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I have a friend seemingly obsessed with staying young – or so I surmise by his Facebook posts. We are the same age (56) but we look quite different. He keeps his chin shaved and hair dyed. His facial features suggest ‘he’s had work done”. Most comments on his page are along the line “You look marvelous!” and “You don’t look a day over 35!”  He likes to say 50 is the new 30 – after a decade of saying 40 is the new 20.  There is a part of me that is envious of his youthful countenance; another part of me likes the notion of not growing old but merely sliding into age without the usual losses. All the same I am beginning to rethink this approach. As I age I tend to gravitate more and more towards people my age or older, not only for their wisdom but their lifestyle.

Every year I grow more at ease with what I no longer want nor able to do. Last New Year’s Eve I didn’t go out partying until 3AM as I would have done in my youth but stayed home. 50 maybe the new 30 by 10PM is the new midnight. I was quite content to get into my jammies and sleep that night. Most times nowadays when given the choice I prefer reading a book to rolling down grass hills.  This may be fuddy-duddy but there it is. Another sign of wisdom in aging is not caring tuppence what others think.* There is a Chinese expression “I have reached the age when the night is for sleep”

I sometimes see my aging patients have anxiety about how they should be compared to what they truly want. An example of this is sexuality. Apparently we should all be randy as twenty-year olds. Once in a while I get a patient (over 50) who calls out The Emperor having no clothes on this topic. A woman recently reported in her menopause she was ‘finally free of the prison that is the arms of Eros”. Holy mackerel what a line!  I thought she was speaking for many folks 50 years-plus who are done with sex and fine with it.

At the end of February I go to Palm Springs for a week of doing more or less nothing.  In my youth I would be horrified by this indolent and indifferent approach to a holiday. I remember in my youth going on family trips in which my brothers and I would want to do as much as possible from sunup to sundown (and into the night). Mother in contrast was quite content to sit by the pool reading books. I now see the wisdom of this.  Welcome aging.  Sonny, go do that somewhere else why don’t you I’m trying to read.

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*In the blogging world this is sometimes called “Channeling Ann Marie”

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