My husband, John Cullum, a legendary performer, is currently being offered jobs for dying grandpas, and great-grandpas with Alzheimer's. His age is more or less known, and producers feel if you're over sixty, you are old. J.C. would probably get more jobs if he gained 20 pounds and walked with a cane.
Picasso's haunted, sad-faced self-portrait of his older self is on the left. There are wonderful words about age in Shakespeare's plays. In all the arts, and in life, words like birds flitting around, and a-million/a-thousand new, true, cure-you things, are infecting people with AGE-ITIS.
It's what every one gets, sooner or later, before or after a birthday. Here's what I suggest -- little and big things you can do -- NOT to get it.
Starting now, keep away from ANY food, food supplements, pills, talk shows, advisers, therapists, knowledgeable friends, counselors, TV doctors, real doctors -- keep away from humans who say, "At your age you should... you shouldn't..."
ALSO, keep away from "I should be earning a good living." That's deadly. Also historical summaries: At age (?), others in my field were already established. Beware of "a person my age shouldn't wear..." Beware of "a person my age can't..."
If you're trying to sell a book, play, painting, style, a concept -- if you're trying to land a job, go to college, learn a new language, craft, skill, technology, do not think about age. Do not wonder if anyone else has tried, at your age -- to become a famous, successful, income-producing whatever... Just do it!
Watch out for age-cliches, age-rationales, age as a factor. NEVER think at my age I need a flu shot, special vitamins, must keep my weight down, exercise, walk, jog. It's okay to be aware of bladder control, but "why do I forget things, why didn't I hear that" -- THAT will get you to conclusions about how often you need to see the doctor, the dentist, the optometrist. See doctors if, or when you absolutely need to.
Also, if you're registering or joining something that asks your age, lop off a large chunk of years. If you can't lie, then skip joining whatever it is.
The World Science Foundation recently said "Age 90 Is the new 50.” I don't think 90 is the new anything, but if age 90 IS the number that says you are old, think of Betty White, and Warren Buffet, and if you're actually approaching the 80 number, don't utter, mutter, or murmur it to anyone, including yourself.
So what about celebrating your birthday? I suggest DO NOT. If you get birthday cards, get the return addresses from the envelope, and throw the cards out. You can't stop people from saying "happy birthday," but a bunch of people singing "Hap -py B i rth- day To Y O U" should be studiously avoided.
Aging is easier if you do the things I've mentioned above, carefully, discreetly, and gracefully. If you can't lie, or avoid your loved ones, well... you will age a little (not a lot), if you wisely, carefully, cautiously keep eyes and ears open, and steer clear of the pitfalls listed above.
Am I worried about age? Well....
Not really. I just worry about getting AGE-ITIS.
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