My writing this month is for those of us who have birthdays in January, but it can equally apply to anyone who celebrates a birthday regardless of the month of the year. While I was waiting for my wife to finish her appointment with her Doctor, I happened to glance at a magazine in the lobby of the medical complex. And on the back of the magazine was the statement, “Everyone wants to live longer but no one wants to get old.” And that sentence sort of sums up my feelings as I celebrate by 79th birthday this month: I want to live longer but I don’t want to get any older either!
But this statement struck me as wanting something that is impossible to achieve. Of course I want to live longer. I enjoy writing and taking pictures around this region that is called the Finger Lakes Region of New York State. This region has been my retirement home and I have not regretted my retirement choice. And certainly our modern medical science has helped us all live longer by teaching us to have regular medical checkups and to test for known diseases that come with the aging process.
But we seniors, along with our wanting to live longer and be contributors to society, now have to come face to face with another social movement: the future belongs to our youth. They are setting the example as to what we should look like, how we should dress, and how we should act in society. Our young have been given wonderful learning and communication tools that have never been available before in the history of man.
In order to cash in on these latest technical trends, the advertising industries coupled with some of the people in the medical field have created the impossible image for anyone to achieve: WE CAN LIVE LONGER AND NOT GET OLDER. It’s the equivalent of making time stand still!
I can’t speak for you but as for myself, I’ve earned all of these wrinkles, brown spots, and scars on my body. You take that scar on the right side of my forehead where I was bounced off the back of a horse when I was a teenager or my bald head that was once covered with red hair – both features that are a part of my inheritance. I accept these markings proudly as a life well lived and look forward to adding a few more. Take the time to celebrate your birthday when it comes around, just don’t count the candles.