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Let me say straight off: Aging sucks. Put more elegantly, it's lousy. Nobody wants to get older. Nobody wants to lift her arm and see crepe paper, but there it is. I don't care how young you are: You can't say it doesn't hurt when you get into a bathing suit and don't look as good as you did ten years ago, or even five.
People who tell you that age is wonderful are lying. We've all heard this whopper: "You're not getting older, you're getting better."
Really? Is that a medical diagnosis? Then you had better get a second opinion because I can't find my glasses to read how good I've become.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, when liposuction was still a dream and Esoterica was a young lady's name and almost no one went to Fort Lauderdale, an Englishman named Robert Browning wrote:
Clearly, this man was a minor poet. Or else, when he wrote those lines, he was twelve.
Getting older happens to be a particularly foolish direction to go in America, where almost everyone is obsessed with age, where numbers are always and pointlessly attached to every name that's published in a newspaper or magazine:
Joe Creamer, 43, and his daughter Tiffany-Ann, 9, were merrily chasing a bunny, 2, when TIffany-Ann tripped on the root of atree, 106.
James Thurber, the great humorist, had the right idea when he said, "The trouble with us is that we number everything. I think we deserve to have more than fourteen years between the ages of twenty-six and forty."
Any woman who says "I'm happy to be106" is also not embracing the truth. She wishes to hell she were still forty-one. Old age is not the golden one. You're not automatically wiser. You're not automatically smarter. All you are is automatically less of a sex symbol. You might even be one of those gray people to whom nobody gravitates or talks at a party. It's awful to walk into a crowded room and be the oldest person there. You find that people are looking right through you. You've become invisible.
As British writer Anthony Powell said, "Growing old is like being increasingly penalized for a crime you haven't committed."
However, as fervently as we wish that time didn't fly but just sat in the terminal, everyone does keep getting older. Even the baby boomers. No, especially the baby boomers. I am always amused when a newspaper or magazine refers to an older man or woman as "an aging tax evader" or "an aging sadomasochist." Is there anyone postpartum who could be described as younging?
We are so idiotically hung up on age that Isabella Rossellini, one of the most ethereally beautiful women in our solar system, was fired as the face that promoted a major cosmetics company by some mentally challenged executives who felt that she had been too long out of the womb. She was forty-two years old.
"You represent the reality of beauty," they said to Isabella, "and we're selling the fantasy of it. And the fantasy is young."
One of these days, Estée Lauder may run an ad showing the shade that looks best with diapers-and I don't mean Depends.
Television's Joan Lunden, no Wicked Witch of the West, was dumped by Good Morning America two years ago because she was a gorgeous woman of forty instead of someone in a training bra. That's right: dumped by Good morning America, the place where people are supposed to wake up and smell the coffee, where at least one producer should have been aware of the great truth that fifty is now what thirty-five used to be.
However, even though people are now living longer than ever, even though the average American life span is now seventy-six, even though 33 million people in this country are now over sixty-five, America still seems to feel that kids " R " us. The startling truth is that, by the year 2000, more than 75 million Americans will be over fifty. Every ten seconds in America, someone turns fifty, and too many of these people think it is time to call Dr. Kevorkian (the only doctor who still makes house calls).
Okay, so despite the demographics, aging stinks. But the only way to avoid it is for your life to end now, which is an even less appealing option. Maurice Chevalier may or may not have been the first to say, "Old age isn't so bad when you consider the alternative."
Better, I say, to take stock of where you are chronologically, to realize all the baggage that comes with aging, and then not to accept it. Yes, refuse to pay the COD. I believe in fighting aging all the way, but fighting it constructively and intelligently.Doing what we can do to look and feel the best that we can possibly be.
Yes, in spite of the inevitability of aging, you can remake yourself and recharge your life by working on your diet, your wardrobe, your makeup, your home, your career, your volunteering, your sex (which shouldn't feel like volunteering), and, most important, your attitude:your constant desire to stay mentally and physically active in the mainstream of life.If you are thinking of moving to Florida to just sit in the sun while comparing bond prices, bypass stories, and beautiful grandchildren, this book is not for you.It is for people who think that the only point in living is staying alive in what Teddy Roosevelt called "the arena."
|1||Fine If You're Wine||1|
|2||Peter Stuyvesant and I Went Dutch||9|
|3||Dress Halston, Not Halloween||33|
|4||Early Plastic Isn't Chic||63|
|5||Climb Every Staircase||81|
|6||Some People Will Swallow Anything||105|
|7||A Roll in the Hay Keeps the Doctor Away||129|
|8||No Fool's Gold for Your Golden Years||161|
|9||The Kindest Cut||187|
|10||The Luckier You Get||213|