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Old age comes with benefits

The subject of age, or to put it more correctly, old age, has been on my mind for some time. Years ago, I was told there were three signs that you are getting old.

The subject of age, or to put it more correctly, old age, has been on my mind for some time. Years ago, I was told there were three signs that you are getting old. The first one was loss of memory, but I don’t recall what the other two signs were. I spoke to my doctor regarding what I could do to stall the onset of old age and he recommended the usual — lose weight, stop smoking, get plenty of sleep and exercise regularly.

With all due respect to the medical profession, I’ve got to tell you that at my age, the only thing I care to exercise is caution. His advice to get more sleep is probably a good suggestion because old age occurs when it takes more time to rest than it takes to get tired.

Of course, getting old is far better than the alternative, but old age is not without its problems and there are some cruel ironies that occur as one ages. Statistics show that when a man reaches the age of 70, there are five women for every man. As one who has struggled in the romantic category for all my life, it’s a bitter pill to swallow when you discover the odds are now in your favour, but you’re too old to care any more.

In fairness, though, there are some perks that one receives when he or she enters the old age club. For example, as one who has spent a lifetime throwing out devices and equipment that no longer works, it is comforting to realize that anything I buy now is likely to keep working long after I have already stopped. The same can be said for many of our senses. When you hit old age, for example, it’s unlikely that your eyes can get much worse and while your hearing does fail, with all the babbling idiots in this world, poor hearing can be a real godsend. In addition, crime and emergencies are no longer the stressful events they were when we were younger.

I would point out to you that it’s highly unlikely that anyone is going to want to kidnap you, and if you do accidently find yourself in a hostage situation, you are likely going to be one of the very first people released unharmed. I would remind you that no one expects you to run back into a burning building, or pursue the bandits who just stole the fire truck.

While all of the above benefits are welcome, there are two huge benefits that I feel are the most important, yet seldom get mentioned. Since you asked, I’ll tell you. The first huge benefit of old age occurs when you realize that your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable level. No more “billions and billions” of these critters to manage, you’re down to the double-digit section. Even better is huge benefit number two — once you hit old age, there is nothing left to learn the hard way. In fact, if one lives long enough, there may be nothing left to learn, period.

For us writers, there is one final and wonderful fact — you no longer need to worry about writing articles or columns. Of course, you continue to write columns, but now you no longer remember anything you’ve written.

(Brian McLeod is so old, his Social Insurance Number is 4).

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