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Young whippersnapper tells old people how to live

May 18, 2017

An interesting article but not really at the heart of the issue: How to Reverse Aging and Become Whoever You Want to Be. He should remind himself of the Hawthorne Experiment before going on about such things in the way he does. I liked this comment especially:

Sorry, Ben, you aren’t old, which means you have no idea what being old is really like. “Most people fail to realize that they get to choose their stage, who they will be, and how they will act.” In fact, much as we contemporary Americans hate to admit it, the body rules. And no matter what good care we take of our bodies, eventually the system winds down.

I speak from experience. I’m a 77-year-old woman who fully embraced the idea that I could control who I am for years. I write, teach and edit full time. I walked at least 2 miles a day for forty years and have lived healthy habits. Nonetheless, a kneecap broken while hiking brought me house-bound for three months and a hard upper respiratory virus caused coughing that tore a back muscle. I haven’t bounced back as I once did. For now, I can walk eight blocks — though I believe that walking those eight blocks is strengthening me for future forest trail hikes.
Having said that, I’d like to point out to you that ageism is possibly the greatest ism in American society. No matter how much I treasure myself, I’m treated as a charming old lady when I go out into the world. It is infuriating. Here’s a little education for you.

May I suggest that you save your advice for us old people until you are old?

My most frequent experience in striking up a conversation with old people I meet is how they instantly transform from inward and sullen to engaged and upbeat. They also become younger looking though not of course young looking. I can see that for anyone less than 50 I am old, and with my arm in a sling and carrying a cane as I now do, all this is emphasised. It however doesn’t make people want to speak to me, only to give me their seats on the tram which is not really my need or wish.

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