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There are no rules for growing older

November 9, 2012
James P. Whipple , Shepherdstown Chronicle

Thoughts on turning seventy...well, old age is knocking at the door. There was my life before seventy and my life after.

Where has all the time gone? It seems just like yesterday that I started the first grade. Why, just the other day I started boot camp. Each summer I played baseball, in the fall I played football. I tried my hand at boxing, though my nose wouldn't take it. I had several interesting jobs throughout my life. Through it all I had one marriage and several close girl friends. Through it all I had several good friends some of whom are no longer with us. Some died in Nam; I miss them the most.

I don't quit know what I'm trying to say but in some ways I think I am talking about the mysteries of life. Of course it was Mark Twain who said "Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind it doesn't matter." But does it matter? Somehow I think it does, but I am not sure how..

I have a new title I'm know as "that old curmudgeon." Now for those of you that are much younger, Webster's Dictionary says that curmudgeon means "old-fashioned: a person (especially an old man) who is easily annoyed or angered and who often complains." The kids definition is more blunt: " A grumpy and usually old man." That one really makes me feel good.

I've read a few online articles on getting older. Then I remembered a quote from an old Roman statesman, Marcus Tullius Cicero.

He says, "Advise in old age is foolish; what can be more absurd then to increase our provisions for the road the nearer we approach to our journeys end." I think what old Cicero meant was that the key to enjoying getting older is already in us.

When I think about it, I have friends that are older then I am and they seem to live life to the fullest. Maurice Chevalier, an old French song and dance man, has it right when he says " A comfortable old age is the reward of a well-spent youth. Instead of its bringing sad and melancholy prospects of decay, it would give us hopes of eternal youth in a better world."

I still enjoy life. I try and stay busy and I try to do something every day even if it's just a walk around the block. Francis Bacon says out loud what I feel inside. That is, "I will never be an old man. To me old age is always 15 years older then I am."

Thanks for letting me bend your ear on growing older. Somehow it has made me feel a little better about being 70. Thanks to all of you that over the years have read my columns and have stopped me on the street to say how much you enjoy them.

In closing, I quote Confucius. I know what you're thinking, who reads Confucius? I found this quote and I thought it said a lot about getting older. "Old age believe me, is a good and pleasant thing. It is true that you are gently shouldered off the stage, but then you are given such a comfortable front stall as spectator."

The only thing I would say to that is don't let them shove you off the stage too quickly; there is a lot of life to live.

 
 

 

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