Saturday, November 5, 2011

Old On Purpose

The passing (ok,death) of Andy Rooney offers me the opportunity to share (again) one of my favorite quotes about aging. I am pretty sure that Mr. Rooney said this circa 2007 (it was before I started using the blog site for my "news"). He made the comment in response to something Bill O'Reilly (a Fox news commentator) had said. I do not remember their tiff but I do know that I shared the quote when it happened.  It was...
That wasn't very nice Bill.  I did not get old on purpose.  It just happened.  If you're lucky it will happen to you too.
The truth is - there are different ways of aging.  Social scientists differentiate ways of getting old by the terms "usual aging" and "successful aging."  The distinction should matter to you.  What is usual in your mind, the stereotype of aging, is not considered successful or even normal.  There is no science to support that substantial physical, mental and social decline must occur as one gets older.  Nor do people have to become diseased.  Recall the recent interview with the chair of the NCD group.  He said the phrase "diseases of aging" was a misconception - he called it wrong - a lie.
Successful aging is possible and to be "lucky" enough to experience it, one must begin taking care of themselves NOW.  I say now because that is what I mean.  If you are reading this and you are 20 years old, there are things you need to do and not do at this time.  If you are 80, sorry, same rule applies.  Successful aging, as opposed to "getting old" does NOT just happen, 'bill.'  There is some luck to it, genewise but a helluva a lot more of it involves intention.


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