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Thursday, 22 March 2001

A Humorous Look At Aging Growing Older and Growing Better

Written by  Dvora Waysman

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They say that old age is always 15 years older than you are.

I can remember when the truth of this hit home most forcibly. When I was a young mother with four small children, 16-year-old Lucy used to come after school occasionally to baby-sit for me. One day I returned from shopping and she told me I'd had a caller, but she didn't remember her name.

"What did she look like?" I asked.

Lucy thought for a minute and said helpfully: "Well, she was really old."

"How old?"

"Oh she must have been at least 30!"

By now, Lucy would be over 50 herself ... I wonder if she still remembers that conversation.

* * *

There's a famous advertisement in the glossy magazines promoting a face cream. The gorgeous slim model says: "I don't intend to grow old gracefully. I'll fight it every inch of the way." Sometimes you get tired of fighting and decide to let nature take its course. For instance, about ten years ago I stopped coloring my hair, and quite enjoy having it silver-white. My hairdresser was dismayed, no doubt due to a loss of revenue. He never stops trying to persuade me to change my mind.

"I think I look distinguished," I argue.

"No my dear" he said, sighing heavily, "You merely look extinguished."

* * *

Be that as it may, we can't escape being "golden agers." It's a silly euphemism for growing older. Maybe it refers to the golden handshake or the obligatory gold watch they give you when it's time to retire. Being able to laugh at yourself is the best remedy, like jogging on the inside.

* * *

One of the things naturally we get concerned about as we get older is our health. Some of us go to our doctor's clinic so often that if we don't turn up one day, the nurse says, "We were worried about you. You didn't come on Wednesday. Were you sick?"

* * *

One old-timer was told by his doctor that he had two problems.

"What's the first?"

"Well I'm sorry to say your memory is so bad that you're really senile."

"And the second?"

"You have diabetes."

The old guy thought for a moment and then said brightly: "Just as long as I'm not senile."

* * *

Sometimes my mind not only wanders. It leaves me completely. I have this little trick when I meet someone whose name I've forgotten. "Now you are..?

"Mary."

"Of course I know you're Mary It's your second name I've forgotten." Or vice versa.

It works fine unless Mary happens to be your daughter.

* * *

It was George Bernard Shaw who wrote that youth was such a wonderful thing it was a shame to waste it on the young. As we get older, we think that life's experiences have taught us all the answers. The only problem is that now nobody bothers to ask us the questions. As a result, we sometimes like to make our children feel guilty. Like the son who called his mother:

"Hi Ma. How are you?"

"Not so good. I haven't eaten for 27 days, so I'm very weak."

"Good heavens, that's terrible. Why not?"

"I didn't want to have my mouth full of food if you should happen to call me."

* * *

Although it's true that I've been young and I've been old, and young is often better, there are some compensations. We all know that growing old is much better than the alternative.

* * *

I've often thought that if I had the time, money and courage, it would be great to have a face-lift. But you know what? The quickest and most inexpensive face-lift is just to smile. It draws your features upwards and emits warmth and happiness.

Last modified on Thursday, 09 June 2011 10:01
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Dvora Waysman

Dvora Waysman

Dvora Waysman was born in Melbourne, Australia. She has four children and many beautiful grandchildren. She lives in Jerusalem and is the author of more than ten books, including Esther, The Pomegranate Pendant (which has been made into a film), Seeds of the Pomegranate and In a Good Pasture. She was the recipient of the "For Jerusalem" citation for her fiction, poems and features about the city; and the Seff Award for Best Foreign Correspondent.

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