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D L Johnson

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Old Age
by D L Johnson   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Thursday, April 22, 2010
Posted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

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Some ramblings on aging-dlj

Old Age
(c) 2010
Dan Johnson

I'm not sure when old age begins, but I am sure when it ends... that point is abundantly clear. I remember my youth as if it were yesterday... well quite a few yesterdays ago.  I remember when I was considered an adult, for most of us that happened when we reached "legal age" to vote, to buy beer, and mostly to never have to ask permission to do something whether it was right or wrong; the message was clear, if we were wrong, there would be consequences for our actions, if we were right, there would be no parade thrown in our honor... we would just be right.

When I turned 50, that seemed to be a 'golden moment' in my life; I was closer to retirement, I knew more than when I was 25, or 15, or 10, but I did not feel as if I knew it all... It was a sore reminder of the things I did not know, and one of the things I did not know was how to approach 'old age.'

I watched my grandfather grow old and he did it with grace and dignity, my mother on the other hand entered old age fighting and screaming all the way. As I witnessed this action on both parts, I asked myself how can one person happily accept those golden years, while someone else thinks of aging as a curse... I guess it's all attitude.

I recently asked my doctor how long she thought I would live, and her answer was kind of funny, short, and sweet. She said, "You'll live until you die." I tried telling her I was not looking for some kind of 'zen' response, but based on what she knew about me, she should have an idea of how long I have left.. She said, based on her experience, I showed all the indications that I could possibly live until I am 75 or 80, or even longer... Good, I thought to myself, I at least have a fighting chance of seeing what this old age thing is all about.

NPR recently ran an article on their web site about the aging brain, and it was really interesting. The following is an excerpt from that article.

"As we age, our ability to multi-task diminishes. "We're quick, but we're sloppy when we're in middle-age. We make more errors when we're in middle age,"

The Older, But Wiser, Brain

But Gary Small, the writer of this article has found that it's not all bad news. He points to a continued improvement in complex reasoning skills as we enter middle age. Small suggests that this increase may be due to a process in the brain called "myelination." Myelin is the insulation wrapped around brain cells that increases their conductivity — the speed with which information travels from brain cell to brain cell. And the myelination doesn't reach its peak until middle age. By this
point, says Small, "the neuro-circuits fire more rapidly, as if you're going from dial-up to DSL." Complex reasoning skills improve, and we're able to anticipate problems and reason things out better than when we were young. And, Small adds, there's another area of improvement as we age: empathy — the ability to understand the emotional point of view of another. Empathy increases as we age.

One of the things I have learned is that old age, definitely is not for the faint of heart. Like Harry Truman once said, "If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen."  

Another thing I have learned about the aging process is that now that I am retired, nobody is the boss of me... well maybe nobody, except; medicare, social security, the insurance moguls, the banks, the irs, state and county governments, hud, and of course the management of our fine apartment building. Other then the aforementioned, I am the boss of me, and I can do whatever I want. I am free to go where I want, do what I want, say what I want, think what I want, without fear of being
locked up... ain't freedom grand?

Until I reach the point that I continually drool all over myself, and can not control my bodily functions, or think, or speak, or write clearly, I am ready for the challenges of old age, and look forward to all of its possibilities.  

Dan Johnson

Reader Reviews for "Old Age"

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Reviewed by Regis Auffray 7/13/2011
Great reflections, Dan... ...and thought-inciting. Thank you. Love and peace to you,

Reviewed by Patrick Granfors 4/27/2010
Until I reach the point that I continually drool all over myself, and can not control my bodily functions, or think, or speak, or write clearly, I am ready for the challenges of old age, and look forward to all of its possibilities.

I like your attitude and you pretty much defined where I draw the line. Gotta admit I'm way into the sloppy stage. Most notably my typing. Patrick
Reviewed by Tom Hyland 4/25/2010

As I rapidly approach August 25th, this year I'll be 70. WOW! My problem has been that there is a 'Teenager' - TRAPPED inside this ole bod. "The Spirit is willing, but the Flesh is weak!"

My Dad made it to 84 - Mom to 83 - both elder (by 14 & 13 years) sisters, Adele and Rose - made it to mid-seventies - one aunt, Aunt Honey, reached 88 (she was on Dad's side).

In accordance with many published studies, I have another slight advantage - Love Crossword Puzzles - especially NYT - the harder the better. Been doing them almost 50 years now. Chess, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, Cribbage, Pinochle, and even Bridge, have always been enjoyable challenges to me.

Retired in March of 2006, been working 3 days a week, Part-Time for 4 years now, and -
Love it! YEP - being your own Boss is NICE!

Lady Friend I 'dated' (snicker, snicker) for 3 years just DUMPED ME! Not to worry though, I
expected it, and already have 3 'Profiles' running again on the Net. Only now, they are on
'Senior' sites - but - I'm looking for a 'Newer Model' -

Wish me LUCK! Tom.
Reviewed by Mr. Ed 4/23/2010
One of the things I have learned is that old age, definitely is not for the faint of heart.

Definitely Not! My poor spouse still has a very hard time accepting the fact that we will both soon be drooling as much as our mutts. (She claims I've always drooled, but I'm gonna show her this - it's just part of the aging process!)
Reviewed by Debby & Gordon Rosenberg 4/22/2010
I read something yesterday that true joy in living occurs when we learn to accept and live a simple life, which to me seems to happen as we age, suddenly we have relinquished the "have to" of middle age responsibilities of home, career, and family...when all that disolved for me, I finally realized the beauty of stress free and life began an amazing new long my friend.
Reviewed by Susan Sonnen 4/22/2010
Encouraging words! I love growing older. Although, it took me a year and a half to accept having entered my 40s. At 46, though, I am relishing it!
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