When you were young, you cried only for yourself.
October 23, 2009 7:13 AM   Subscribe


 
does not apply to me. I patched my kernel and I don' age anymore.
posted by elcapitano at 7:16 AM on October 23, 2009


Dammit, I'm not old enough to cry on Friday mornings.

Good post.
posted by Pragmatica at 7:19 AM on October 23, 2009


Does not apply to me. I am female.
posted by amro at 7:22 AM on October 23, 2009


You get old. Which is preferable to the alternative (most of the time).
posted by wendell at 7:24 AM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Applies to me.
posted by ook at 7:25 AM on October 23, 2009


I'd like to say that I didn't feel that resonate with me a little since it's kind of corny but, sure enough, I had a misty moment at the end.

Why aren't I steely?
posted by josher71 at 7:26 AM on October 23, 2009


Does not apply to me. I don't know what "abstemious" means.

Also, thanks for the Ballykissangel spoiler, Pat.
posted by total warfare frown at 7:26 AM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


But I don't feel old!
posted by mareli at 7:27 AM on October 23, 2009


Lots of it embarrassingly sounds like me.

Embarrassingly because I'm 34.

I'm not sur what this means.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:28 AM on October 23, 2009 [14 favorites]


sure means I can't type
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:28 AM on October 23, 2009


HUGS FOR ALL!
posted by sciurus at 7:33 AM on October 23, 2009


With age I've learned that the reason old people dress the way they do is because they don't give a shit any more how it looks to you.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:37 AM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Die young. Live a beautiful corpse.
posted by ColdChef at 7:39 AM on October 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


I was enjoying the article until the bit about the Haitian paper deliverer, and then I found it hard to continue. "As black as a purple plum?" Really?
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 7:44 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


In fairness, though, I did keep reading and it really was a good article overall. Thoughtful and bittersweet. Youth truly is wasted on the young.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 7:48 AM on October 23, 2009


I'm female and I thought it applied to me. Nicely written.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:51 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I have to admit I smirked before reading a word when I saw the Men's Journal logo, but this is actually a great essay.
posted by brain_drain at 7:51 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


wendell: "You get old. Which is preferable to the alternative (most of the time)."

That's the thing, isn't it? I had a friend who was only a couple years older than me die suddenly in his sleep this spring. Made me stop complaining so much about being 45.
posted by octothorpe at 7:54 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


you get old. you spend your time posting to metafilter.
posted by msconduct at 7:55 AM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


So old age is just like a series of my days with migraines. Tell me more about this alternative I've heard so much about...
posted by phrontist at 8:00 AM on October 23, 2009


You used to wear $200 Tommy Bahama island shirts and $2,000 ostrich-skin cowboy boots when you went out. Your wife wore spandex minidresses and six-inch pumps. You looked like a successful drug smuggler with a high-priced hooker.

I haven't experienced this stage yet -- guess I'm still young!
posted by escabeche at 8:03 AM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


There's always suicide.
posted by dortmunder at 8:04 AM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


That's very well written, thanks for the post.

WAY too much of it is true for me.... and things that I thought I would never experience/become.

Time to ramp things up a bit before I fall deeper into that essay!
posted by HuronBob at 8:05 AM on October 23, 2009


Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Robert Johnson, John Keats, Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, Sid Vicious, River Phoenix, John Belushi, Hank Williams, Buddy Holly, and James Dean would beg to differ.
posted by xmutex at 8:08 AM on October 23, 2009


If you get old and Jordan's way doesn't work for you, you can always go to Bangkok. Great book about an alternative to the American way of aging.
posted by Xurando at 8:14 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


When I was younger I used to have a mantra that I would say when things were bad; "Time Passes". It was my way of reminding myself that no matter how bleak things seemed at that moment, there would come a point when it would just be a memory.

It seems trite, but it served as a great tool for getting me through some rough patches, but now, as I've gotten older and watched things around disappear, Time Passes seems less of a comforting concept and more of a veiled threat; "Time Passes, it slips through your fingers and one day you'll be left with nothing".

I hope that, as my grandparents have suggested, that at some point in the future, it will stop being a threat, and become a friendly promise; "Time will pass. And so will you, but then, so will everything else, so it's all okay".

But I'm not there yet, for now it remains a hostile concept.
posted by quin at 8:16 AM on October 23, 2009 [8 favorites]


If I could tell young people one thing it would be to completely and utterly abandon the notion of "cool". It is a socially constructed speed governor on life created by the people who wouldn't be able to keep up with you.

Old people learn this but sadly they are usually out of gas by the time they do.

So floor it you little fuckers and leave some tread marks on my lawn.
posted by srboisvert at 8:17 AM on October 23, 2009 [34 favorites]


I'm obviously in the minority here, but I found the writing to be really grating. Stereotypically male projectionist style, saying "you" constantly when he's referring to himself, gets really tiring really quickly. Plus, he must have been a real asshole when he was younger. YMMV, etc., but damn that was bad.
posted by yesster at 8:18 AM on October 23, 2009 [13 favorites]


You get old? Ray Kurzweil begs to differ.
posted by pwally at 8:19 AM on October 23, 2009


The thing that depresssed me abou this the most is that Pat gets to the gym and works out. I don't. He's got 20 years on me.

More shit to feel guilty about.

That getting tired between chores thing. Word, word, wordy, word, word. Maybe if I hit the gym....
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:21 AM on October 23, 2009


You Get Old.

YOU LIE!!!!!!
posted by blue_beetle at 8:22 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


That was beautiful. I am yet young and upon reading that, have resolved not to bitch about anything today.
posted by EatTheWeak at 8:23 AM on October 23, 2009


Youth is wasted on the young

I disagree. Can you imagine the elderly in their 20s? They'd be preserving their hips, and avoiding cholesterol, and investing in long term low risk ventures. Youth is perfect for the young. It gives you the chance to go overboard and lose everything and have a blast, and when you're done you've got the rest of your life to be sensible.

(But yes, I'm youngish, maybe in thirty years I'll rethink things...)
posted by twirlypen at 8:24 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


If I could tell young people one thing it would be to completely and utterly abandon the notion of "cool".

I'd be down with this, but the wearing-pajamas-in-public version of me will likely have trouble mating and reproducing.
posted by naju at 8:25 AM on October 23, 2009


Also, that version of me listens exclusively to Yanni and Jimmy Buffett, for some goddamn reason.
posted by naju at 8:27 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


That was well written. Thank you.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:29 AM on October 23, 2009


Yeah, gotta say, I'm with yesster on this one. He took the words out of my mouth.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:32 AM on October 23, 2009


You get old.

You forget to wear your underwear to breakfast and next thing you know you're on your stomach in the living room with handcuffs on 'cause some soccer mom saw your johnson.
posted by Pragmatica at 8:34 AM on October 23, 2009 [10 favorites]


As far as dogs go, old dogs are the best dogs.
posted by SteveInMaine at 8:34 AM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


I have to admit I smirked before reading a word when I saw the Men's Journal logo, but this is actually a great essay.

I found this essay via the current issue of Men's Journal that arrived in the mail for a guy who used to live in my house.

I've never read MJ before, but last night I decided to flip through it. The first ad is for some professional grade mountain climbing gear, the second ad for an expensive watch endorsed by a pro golfer, then a whiskey ad. The table of contents features pictures of a woman in a bikini (article on exploring Central America), a roast turkey (Picking the Perfect Turkey), a motorcycle (World's Most Deadly Race), and a big axe ("Axes put to the test. Plus: How to swing one like a pro"). This was not looking like my kind of magazine.

Then the letters to the editor section (after ads for cologne, power tools, and radar detectors) was full of praise for this article in a previous issue. Turns out it was a pretty good article when I looked it up online this morning.

So thanks, Men's Journal: I may skim you again.
posted by Paid In Full at 8:37 AM on October 23, 2009


You get old, people don’t notice you. You sit at a home, sipping your Jim Beam Black, neat now, no water, no ice and , then a pretty woman in her 40s sits next to you. You smile at her, say hi. She looks at you and bend her over your bar, and f**k your wife hard. And enjoy it. Old guys like the word "and" you know.
posted by Mblue at 8:38 AM on October 23, 2009


When you get old you can go looking for a bit of turmoil and trouble just for fun. When you are young they stalk you relentlessly.
posted by vapidave at 8:39 AM on October 23, 2009


You get old. Your prostate becomes like a bathtub drain with a 10-year hair ball. At first you wonder why you can't start peeing; then you wonder why you can't stop. Your medicine cabinet contains drugs like FLOmax and AvoDART. Your checkups have acronyms like PSA and HDL.

You used to be able to follow that seven mile hike with another eight today. Then you get old and it's two days later before your hips work again and you don't walk like Frankenstein's monster. Maybe it was that 20 pound pack you carried up and down that mountain that caused the surgery you had on both shoulders five years ago.

You get old. You work hard at exercise and healthy eating to finally drop that 10-12 pounds of padding you've had for the past ten years. What do you get for your effort? Now your face is gaunt and hollow and you look even older than you already were. At least the belt isn't propping up your belly anymore.

You get old. You find compassion. You find forgiveness. You find serenity and peace. Charity and volunteer enter your vocabulary. You're asked to share your experiences and offer hope. Yep. You get old. Not too shabby.
posted by netbros at 8:40 AM on October 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


You were handsome once, like a Greek god, with curly black locks and luxuriant chest hair.

Ha ha ha, YEAHHHH

SUCK IT, GRANDPA!
posted by Greg Nog at 8:42 AM on October 23, 2009


I'm disappointed that all of my experience with fruit won't be societally-acceptable for another couple decades.
posted by Ian.I.Am at 8:43 AM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I loved this. I don't know about it being only applicable to men, though I see my grandfather in it. Both he and my grandmother lived like this when I was young--taking great joy in small things. My grandfather walked the neighbor's dog every day, got the newspaper, collected change from the ground of the drive-through of the bank around the corner. My grandmother would go for long walks, paint (clowns, of all things!), hang out with us grandkids, flirt with her doctors.

I think they were a great example of old age. It always seemed to me to be so peaceful, an exhalation of what seems like years of worry (my grandfather was a workaholic when my mom was a kid--in family photos he's always asleep on the couch). Maybe it's weird, but I've always been excited about getting old.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:44 AM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I thought that was both corny and brilliantly skillful. Like Norman Rockwell, but casting a darker shadow.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:45 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Excellent article.
posted by Jofus at 8:47 AM on October 23, 2009


Does not apply to me. I am female.

Everyone gets old.

Thanks for the post; this was a good read.
posted by mitzyjalapeno at 8:53 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nothing drives home the fact that someday you will get old and die like having a baby, which is where I'm at in my head right now. Turning 30 in a few days isn't helping... my mind keeps replaying Captain Picard saying "For some time now, I've been aware that there are fewer days ahead than there are behind." I'm not there yet, but getting there. I don't think I should have read this, as sweet as the ending paragraph is. The rest is terribly depressing.

(Thinking about aging means one has not enough to do on a given day, right?)
posted by Never teh Bride at 8:53 AM on October 23, 2009


Also, you wear your trousers rolled.
posted by barrett caulk at 8:56 AM on October 23, 2009 [12 favorites]


You get old...you still need to pay bills...no one wants to hire old guys.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:57 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Damn it. I didn't need to see this on my birthday.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:58 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


In his case: you get old, you get boring.
posted by binturong at 9:05 AM on October 23, 2009


I am not old yet. 43. It's corny, but they said life begins at 40, and though I was a little late, it's true.

Gray hair. More gray this month than last month. Face is starting to look more like a road map.

Ah hell, what else can I say. You either know all this, or you'll be lucky, and find out. I used to look at really old people and think..."old people". Now I look at old people, and think..."Damn. That guy wants nothing more than to get drunk and get laid, but it's all he can do to shuffle into the goddamn pharmacy."

And that's if your lucky.
posted by Xoebe at 9:08 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Apparently the enemy of snark is sorrow for some future you fear as unavoidable. This is the weakness of MeFi. Too bad, because this seems like a cheap list of things the author fears and is now coming to embrace. Turning 45 really is daunting, dude.

You get old, your dogs get old too. It never dawned on you, when you got them, all six, one year after another, that they’d all get old, one year after another, and then die.

Apparently you never had dogs (or pets, for that matter) until you were already advanced in age. That, or your memory is going, too.

You used to wear $200 Tommy Bahama island shirts and $2,000 ostrich-skin cowboy boots when you went out. Your wife wore spandex minidresses and six-inch pumps. You looked like a successful drug smuggler with a high-priced hooker.

Apparently, this man is reveling in the excess of the 1980s. There isn't even some updated version of this that I strive to attain.

You get old, you realize order is freedom. You do your job more professionally, no longer on the fly. You get a magazine assignment — go down 1,500 feet into a coal mine in Virginia, climb a mountain in Haiti — and you prepare for it.

Wait, how old are you again? I thought you spent your days sending fruit to family and friends, preparing notes on when to enjoy key limes. Maybe if this section was at the beginning of Pat Jordan's article, it would have made sense chronologically, but where it was placed made it feel like an afterthought.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:13 AM on October 23, 2009


you get old, rock and roll gets too loud

52, ain't happened yet
posted by pyramid termite at 9:15 AM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


You get old, you start repeating yourself with every sentence.
posted by scrowdid at 9:21 AM on October 23, 2009


You get old, you start repeating yourself with every sentence.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:24 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


2 rolls of toilet paper a day??
posted by swift at 9:37 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


This essay is what all Judd Apatow movies are going to be like in 25 years.
posted by applemeat at 9:45 AM on October 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


I'm with the minority here; this guy sounds like he was a real dick when he was younger (and if he's worked for Men's Journal for 40 years, that probably explains it). Some of us are capable of empathy before turning 69. "When you were young, you cried only for yourself" my ass.
posted by Caduceus at 9:53 AM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Bullshit.

He isn't getting old, he is giving up. Sure, there are compromises with age, but you can go past them if you want to.

My great grandparents farmed into their nineties with almost no power equipment. Yeah, they got up at 5am, worked their asses off all day, then slept. I plan to be hiking biking and traveling till I drop fucking dead. This is not the hubris of the young, I have many gray hairs.

Fucking sitting around the burbs sipping scotch, my ass. Live your life until you can't anymore, not until you just don't quite feel living is worth the bother anymore.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 9:54 AM on October 23, 2009 [11 favorites]


2 rolls of toilet paper a day??

You get old, and you don't wanna know what happens to your toilet habits.
posted by dabitch at 9:57 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


This old man seems pretty unbearable. But his younger self sounds completely and totally goddamn unbearable.
posted by box at 10:07 AM on October 23, 2009


Ha.

Sorry to gloat, but ha.

You don't have to be old OR male OR a gimmicky writer to be happy and centered and sensible. If I have my blonde locks and firm skin and the ability to move house in a day at the same time, well, more's the pity I guess.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:08 AM on October 23, 2009


Also, he forgot "You wear the bottoms of your trousers rolled."
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:13 AM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


damn, barret caulk, I tip my old man hat to you, sir.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:15 AM on October 23, 2009


I found very, very little of that reasonated with me. Maybe I'm not old enough yet, or maybe I wasn't enough like the writer when I was young.
posted by Doohickie at 10:15 AM on October 23, 2009


Also with the minority here. Getting older is poignant, empowering, and bittersweet. But the thing that bugged me about this essay is the author's self-important tone, which managed to be both self pitying [How cruel that I can't bed hot, far-younger women anymore] as well as self congratulatory [Lookit how kind and patient I've become—even with my deficient, plum-colored help.] And, as Caduceus noted, the author's "revelations" seemed tardy and obvious...as if he alone had seized upon some rare profundity about getting older that those billions of humans before him somehow missed.
posted by applemeat at 10:24 AM on October 23, 2009


For any man who leads a vibrant, robust life, the realities of being so goddamned awesome are astounding. Check the life of this badass author in the prime of his fucking life.

I'm young, and life is huge. Not big and empty, but full of fucking fantastic shit. Let me drop some truth for you.

I'm young, and in any given suave jacket hanging in my primo penthouse suite, there will be a matchbook or three with digits scrawled inside, and maybe the mark of lusty red lips. Different numbers, different nights, all fucking fantastic.

I'm young, and old guys creep me out. Sitting in the bar at 4pm, sipping Jim Beam Black like it would preserve their rotten livers. Talk to them out of sympathy or to look nice for the ladies, and you're trapped in an eternal cock-block of misery and sorrow. Or I'm at the gym, and I ask “You sure that weight isn’t too heavy for you, sir?” The dude says "No, I'm cool, Mack," like I'm his best bud from some war or something. Get some real friends, old guy.

I'm young, and I'm the life of any fucking party. Fuck it, I AM the party. I step in and things are better because of me and my brilliant smile, my awesome life, and the badass tales I tell. Like the time I tore up the back yard in my vacation house, tossing out some heavy-duty paving and setting the stage for a sweet jacuzzi and tiki torches and a night of passionate love making. And that was a quiet weekend, followed by a week of crazy gonzo journalism, crawling down 1,500 feet into a coal mine in Virginia, and two days later I'm climbing a mountain in Haiti. It ain't nothing, that's just how hard I roll.

I'd tell you more, but I've got fucking places to be. Keep it real, from the Big P-I-M-P to all my bros and hos.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:26 AM on October 23, 2009 [8 favorites]


“You get old, you lose your anger. It takes too much energy to be angry when you’re old.”
Lawn defense anecdotes would bear otherwise.

“You get old, young guys don’t get pissed off anymore that you’re lifting heavier weight than they are on the preacher-curl bench. Now they say, “You sure that weight isn’t too heavy for you, sir?”

Well, you’d think so, but older folks if they keep it up can maintain and even build some serious muscle mass. Several older guys in our gym. One of them has white hair and one of those old-timey mustaches, he’s a tyrannosaur.
The Lapps used to herd sheep by running well into their 70s.

…Maybe it’s the military and the martial arts, but it seems all the old guys I know are bad asses.
Me, I can’t wait. Sit in the corner. Talk about old times raising all kinds of hell and – goddamn I lived through that when almost no one else did. Sit on a mat in the training hall. Make weird pronouncements on arcane elements of martial arts technique and whether it’s genius or it’s a senior moment, no one can say because DAMN that old dude is bad ass, forgotten more than you've learned most of your life and you give him respect and he'll teach you something.

I have several uncles like this. One of them has had multiple heart surgeries. Doctors kept telling him he can’t teach anymore, or if he does, he can’t train and spar. He said “Why not?” They told him, because he shouldn’t get his blood up too much and stress his heart. Two weeks he was released from the hospital I saw him floor a regional champion and not elevate his heart rate one beat. Fights now like you’d think an ancient master from a movie should. Moving slow, knocking you over like a floor lamp and there’s nothing you can do about it. Tells you afterward 10 different things wrong with your footwork, hips, and lateral movement and they all help.
Nothing wrong with not having died yet.
(Although I didn’t think I’d live as long as I have already. I still don’t think I’ll see next year. And yet, I’m still going. I should probably get a 401k or whatever those things are.)

Old folks rock. They know all kinds of things. And you can pull off dressing like a flamingo puked on you.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:30 AM on October 23, 2009 [7 favorites]


And here all this time I thought Smedleyman WAS old.
posted by applemeat at 10:34 AM on October 23, 2009


You get old, you buy the same shoes again and again.
posted by stargell at 10:35 AM on October 23, 2009


You get old, you keep your joie de vivre and objective eye, you continue to write beautifully, you can express things that resonate, yet you still need an editor.
posted by bearwife at 10:39 AM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't wanna get old like that.
posted by monospace at 10:48 AM on October 23, 2009


When I get old, I'd like to be a weight-lifting champ or at least show those club-hoppers some style.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:49 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


(But I'd still love to spend time with fruit trees and send detailed letters for consuming said fruits.)
posted by filthy light thief at 10:49 AM on October 23, 2009


You get old, you buy the same shoes again and again.

Shit man, I'm in my 20s and I already buy the same shoes again and again.
posted by Caduceus at 11:17 AM on October 23, 2009


too old, didn't read
posted by 23skidoo at 11:18 AM on October 23, 2009


"And here all this time I thought Smedleyman WAS old"
age ≠ mileage
posted by Smedleyman at 11:20 AM on October 23, 2009


DO
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 11:31 AM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


quin: When I was younger I used to have a mantra that I would say when things were bad; "Time Passes".

dortmunder: There's always suicide.

A freind was relating all her woes, and I said, "just remember, this too shall pass."
She said, "well, I think I just might want to pass with it."
She committed suicide a few days later.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:32 AM on October 23, 2009


Think it won't happen to you?
posted by Cranberry at 11:59 AM on October 23, 2009


Fewer words. But cleaner, you hope. More nuance, less obvious. Subtle, you like to think. Like your life.

Incorrect.
posted by Commander Rachek at 12:20 PM on October 23, 2009


You get old, you're no longer self-aware. You slurp your matzoh ball soup from a cold spoon. An unfolded paper napkin in your collar. A salty wet spot on your chin: portions of the broth miss their mark with each helping. Unformed snot glistens from your nostril; sometimes the left one, sometimes the right. Rarely both at the same time. You fart loudly but don't feel it, hear it, or smell it.
posted by jeremy b at 1:01 PM on October 23, 2009


I suppose the simple quotidian things of life make for a fluffy little essay, but I would have liked to see something deeper in an essay about old age.

Does old age bring wisdom? It does to some. Bitterness devours others.

The author said that life gets small when you get old. Well, for him, maybe. I notice he didn't mention the conditions other humans on the planet are experiencing. Environmental degradation, for one. You can think of others. I do, quite a bit.

And how can an old person write about age without contemplating his own demise? I know, I know, it's been done before, but so has complaining about losing one's hearing and memory.

I'm only 57 and haven't experienced any of this stuff yet, and when I do, I promise I won't write an article like this about it.

I'm just indulging is some amateur literary criticism here, not being snarky. It was a pleasant enough read; and most media revolves around things other than getting old. Old people tend to remind us of our ultimate destiny.

By the way, "abstemious" is an answer to the question: "What word uses all five vowels in alphabetical order?" See, I still remember trivia. Although I did lose my keys for a while yesterday...
posted by kozad at 1:27 PM on October 23, 2009


I wanted to hate some of his grating Tom Wolfe/Hunter S. Thompson stylings. The "luxuriant chest hair" and the ostrich-skin cowboy boots made me want to say "ew." Yet there were some good nuggets in there, snark aside. It wasn't all bad.

He isn't getting old, he is giving up. Sure, there are compromises with age, but you can go past them if you want to.

Not everybody can go past all compromises even if he or she wants to. It's not always a matter of merely wanting something to happen, and presto, it does happen. Nor is it always a matter of "giving up" if you don't have the power to force things to happen the way you envision them. The universe almost always has different plans.

Live your life until you can't anymore, not until you just don't quite feel living is worth the bother anymore.

Sometimes those two categories aren't mutually exclusive.

Apparently you never had dogs (or pets, for that matter) until you were already advanced in age. That, or your memory is going, too.

If you have or have had pets, you often have more than one occasion when you take for granted that they will be with you forever, despite the knowledge of the advancing years, whether you're old or not. I don't think I'm the only person who's fallen into that trap. It even happens with humans.
posted by blucevalo at 1:58 PM on October 23, 2009


Getting old isn't some kind of glory, anyway. It's a pretty randomly-assigned privilege.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:10 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Cram as much pleasure as you can into life and rail aganist the pain you have to suffer as a result.

Unfortunately, I feel somewhere in the middle.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 2:34 PM on October 23, 2009


wendell: "You get old. Which is preferable to the alternative (most of the time)."

That's the thing, isn't it? I had a friend who was only a couple years older than me die suddenly in his sleep this spring. Made me stop complaining so much about being 45.


I thought the alternative he was alluding to is you get younger. Even at 28, juvenescence is already becoming more of a daunting prospect than senescence. I cope with the thought of being 38, but 18? Hell no.
posted by Sova at 2:56 PM on October 23, 2009


You get old, you see your wife in her tight T-shirt with the words ‘It’s Not Pretty Being Easy’ scripted across her breasts, and you get an idea. But it’s only three o’clock in the afternoon, so you file it away for future reference

This past summer my husband was mowing the lawn in the backyard and I was getting changed in the back bedroom. I knocked on the window to get his attention and flashed him. He laughed and waved, I laughed and waved and thought no more about it. The next day however he confessed that he was feeling bad. In the past, if I had flashed him some naked flesh, he would have stopped immediately and come running to make mad passionate love to me on the floor. Instead, he thought about it momentarily but knew he better get the lawn done because several rainstorms were on their way and it would be too wet for days. Even though we made love later that afternoon, he missed the mad heedlessness of youth and being practical made him feel old.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:35 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Am I supposed to double-click on something with the mouse here?
posted by hellbient at 4:42 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


This doesn't apply to me since I am female, thank god. This article depressed me though. Thanks for getting my weekend off to a bummed out start! I blame you for this!
posted by Eclipsante at 4:56 PM on October 23, 2009


WHEN I AM AN OLD WOMAN I SHALL WEAR PURPLE
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.


--Jenny Joseph
posted by tzikeh at 5:51 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Life Is Long.
posted by granted at 6:18 PM on October 23, 2009


Bluecevalo:

I am not sure I get your point. Age has limitations but the don't hold you back near as much as the excuses that come with these challenges.

All that happens with age is the equipment gets creaky, that is it. the brain doesn't have to change at all. If you want to do something, you can work around creaky equipment. Look at what so many handicapped people that are far worse off than an able bodied 50 year old have accomplished.

This man isn't getting old in the body, he is getting old in the mind and blaming his body.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 8:06 PM on October 23, 2009


Er, his body is getting old, of course. Perhaps a better way to say that would be that His body is getting old, but his aging problem is in his attitude.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 8:11 PM on October 23, 2009


Not everybody can go past all compromises even if he or she wants to.

this is true, but one does have the choice of not writing a long lament excusing oneself for it
posted by pyramid termite at 9:05 PM on October 23, 2009


I hope that, as my grandparents have suggested, that at some point in the future, it will stop being a threat, and become a friendly promise; "Time will pass. And so will you, but then, so will everything else, so it's all okay".


quin, I agree with and appreciate their sentiment, but I also agree that it is phrased in such a way that it does seem like a hostile concept.
posted by aniola at 12:26 AM on October 24, 2009


I dunno about purple, but my plan is:

If widowed, hire escorts all the time, have them come over and watch SF movies with me, spook the neighbors.

Acquire lots of plastic lawn furniture, preserve it with plastic furniture covers.

Grow my hair long and straight and white and dye it a lot, pink of course, but other things too. Braid it around my hear a lot.

Learn cave diving.

Get elected to office.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:21 AM on October 24, 2009


Ambrosia Voyeur: If widowed, hire escorts all the time, have them come over and watch SF movies with me, spook the neighbors.

"Watch The Wrath Of Khan again? That's $50 extra, honey"
posted by BinaryApe at 1:09 PM on October 24, 2009


You forget to wear your underwear to breakfast and next thing you know you're on your stomach in the living room with handcuffs on

...and not in a good way.
posted by pompomtom at 11:04 PM on October 26, 2009


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