Valley News – Over Easy: Is age just a number?


People who claim age is just a number are delusional and bad at math.

One of them is on a TV commercial that often plays during the evening news and Danger!, both of which need to appeal to older audiences. The advertisements offer potions for diabetes, respiratory disorders and a broken immune system.

The people in the ads look pretty energetic, but they don’t hear the warnings about the side effects which can include grumbling, spontaneous naps, difficulty getting a ‘smart’ TV to work, repeating old stories and a sudden interest in prunes. I joke about these; these are free benefits in AARP years.

But age, allegedly, is just a number. It’s just a state of mind.

I could use numerical relativism if a state trooper stopped me on the freeway to discuss my speed rate. “Eighty-five is just a number, officer,” I said. I’m sure he’ll see it my way.

“It’s just a number” you may say to your doctor when they ask about your weight, but I don’t know if that answer will satisfy the mysterious forces behind medical bills.

And kids, try this at school when your chemistry final is a flop. “Fifty-eight is just a number, Mr. Beaker, and to be honest, I still want an A.”

But enough with the numbers. I’m getting closer to the age of 70, which if I remember correctly is longer than the average male life expectancy when I was a boy. My dad complained to me that most men only lasted three years after retirement. But what did I know? I had never heard of age being just a number.

As a child, you think age is very real, that 6 is very different from 5. You eagerly call yourself 6½, because 7 is really going to be something.

Not so with 70, apparently. It’s just a… you know.

Numbers aside, I feel pretty good heading into this important milestone. Knees and hips are A-OK. Vision is acceptable, although driving in new places at night can get sketchy. I’m probably in touch with reality, although politics and popular culture make it less appealing than before.

I felt antiquated last weekend when a guest on a Vermont Public radio show said the Kardashians were “America’s family,” just like the Kennedys were many years ago. years. As my gag reflex kicked in, she said that a televised Kardashian wedding was comparable to John F. Kennedy’s funeral. In importance? Iconicity? skankiness? My will to live was slipping.

I know the Kennedys had their secrets, but they tried to keep them secret. The Kardashians live off theirs.

Then another guest said Kim Kardashian said The New York Times that she would consider eating poop (yes, poop) every day if it made her look younger. She’s releasing a new skin care line. I hope that doesn’t smell funny.

Back in the real world, I think I can speak for my wife, Dede, when I declare that we are satisfied – happy, even – with our own particular status quo. Married in 1976, we survived Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen, the greatest footballer of all time and supermodel. We recently put together many of our own, our 46th wedding anniversary. We both still pretend to love each other, and I’ve never seen a People magazine cover stating otherwise.

I imagine Tom will soon start dating ridiculously young actresses, but he’ll have to go to Hollywood premieres that keep you up too late. We can go to cheap movie nights here in the Upper Valley, preferably the first show. Winner: us.

All told, I feel younger than my calendar years. I realize it’s a matter of healthy living — exercising, eating oatmeal like a workhorse — but also luck. I’m not aiming too high. Soon to be 70, I hope I don’t look over 68. Oh, to become young again!

Still, I follow the science of longevity quite closely. I believe that daily walks could add three years to my life, but I will have to spend those three years on my feet. I saw a man claiming online that his wife had been walking 5 miles a day for a year. “I think she’s in a different state now,” he wrote.

Here’s another joke I came across, in the comments section of the Time. The story was about health and aging, and the commentary went like this: When you’re young, you leave your house to go to parties, and when you’re old, you leave parties to go home.

Seems about right. If the party is at night, I wouldn’t even go with pleasure.

Dan Mackie lives in western Lebanon. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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