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As a child, I remember watching an Armistice Day parade (Now Veterans Day parade) in my hometown.  Marching in the parade was a small contingent of Spanish American War veterans.  I remember thinking (another ghost out of my memory file) that they must be ancient.  In reality they were probably in their early sixties.


            Everybody plays THE AGING GAME.  It’s played from the beginning to the end. The rules—there are rules you know—are both written and unwritten. Often there are winners and losers. For example:  When it comes to age-related medical insurance, most often the losers are you. The winners are the insurance companies.  Everybody plays.  There are categories.  The category I am addressing is "OLD AGE".


            First off, there are the written rules that define Old Age. Everybody writes them: Corporations, insurance companies,the media, government, as well as various and sundry organizations too numerous to list.


            Then, there are the unwritten rules that everyone writes to suit themselves. There is no other game like it for it inflicts pleasure and pain, hope and resignation, delight and despair.


            The very attempt to objectively define Old Age is daunting. Many corporations have mandatory retirement ages for their key executives, usually at the age of 65. Is that Old Age?   Social Security eligibility will be moved up to 67 from 65.  Will that be the new Old Age?   We are living longer and, I suppose, officialdom’s definition of Old Age is moving up with longevity based, primarily, upon economic considerations.


            People defined by corporations, insurance companies, government and the media as being old (usually with a number attached) are, often, being victimized. The media are the propaganda machines that portray people of a certain age as being in the twilight of their lives. Translated: They are going to die soon. Sprightly is a favorite description. Vigorous is a word often used to describe those that can walk without a walker. How about peppy?   Cartoons portray “old people” whoever they are, as bent over, hard of hearing, creaky-voiced dolts wandering about with their walkers. 


        What is the reality? Old  is in the mind and spirit of the individual. Old Age? Where does that begin? 60— 65—70—75—80—90?  How about 40 or 50? Am I being facetious? Hardly. Is old related to how soon a person is going to die or is it connected to how well he or she lives? 

Is old a number and a health connected issue? Is a 70, 80 or 90-year-old person who is healthy, active, joyful and mentally sharp old? I don't think so! (Don't rule out many 100 year olds.) How about a 45 or 50-year-old person who is sickly, sedentary and morose? Should that person be considered middle aged or old?


        If we go by the numbers we get a mixed roundup. The government and insurance companies with their actuaries need the roundup as well as those organizations that deal with people as faceless numbers.


         Then, there are the unwritten rules of the Aging Game.There is that expression: You are as old as you feel. Trite? Perhaps. But in many ways true. It begins in the head. The body follows. More often then not the enemy is pain. Pain is the dark shadow of aging that must be fought constantly. For those who love life, pain can, often, be dealt with permitting them to enjoy all that living has to offer.


         Let me personalize  this: I am 84 years of age, a grandfather and soon-to-be great grandfather. To the media and other by-the-numbers institutions as well as much of the brainwashed general public, grandfather = old, great grandfather = ancient. I am neither! I hurt much of the time. I deal with it.  And I am no hero! It is all about the joy of living. With each decade I enter, I move old age up to the next decade. Old age for me will happen at the age of 90. However, on the hour of my 90th year I know I will move old age up to 100.


Bob Flicker

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 © robert 2014