REALITY CHECK: You’re only as old as it says you are on your driver’s license

Reality Check | Mike Taylor

I’m basically a non-violent guy; a child of the sixties who grew up in the age of Aquarius with the smug assurance that peace, love and understanding would eventually prevail over mankind’s baser instincts.

But as God is my witness, I intend to smack silly the next person who makes any of the following statements:

• Age is just a number.

• Sixty is the new 40.

• You’re only as old as you feel.

• Happy birthday.

That’s right. Today is my birthday. I’m not 60 yet, but I will be in three years. Three years from today, in fact.

As a soon-to-be geezer, I can tell you one thing for certain: Age is not “just a number.” Age is a series of numbers, strung relentlessly end-to-end over the course of years, 57 in my case, each number 365 days larger than the one preceding it.

The bigger the number, the older you are. That’s the way it works and nobody’s fooling anybody by pretending things are any different.

Fortunately (!!!blatant sexist remark alert!!!), I’m a man. Because I’m a man, it matters less that I’m older than dirt. Don’t ask me why; I did not make up the rules, but I refuse to pretend they don’t exist.

Women are expected to stay young and beautiful forever. Men, on the other hand, are allowed to get wrinkly, bald, gray … hell, they can even start smelling bad, yet still be considered attractive and desirable.

It isn’t fair, not by a long shot. But since I’m a man, and a selfish, narcissistic one at that, I will not complain about it here.

Even with the gender advantage, however, getting older is not something I would do were I given another option. An option other than death, I mean.

If I could buy a pill that would keep me forever young, I’d be at the pharmacy right now picking up my prescription rather than here at the office writing this column.

Oh, I don’t mind aging; at least not so far. I can still ride my bicycle 50 miles without breaking a sweat, I take stairs two at a time, I even have as much hair now as I did on my 18th birthday; more, if you count the carpet growing on my back.

So things could be worse.

I don’t FEEL old. I don’t even LOOK particularly old, at least I don’t think I do. It’s impossible to be objective about stuff like that. If I DO look old, nobody tell me, please. I’m perfectly happy living in my little delusional universe and no infusion of pesky reality is going to make me any happier.

Still, it’s only a matter of time. Time’s inexorable march will eventually catch up with me. In due course, I’ll be not only older, but old. And there’s nothing I can do about it.

I could jog, I suppose, or eat salads instead of triple bacon burgers, but even then I’d only be postponing the inevitable. And at the end of it all, I still die.

It hardly seems worth the bother.

Even with all the medical and technological breakthroughs that continually come our way, it’s still likely my life is at least half over. But if the second half turns out to be anywhere near as wonderful as the first has been, I got nothin’ to complain about.

Besides, you’re only as old as you feel, and I hear 60 is the new 40.

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