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Humor and respect

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POSTED: June 29, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Aging – some do it more gracefully than others…but we all face the many challenges of growing old. Some say aging is a mental state. You know these folks; they are the people that say, "I’m not getting older I’m getting better" or "You’re only as old as you feel." I like this positive way of thinking. Today I feel about 93.

For me aging is all about Humor and Respect. According to a recent study I saw, an aspect of "ageism" is on the rise in this country. Poking fun at the older adult community is not only popular, it’s a lucrative business.

Take for example, the Greeting Card industry. Birthday cards have always taken advantage of the "Chronologically Challenged." Now, more than ever, cards for all-occasions are delivering a humorous spin on aging; and almost nothing is sacred.

I have mentioned to my wife a time or two that the next two to three decades hold life-changing implications for us; or at least, for me. Still in my forties, I have had an early acquisition of what some might call, "age-related circumstances." These are things about which I do not complain; but are, at this point, merely providing not-so-subtle changes in my life. Some are quite humorous, while other changes have given me much insight and empathy to people who face greater challenges than I.

I remember the day when my youngest daughter asked me, "Daddy, is your leg breaking?"

I looked puzzled as I answered, "No, Daddy’s legs are fine, why?"

She noted, "Your knees are crackling."

I explained that Daddy’s legs are just worn out. Combinations of too much football and wrestling will do that to your knees; and your back. I’ve had chronic back pain since 1989. I manage it, but there are those days when putting on my socks could count as 30 minutes of vigorous activity!

Of course my hearing is not what it used to be either. I’m still waiting for someone to invent "telephone surround sound." Can you hear me now?

I’ve always heard about how your eyes change as you age. No one ever told me, however, that at the same time the telephone directory printers would start using a smaller font. It’s just not fair. Now I’m wearing reading glasses on top of my contact lenses. The other day I couldn’t remember where I put my contact lenses so I had to wear my reading glasses on top of my regular glasses. Jennifer inquired as to what I was doing….I told her I was trying to read the fine print on the bottle of Advil so I could take the appropriate dose of pain relief medicine for my elbow…..tennis anyone.

I’d go on, but those sacred areas are just around the corner and we probably do not need to go there. Plus, my legs have gone numb in this short time of sitting and writing.

 

As for "Ageism" and jokes about getting older, I feel the same as one of my older friends who said, "I love to read those cards, I just wouldn’t send them to anybody."

 

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