November 30, 2012

"Don't waste time worrying about growing old."

"Many experts described later life as embodying a serenity, a 'lightness of being,' a sense of calm and easiness in daily life that was both unexpected and somewhat difficult to describe. . . . They acknowledge that growing old is uncharted territory . . . but many experts described it with a sense of exploring a new land."

#12 on a list of "12 ways to live a better life."

Related is #2: "Act as if you will need your body for 100 years/Don't worry about dying. Worry about chronic disease...."

50 comments:

edutcher said...

Sounds like pop wisdom for the "Don't Trust Anybody Over 30" crowd.

The ideas aren't bad, but they're hardly new.

I didn't sweat turning 40.

Or 60.

In fact, my life really started in my 40s.

Shouting Thomas said...

Growing old has been charted in some depth.

When I was a kid, my musician heroes were old men. That's the traditional way.

I grew up in the Catholic Church, which has a lot to say about old age and death.

My favorite writer is Henry Miller. Miller had a lot to say about old age and death.

Abandoning tradition will lead to a complete loss of traditional wisdom. Maybe this is what the writer meant to say.

Shouting Thomas said...

It is not a "waste of time" to contemplate growing old. I realize that the writer did use the word "worry," instead of "contemplate."

I'm semi-retired, and I do spend some time contemplating my old age and inevitable death.

Playing church music for funerals will get you focused on that sort of contemplation.

sydney said...

I would put aside worrying about chronic disease, too. You can live the healthiest of lives but you are still going to suffer the ill effects of aging if you live long enough - heart failure, failing eye sight and the worst of all degenerative joint disease.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

One of the great killers of quality-of-life in old age is SARCOPENIA: the loss of skeletal muscle which can begin as young as 25 or 30.

Many elderly are severely under-fleshed, increasing the risk of injuries, falls, and general inability to perform normal tasks.

The best prevention is weight-lifting, especially free-weights (not machines), and all it takes is a couple of one-hour sessions per week. Cleans, squats, and dead lifts work the greatest numbers of major muscles.

I began lifting in my early 50s, and now in my mid-60s am back up to my playing weight as an athlete some 45 years ago. I'm also noticeably stronger, and have more energy than I did in my mid-30s (when I was no slouch).

You can't necessarily get more years, but they sure can be better ones.

Jaske said...

Once when I was young, I would be old,
And leave my idle youth behind.
Not caring that in youth, was a wealth in gold,
Oh sweet ignorant, adolescent mind.

And now in the winter of my life,
And my joints swollen with pain,
I'd give it all up, all the strife,
If God made me eighteen again.

Juan Olivarez

Pogo said...

"Many experts" say lots of things, little of it is useful, less often true.

Some elderly have indeed found peace, others worry constantly, others are in fear or constant pain.

While there can be a serenity to senescence, being religious may be predictive.

And the host of grumpy oldsters is not dispositive to a golden age, with its often unbearable lightness of being.

Middle age is often the hardest part of the road. Surviving that gauntlet and shedding that yoke requires a reckoning in that third and waning age.

From it may stem wisdom or bitterness. Its your call.

AllenS said...

We're all going to die, so why worry about it?

MadisonMan said...

You have to worry about something.

David said...

I'm already old. Older is what worries me, if I think about it, which I don't much because I'm old.

sydney said...

Middle age is often the hardest part of the road.

Agreed. By middle age you start to tire more easily but you don't have the luxury yet of resting when you are tired. I am looking forward to being old enough to step off the treadmill.

Expat(ish) said...

I'm about 50 and I'm about the only one of my friends without a serious health problem - bad back, bad knees, overweight, diabetes, fricking gout of all things.

I have no idea how I dodged that fate, but I'm trying to be careful to put that sort of chronic (not a Clerks reference) problem off.

_XC

rhhardin said...

Aristotle said that outgrowing libido is like being unchained from a maniac.

Carol said...

It's true, and serenity's the word for it but I don't like it because I think there are some adult diapers by that name.

rhhardin said...

Cicero

We come now to the third ground for abusing old age, and that is, that it is devoid of sensual pleasures. O glorious boon of age, if it does indeed free us from youth's most vicious fault!

madAsHell said...

"Act as if you will need your body for 100 years/Don't worry about dying. Worry about chronic disease...."

Death is a chronic disease.

Ann Althouse said...

"One of the great killers of quality-of-life in old age is SARCOPENIA: the loss of skeletal muscle which can begin as young as 25 or 30."

Important! Also made me look up that word, sarcopenia, which was new to me. OED traces it back only to 1991, with this quote:

"I. Rosenberg in G. E. Gaull et al. Nutrition in 90's iv. 43 Consider, however, the implication of the decrease in muscle mass with respect to the behavior of the elderly. Have we given it enough attention? Perhaps it needs a name. I suggest, from Greek, sarcomalacia (‘softening of the flesh’) or sarcopenia (‘lack of flesh’)."

I must admit that my OED search was out of interest in the root "penia" which seemed like it might be connected to "penis." (It's not.)

Ann Althouse said...

"We're all going to die, so why worry about it?"

Whole religions are built on this worry, but you have to have an afterlife for it to be worth worrying about because it's something you should be doing something about.

Also, worry in the sense of trying to avoid it as long as you can.

The point is that you should worry only to the extent that there's something you can do. Arguably, "worry" refers to a mental activity disconnected from anything useful.

I remember a self-help book from the 70s being advertised with the author's statement "Worrying is a complete waste of time."

Peter said...

"The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything."

hawkeyedjb said...

Now the years are rolling by me,
They are rocking easily.
I am older than I once was,
And younger than I'll be,
But that's not unusual.
Lord, is it strange, after changes upon changes,
We are more or less the same.
After changes we are more or less the same.

AllenS said...

I've already figured out my afterlife. First, I'll have to do between 5 and 10 years in Pergatory, then it's Heaven, baby.

William said...

My enemy grows older and no longer has the energy or imagination to work his vile schemes on me....As decades go, my sixties were quite pleasant and content. I'd rank them as some of the best years of my life. That's kind of sad. I wish my twenties had been the best years of my life.

As my whimsy leads me.. said...

"Abandoning tradition will lead to a complete loss of traditional wisdom."

Shouting Thomas, that might be the very best thing I've read of any comment on this blog. I think it might also be the main division in our country, between the right and the left. Thanks for that nugget.

Toy

As my whimsy leads me.. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Haz said...

My parents (in their late 80s) live in a senior citizen's apartment complex. I have met some of their neighbors and seen many more.

Those who are in their 70s and older and still enjoying life have these things in common: (1) Never used tobacco, (2) Walk outdoors nearly every day for at least 30 minutes, (3) Choose to keep a happy disposition, (4) Weight proportionate to height.

Obviously some others are afflicted with non-preventable disease, but the ones who are the happiest and healthiest seem to be the ones who take better care of themselves, eat properly, exercise a bit, and stay happy.

As my whimsy leads me.. said...

Althouse, you should link to the book on Amazon. I just ordered it through your portal. I think it would be a good Christmas gift.

Toy

phx said...

I've already figured out my afterlife. First, I'll have to do between 5 and 10 years in Pergatory, then it's Heaven, baby.

AllenS some of your comments alone at Althouse are gonna get you 5 to 10 in purgatory.

Chuck Currie said...

Having witnessed the ravages of chronic disease up close, #2 is the best advise. Besides, I'm a wuss. The thought of being in a hospital or care facility scares the hell out of me, much more than dieing.

Cheers

Noz pkr said...

Nothing focuses you more than facing a life threatening illness, irrespective of the aging process.

Inga said...

I've just entered my sixth decade. It's kind of unbelievable, but not worrysome at all, hmmmm, should I be worried?

Post menopausal women also have osteoporosis issues, it's actually better to keep a bit of weight on to ensure your bones stay strong. But beware of calcium supplements, they've been connected to contributing to atherosclerosis. It's safer to get your calcium from your food, dairy, leafy greens, even bone broth.

traditionalguy said...

The best way for men to stay healthy is to exercise everyday including free weights.

And word to the wise, after the Medicare and Supplement plans are effective the doctors you see are pre-planning treatments they must bill to the system at a high volume.

So always get a second opinion before you become mere cannon fodder for long term chronic disease treatments for named diseases that you don't even have.

William R. Hamblen said...

Eubie Blake, who lived to be 96, is quoted as saying that if he knew he was going to live that long he would have taken better care of himself.

Tarzan said...

There's got to be some truth to this. A lot of the older folks I know have an aura of relief and ease about them which I envy quite a bit.

Michael Haz said...

And sex. If you are going to live a long(er) and happier life, have sex as often as you can. True fact.

ricpic said...

I wish my twenties had been the best years of my life.

But they can't be. Too much is at stake and the person has developed no distance from himself. Which is another way of saying that almost everyone in their childhood and then their youth wrestles with paranoia. It is the lifting of paranoia that accounts for the relative relaxation of age.

elkh1 said...

sydney said...
I would put aside worrying about chronic disease, too.

Worst of all, Alzheimer. You can't appreciate what your loved ones have done for you, and they can't not take care of you. The worst imposition on your family.

deborah said...

This must have been written by a sex maniac:

"Sex (having more sex) may increase how long you live. Sex releases several hormones in the body, increases intimacy and bonding, and works against loneliness and depression. Staying sexually active has physical, stress relieving, social and mental benefits. According to the RealAge books, frequent orgasms (about 100 per year) can increase life expectancy by 3-8 years, however, keep in mind that the science on this is somewhat spotty. Studies show that men with a high frequency of orgasms have a 50 percent reduction in mortality risk."

Michael Haz said...

This must have been written by a sex maniac.

Two orgasms per week? Not anywhere manaic-worthy. Quite normal, actually.

deborah said...

Was being facetious, MH, but twice a week past a certain age I imagine would be out of the ordinary. Not for lack of love, affection, or attraction, but familiarity.

ricpic said...

Of course sex research is spotty!

AllenS said...

phx said...
AllenS some of your comments alone at Althouse are gonna get you 5 to 10 in purgatory.

OK, not a problem, add some time, how about 10 to 15. Doesn't matter how long it takes, there'll come a time when I'll be crawling all over Christie Brinkley. It will be all Heaven!

Methadras said...

Go west young man, into your doddering ascendency of becoming a senior citizen.

XRay said...

"Aristotle said that outgrowing libido is like being unchained from a maniac."

I hadn't heard or read that before, worth saying again.

Though I'm not there yet by any means, not sure I will outlive it either, and it still gets me in trouble. Hmm, not so sure I want to, break that chain, either.

Conundrum.

ampersand said...

AllenS,you may be in heaven crawling all over Christie Brinkley ,but where will poor Christie be?

Md Raju said...

Wonderful, This is an awesome blog.Continue to keep up the very good operate. I completely enjoyed reading your blog. This blog will be helpful for me. I just found your blog and want to say thank you ! What an enjoyable time looking through so many sites. It is really nice post thanks for sharing and just keep up the good work !


Search Engine Marketing | Computer Repair Unleashed | The Ultimate Guide To Password |cPanel 4 Newbies | Fix Windows Errors

Md Raju said...


I just found your blog and want to say thank you ! What an enjoyable time looking through so many sites. It is really nice post thanks for sharing and just keep up the good work !

2012 NFL | Watch Live NFL



Md Raju said...

I just found your blog and want to say thank you ! It is really nice post thanks for sharing and just keep up the good work !



greenbaypackers | philadelphiaeagles | pittsburghsteelers | newyorkgiants | chicagobears | miamidolphins | baltimoreravens

Md Raju said...

I just found your blog and want to say thank you ! It is really nice post thanks for sharing and just keep up the good work !

ipad Video | Unlimited Movies | Special Effect | Forex | Stock Commissions





Md Raju said...


Wonderful, This is an awesome blog.Continue to keep up the very good operate. I completely enjoyed reading your blog.
Search Engine Marketing

Md Raju said...

I just found your blog and want to say thank you ! What an enjoyable time looking through so many sites. It is really nice post thanks for sharing and just keep up the good work !
Search Engine Marketing|2012 NFL|Watch Live NFL