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Old 12-17-2004, 11:19 PM   #1
charlene
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Published December 17, 2004


The other morning I heard an ancient Gordon Lightfoot song on the radio.

"I'm on my second cup of coffee," sang that great '70s troubadour, "and I still can't face the day."

The song stopped me colder than yesterday's java. What? A second cup of coffee? When Lightfoot wrote that line, he was obviously a young man. Who past the age of 40 can metabolize two cups of caffeine before noon?

The song set me to thinking about how age whittles away at our habits and routines, at our tolerances and desires, the good as well as the bad. Little by little, you realize that just as there are things you may never get around to doing at all--writing that screenplay, learning Arabic, snowboarding--there are things you used to do but will probably never do again.

For example:

You'll never again drink a second cup of morning coffee. That first one leaves you twitchier than a live wire in a bathtub. A second one would shoot you to the moon and back and land you with a splat.

You will again drink a second glass of wine. But you know it's riskier than snowboarding. And you won't drink the second one nearly as reliably as you did before. The tax on the pleasure--a.k.a. the headache--is too high.

One of anything, you come to realize, is enough. Well. One of most things. A second scoop is still OK.

No more will you offer to drive people to the airport or to pick them up. You will make exceptions if (a) the person is debilitated or flat broke; (b) you want those final precious minutes of togetherness with someone you fear you'll never see again; (c) you are, even at your age, in the first deliriously self-sacrificing phases of being smitten; or (d) the person has recently offered to drive you. But the days of you or anyone you know routinely saying, "Let me take you to the airport" are as long-gone as your low-rider jeans.

You will never again wear anything that dips 3 inches below the navel and/or rises 8 inches above the knee. Soon that will include bathing suits.

Ditto for anything involving paisley.

You will never, ever, ever again take the red-eye flight.

And help a friend move, or even less likely, ask for help?

You will never again think naps are just for kids.

You will never again think that people who talk about joint inflammation are hypochondriacs or should just give up wheat. You won't even think they're old.

Never again will you make your own yogurt or grow your own sprouts. If you need to prove you're in touch with the Earth, you can drive to Whole Foods.

Absolutely never again will you sleep on the floor. You will remember fondly that a long, long time ago you were so happy to have a free place to stay that you'd bunk on concrete. Now you can hardly stand to be a guest on a sofa bed. You'd rather take an advance on next week's salary and pay for a decent hotel mattress.

And no, no, no. You are not backpacking through Europe or Guatemala anymore. You are not dreaming of backpacking anywhere anymore. Backpacking now sounds as romantic to you as back pain and dirty hair.

Will you ever again stay up all night? Not if you can help it. And staying awake all night is not the same as being awake all night. The first is called fun. The second is called insomnia. The first is a perk of youth, the second a curse of later age.

Fun. That's the key word here. It's not that as you get older you deny yourself fun. It's that the old fun stops being fun. As the numbers of your age change, you calculate fun differently.

Your range of comfort narrows and you must adapt your behavior to the squeeze. Fun now means being alert and robust. It means rationing your time thoughtfully. It means learning which pleasures wind up as pain.

You may, however, continue to dance, feel your heart flutter for reasons that are not purely medical, and in countless other ways behave as if you're still 29. Which on some days, if you stay away from mirrors and caffeine, you feel certain you still are.

And Gordon Lightfoot's probably drinking decaf now.
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Old 12-17-2004, 11:19 PM   #2
charlene
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Published December 17, 2004


The other morning I heard an ancient Gordon Lightfoot song on the radio.

"I'm on my second cup of coffee," sang that great '70s troubadour, "and I still can't face the day."

The song stopped me colder than yesterday's java. What? A second cup of coffee? When Lightfoot wrote that line, he was obviously a young man. Who past the age of 40 can metabolize two cups of caffeine before noon?

The song set me to thinking about how age whittles away at our habits and routines, at our tolerances and desires, the good as well as the bad. Little by little, you realize that just as there are things you may never get around to doing at all--writing that screenplay, learning Arabic, snowboarding--there are things you used to do but will probably never do again.

For example:

You'll never again drink a second cup of morning coffee. That first one leaves you twitchier than a live wire in a bathtub. A second one would shoot you to the moon and back and land you with a splat.

You will again drink a second glass of wine. But you know it's riskier than snowboarding. And you won't drink the second one nearly as reliably as you did before. The tax on the pleasure--a.k.a. the headache--is too high.

One of anything, you come to realize, is enough. Well. One of most things. A second scoop is still OK.

No more will you offer to drive people to the airport or to pick them up. You will make exceptions if (a) the person is debilitated or flat broke; (b) you want those final precious minutes of togetherness with someone you fear you'll never see again; (c) you are, even at your age, in the first deliriously self-sacrificing phases of being smitten; or (d) the person has recently offered to drive you. But the days of you or anyone you know routinely saying, "Let me take you to the airport" are as long-gone as your low-rider jeans.

You will never again wear anything that dips 3 inches below the navel and/or rises 8 inches above the knee. Soon that will include bathing suits.

Ditto for anything involving paisley.

You will never, ever, ever again take the red-eye flight.

And help a friend move, or even less likely, ask for help?

You will never again think naps are just for kids.

You will never again think that people who talk about joint inflammation are hypochondriacs or should just give up wheat. You won't even think they're old.

Never again will you make your own yogurt or grow your own sprouts. If you need to prove you're in touch with the Earth, you can drive to Whole Foods.

Absolutely never again will you sleep on the floor. You will remember fondly that a long, long time ago you were so happy to have a free place to stay that you'd bunk on concrete. Now you can hardly stand to be a guest on a sofa bed. You'd rather take an advance on next week's salary and pay for a decent hotel mattress.

And no, no, no. You are not backpacking through Europe or Guatemala anymore. You are not dreaming of backpacking anywhere anymore. Backpacking now sounds as romantic to you as back pain and dirty hair.

Will you ever again stay up all night? Not if you can help it. And staying awake all night is not the same as being awake all night. The first is called fun. The second is called insomnia. The first is a perk of youth, the second a curse of later age.

Fun. That's the key word here. It's not that as you get older you deny yourself fun. It's that the old fun stops being fun. As the numbers of your age change, you calculate fun differently.

Your range of comfort narrows and you must adapt your behavior to the squeeze. Fun now means being alert and robust. It means rationing your time thoughtfully. It means learning which pleasures wind up as pain.

You may, however, continue to dance, feel your heart flutter for reasons that are not purely medical, and in countless other ways behave as if you're still 29. Which on some days, if you stay away from mirrors and caffeine, you feel certain you still are.

And Gordon Lightfoot's probably drinking decaf now.
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Old 12-18-2004, 08:50 AM   #3
Auburn Annie
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LOL - so true, so true. Somebody should send a copy of this to him.
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Old 12-18-2004, 08:50 AM   #4
Auburn Annie
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LOL - so true, so true. Somebody should send a copy of this to him.
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Old 12-18-2004, 01:56 PM   #5
charlene
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me and Gord-drinkin' the decaf and avoiding mirrors!
lol
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Old 12-18-2004, 01:56 PM   #6
charlene
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me and Gord-drinkin' the decaf and avoiding mirrors!
lol
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Old 12-18-2004, 02:58 PM   #7
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Thank you. That was hysterical.

Unfortunately it's all so true.

I would add "Will never again be able to eat an entire Hershey bar in one sitting without dire consequences."

I have also now given up all illusions and simply buy the biggest box of antiacids they make. I love Mexican food, but it no longer loves me.

I'll just be hobbling back to my bed now for my late morning nap.

And I also seem to be rapidly loosing the ability to spell. Dementia may be setting in. Gods, how did Gordon survive his 40's? How does anyone? Please someone tell me it levels out in your 50's?

[This message has been edited by violet Blue Horse (edited December 18, 2004).]

[This message has been edited by violet Blue Horse (edited December 18, 2004).]
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Old 12-18-2004, 02:58 PM   #8
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Thank you. That was hysterical.

Unfortunately it's all so true.

I would add "Will never again be able to eat an entire Hershey bar in one sitting without dire consequences."

I have also now given up all illusions and simply buy the biggest box of antiacids they make. I love Mexican food, but it no longer loves me.

I'll just be hobbling back to my bed now for my late morning nap.

And I also seem to be rapidly loosing the ability to spell. Dementia may be setting in. Gods, how did Gordon survive his 40's? How does anyone? Please someone tell me it levels out in your 50's?

[This message has been edited by violet Blue Horse (edited December 18, 2004).]

[This message has been edited by violet Blue Horse (edited December 18, 2004).]
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Old 12-18-2004, 03:24 PM   #9
Auburn Annie
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Speaking from my early 50s (53 next month) ... harrumph ... er, where was I? Oh. Yes, well, I wouldn't exactly say levels out (though the hot flashes do decline and eventually fade away, heh heh). It's more like adjusting to what you have. Sort of like adolescence, in reverse.

There was article in this morning's paper that seems to apply. Quote:

"Sure enough, come Saturday night at The Oaks retirement home in DeWitt, there was Izzy out on the floor in front of his guests. Izzy pumping ten pound weights; Izzy standing from a chair using only leg power; Izzy dropping his drawers, then pulling them on from a standing position; Izzy rolling on the floor; Izzy dancing. The man knows how to throw a party. Izzy Warshaw is 103 years old."

Izzy, it seems, retired at age 70 but works out twice a week at the gym (he's working on developing an exercise video)and his favorite exercise at the home is to walk up the stairs as fast as he can. He never smoked cigarettes but acknowledges a cigar or two in his day, takes 2 baby aspirin a day, a vitamin supplement, and fish and garlic oil tablets. He keeps his mind active memorizing lists of names (state capitols etc.) backwards and forwards and dances whenever he hears music. There's a great pic of Izzy cutting a rug, right leg thrown hip-high in the air, with a young lady about 70 years his junior.

So remember when you have those aches and pains - keep active, and you, too, may be a high-stepping strutter in your 100s.

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Old 12-18-2004, 03:24 PM   #10
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Speaking from my early 50s (53 next month) ... harrumph ... er, where was I? Oh. Yes, well, I wouldn't exactly say levels out (though the hot flashes do decline and eventually fade away, heh heh). It's more like adjusting to what you have. Sort of like adolescence, in reverse.

There was article in this morning's paper that seems to apply. Quote:

"Sure enough, come Saturday night at The Oaks retirement home in DeWitt, there was Izzy out on the floor in front of his guests. Izzy pumping ten pound weights; Izzy standing from a chair using only leg power; Izzy dropping his drawers, then pulling them on from a standing position; Izzy rolling on the floor; Izzy dancing. The man knows how to throw a party. Izzy Warshaw is 103 years old."

Izzy, it seems, retired at age 70 but works out twice a week at the gym (he's working on developing an exercise video)and his favorite exercise at the home is to walk up the stairs as fast as he can. He never smoked cigarettes but acknowledges a cigar or two in his day, takes 2 baby aspirin a day, a vitamin supplement, and fish and garlic oil tablets. He keeps his mind active memorizing lists of names (state capitols etc.) backwards and forwards and dances whenever he hears music. There's a great pic of Izzy cutting a rug, right leg thrown hip-high in the air, with a young lady about 70 years his junior.

So remember when you have those aches and pains - keep active, and you, too, may be a high-stepping strutter in your 100s.

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Old 12-18-2004, 03:40 PM   #11
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"me and Gord-drinkin' the decaf and avoiding mirrors!"

As a lady of comparable age, Charlene, I'd disagree on the decaf. Usually start the day off with 2 large espressos. Re: the mirrors......only the full-length ones!
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Old 12-18-2004, 03:40 PM   #12
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"me and Gord-drinkin' the decaf and avoiding mirrors!"

As a lady of comparable age, Charlene, I'd disagree on the decaf. Usually start the day off with 2 large espressos. Re: the mirrors......only the full-length ones!
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Old 12-18-2004, 06:03 PM   #13
charlene
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maybe when I find a reason to stay up all night I'll drink the espresso again!
lol

char
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Old 12-18-2004, 06:03 PM   #14
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maybe when I find a reason to stay up all night I'll drink the espresso again!
lol

char
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Old 12-18-2004, 07:39 PM   #15
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Don't tell me you can still handle the department store dressing room full length mirror experience? Ya know, the one with the hedious florescent lighting. I've recently discovered that it's difficult, but not impossible to shop for clothes and never go into a dressing room.

quote:Originally posted by Cheryl:


As a lady of comparable age, Charlene, I'd disagree on the decaf. Usually start the day off with 2 large espressos. Re: the mirrors......only the full-length ones!


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Old 12-18-2004, 07:39 PM   #16
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Don't tell me you can still handle the department store dressing room full length mirror experience? Ya know, the one with the hedious florescent lighting. I've recently discovered that it's difficult, but not impossible to shop for clothes and never go into a dressing room.

quote:Originally posted by Cheryl:


As a lady of comparable age, Charlene, I'd disagree on the decaf. Usually start the day off with 2 large espressos. Re: the mirrors......only the full-length ones!


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Old 12-18-2004, 08:03 PM   #17
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We are a decaf household (tea, not coffee) as my husband cannot tolerate even small amounts. That said, when he's not home I tank up on the real stuff. It doesn't bother me - I grew up with an Irish grandmother and we could kill a couple of pots between us at lunch; also, my late in-laws were English Canadian. We went through a LOT of tea when they visited.

My husband and I joked when we were first married that HIS idea of tea was steeping it strong enough for the spoon to stand up on its own in the cup, and that MY idea of brewing was to wave a teabag in the general direction of hot water. We have long since compromised (his and her pots for the caffeine-free and full-leaded varieties) so everybody's happy.

As for mirrors, my sympathies lie with Dracula - he can't see his reflection, and I won't. And the shopping gene missed me entirely; I have never had much interest in the hunt. On the other hand I have sisters who could cut a swath across two states going from mall to mall in search of who knows what and have a grand time doing it. For me it's sensory overload and can make me physically ill.

Can't say I nap, though. The few times I've been down my family knows I'm ill and not to be disturbed. I usually only sleep 4-5 hours a night, and always have. And I dream almost every night, weird and wonderful stuff.
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Old 12-18-2004, 08:03 PM   #18
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We are a decaf household (tea, not coffee) as my husband cannot tolerate even small amounts. That said, when he's not home I tank up on the real stuff. It doesn't bother me - I grew up with an Irish grandmother and we could kill a couple of pots between us at lunch; also, my late in-laws were English Canadian. We went through a LOT of tea when they visited.

My husband and I joked when we were first married that HIS idea of tea was steeping it strong enough for the spoon to stand up on its own in the cup, and that MY idea of brewing was to wave a teabag in the general direction of hot water. We have long since compromised (his and her pots for the caffeine-free and full-leaded varieties) so everybody's happy.

As for mirrors, my sympathies lie with Dracula - he can't see his reflection, and I won't. And the shopping gene missed me entirely; I have never had much interest in the hunt. On the other hand I have sisters who could cut a swath across two states going from mall to mall in search of who knows what and have a grand time doing it. For me it's sensory overload and can make me physically ill.

Can't say I nap, though. The few times I've been down my family knows I'm ill and not to be disturbed. I usually only sleep 4-5 hours a night, and always have. And I dream almost every night, weird and wonderful stuff.
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Old 12-18-2004, 10:37 PM   #19
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Annie, I sleep like that, too. If I sleep over 6 hours per night I have nightmares. I usually go to bed around midnight and I'm wide awake by 6AM. On the weekends, when I don't have to go to work, I get lazy and watch the news in bed.
Every now and then it catches up to me though, and I sleep in until 8:00 or 9:00, but not often.

Cathy http://www.cathycowette.com

[This message has been edited by Cathy (edited December 19, 2004).]
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Old 12-18-2004, 11:07 PM   #20
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I slept in today (I won't tell you until what time) and I had a nightmare (I always do when I sleep in REALLY late) - it was that I lost my GL concert tickets!! I was SO relieved when I woke up! Hopped right out of bed.. o.k., so I shuffled was more like it... too much sleep, stiff.. you get the picture...
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Old 12-18-2004, 11:07 PM   #21
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I slept in today (I won't tell you until what time) and I had a nightmare (I always do when I sleep in REALLY late) - it was that I lost my GL concert tickets!! I was SO relieved when I woke up! Hopped right out of bed.. o.k., so I shuffled was more like it... too much sleep, stiff.. you get the picture...
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Old 12-19-2004, 11:42 AM   #22
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"Don't tell me you can still handle the department store dressing room full length mirror experience? Ya know, the one with the hedious florescent lighting. I've recently discovered that it's difficult, but not impossible to shop for clothes and never go into a dressing room."
______________________________
Hell no, Violet! I meant I AVOID the full-lenth mirrors. Heh!

Here's to strong coffee, though. And here's to Gordon and his female fans [poor guy!]. May we all live long and prosper!

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Old 12-19-2004, 11:42 AM   #23
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"Don't tell me you can still handle the department store dressing room full length mirror experience? Ya know, the one with the hedious florescent lighting. I've recently discovered that it's difficult, but not impossible to shop for clothes and never go into a dressing room."
______________________________
Hell no, Violet! I meant I AVOID the full-lenth mirrors. Heh!

Here's to strong coffee, though. And here's to Gordon and his female fans [poor guy!]. May we all live long and prosper!

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