see what comes next, know it will keep me young at heart always....that suits me just fine.

That corgi :) said...

I don't know DB. there are days I feel old, not just older. I do know that I noticed a difference in my body after I turned 40 and after I turned 50. Yet in my heart I do still feel young, if only the body would cooperate with me. But I rest in the promise that one day I'll get a new body that will last eternally :)


Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

It is important to take care of things before the become out of hand. Attitude is a key factor.

krissy knox said...

Oh, dana, i don't know how i missed this post. it's absolutely beautiful. no, you're not old, you're just older. that goes for all of us. you have a spectacular attitude, and you allow everyone else to get a glimpse into the dignity of the human being, from conception till death (and beyond). how beautiful. everyone has worth... krissy :)