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AGING: Aging has advantages, disadvantages

A friend who didn't want me to use his name (at least I thought he was a friend) suggested that an old fella like me writing an aging column should touch on the advantages and disadvantages of different ages. And then, that son-of-a-gun, added th...

A friend who didn't want me to use his name (at least I thought he was a friend) suggested that an old fella like me writing an aging column should touch on the advantages and disadvantages of different ages. And then, that son-of-a-gun, added that I've seen all of those ages and that a touch of humor throughout wouldn't be a bad idea either.

And so I decided to give it a try. When you evaluate my efforts, be kind because of my age bracket. I've been asked what "old" really is and my favorite definition is that old is 15 years older than you are. Remember that; you'll find it comes in pretty close.

I'll be attempting to touch on three age groups as I see them -- youth (they know everything and mainly look ahead), middle age (they suspect everything and often look tired) and lastly my group, "My, but you are looking well" (they believe everything and mostly look back).

My but you are looking well!

We in this age group have had a lot of good luck already -- just making it.

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On the disadvantage side, we discover in our address book of relatives and friends that we have drawn a line though several names; no more communication possible with those former relatives and friends. And we've attended too many memorials.

I just came back from a six-day trip to California. My daughter from Blaine, Minn. accompanied me. We visited my eldest son on Santa Catalina Island (26 miles off Los Angeles) and a granddaughter in L.A. who is attempting to break into an acting career. One thing that my age notices is tiredness, difficult to shake tiredness, from what used to just be an exciting adventure.

And I can go further. You often feel in the morning like you would after the night before, and the sad fact is that you haven't been anywhere the night before. Many in the youth category very likely feel that we in the older section are far too critical and they are probably right. Some of the older generation's criticism of the younger generation is heavily tinged with envy.

Now with the problems of global warming, we will have to settle for far fewer candles on the birthday cake -- pollution control! And sadly for the men at this age, by the time they reach greener pastures, they are too old to climb the fence.

Pardon me for closing this section with a political comment, but those of us in this bracket can remember when it was said that anybody could become president, and, by golly, today it looks like that saying hit it right on the head.

Middle age

Middle age is really an awkward age; you are too old for the Peace Corps and too young for Social Security. Middle age is when you begin to realize how much fun you had when you were in the youth group. It isn't too late, but it takes more time and lots more effort.

Middle age is where instead of having sensations, you start having symptoms. Too often, it is the age when you turn the lights off for economy reasons rather than romantic ones. For men, too often, it is where the legs buckle but the belt won't.

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But in another way, it is the Golden Age, the children are too old to need a baby sitter and too young to borrow the family car. In this middle age bracket, 29 is a great age for a man to be -- and for a woman to stay.

Youth

Knowing how memory fades, you have already predicted that this would be the short section and you're right. Youth has one distinct advantage; if you act foolish after that, you have to find some other excuse.

If the truth be known, the worst danger facing the younger generation is the examples that those of us in the older generation have set for them. And advice for young men, "Don't tell your best girlfriend that you are unworthy of her. Let it be a surprise!"

The prayer of modern youth seems to be, "Lord, lead us not into temptation. Just tell us where it is and we'll find it." About the only way to stay young is to live honestly, eat sensibly, sleep well, work hard and lie about your age.

A little humor

Man celebrating his 85th birthday was being interviewed by a youthful reporter. Getting at longevity issue, the reporter asked, "How old was your father before he died?" The 85- year-old responded belligerently, "Who said my father was dead, he's getting married next week!"

Reporter: "Why would an old man like that want to get married?

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85-year old: "Who said he wanted to?"

Bernie Hughes, Ed.D., is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at Bernie1@cpinternet.com .

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