Thursday, May 10, 2007

Major landmark

Tomorrow I turn, ahem, 50 years old. This is a pretty big landmark, reached by most individuals no more than once. It's strange to have been young all one's life, strongly conditioning one's self-image, and then increasingly to find that one is no longer so. That being said, I weigh the same and am in better aerobic shape than when I was a college or law student. I also would make short work of my past self if we played, say, racquet sports against each other. But alas, all this requires eating a lot less and exercising a lot more. I also increasingly get all sorts of aches and pains that I didn't know as well back then. Some days you just don't feel that good, once you reach this stage. I now have to do regular exercise and stretching routines for nearly every body part that is potentially injurable in sporting activities. I also need reading glasses unless the print is large and/or the lighting great. And dessert now often inspires something of the same mute horror that I assume mice bring to thinking about cats.

"Youth is wasted on the young" may be trite, but that doesn't mean it's true. (It's not.) Certainly it would have helped me, back in the past, to know some of the things I know now, but then again my tolerances have changed so as to remain age-appropriate. (Being a student was okay back then, but I'd hate to relive it now.) I'd say I'm a lot more contented now, albeit more careworn because I have more responsibilities. At and to this point, various life issues (personal and career) that were unpredictable thirty years ago have gone in what I feel were good directions. Who knows if this would still be true if one could turn back the clock and play it out again. If offered that deal, I would definitely say no and keep what I have.

I was lucky not to experience much death among people I was close to, for a very long time. Lately, not so lucky, as is inevitable when you keep going. Still, I'm hoping for a respite, and also for a very long time before my own decay gets too advanced. And with that cheerful thought, accompanied by a lot of genuine gratitude for so much of the past and present, I will close these reflections.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on now qualifying for AARP discounts! :-)

Daniel Shaviro said...

That's depressing, Anonymous. I had forgotten that I am now eligible to join AARP. But once you reminded me, I went to their website to check into the discounts. It was hard to tell how much is really there, although certainly joining is pretty cheap.

Would/should I join AARP if the benefits more than pay for the membership fee? I'd have to think about that. Certainly I don't line up with them on entitlements policy or on the question of whether affluent seniors should bear some share of the burden implicit in addressing the fiscal gap. Then again, a reverse version of the voting paradox applies here - how much difference does one person's joining make?

When it comes to actual voting, I have ceased to honor the voting paradox in recent years, figuring that, when there are candidates I despise, the expressive act gives me a sufficient emotional payoff to justify the time spent. But there are certainly institutions in this world, and indeed in the U.S. political system, a lot worse than than the AARP.

When and if Bushism / Rovism is finally defeated and as a serious fiscal crisis nears, the AARP will rise on my negatives list, relative to the list as a whole, simply by staying in the same place. But until then, what may keep me from joining is simply the cognitive dissonance. I still don't quite feel fifty, and I'd like to think I don't look it either.

Unknown said...

Happy (slightly belated) birthday!