Day 11. Aging. Disgracefully?

Okay.  Someone has to say it out loud.  Paul McCartney cannot sing any more.  Watching him perform (?) during the Opening Ceremonies at London 2012 was excruciating.  He sang (so to speak) somewhere else recently.  Again it was painful.  And embarrassing.  For him, for God sake!  Is this how he wants to be remembered?  Barely able to croak out a song?  Off key?  He has had a brilliant career.  He is worth millions and millions.  It’s time to pass the microphone.  Really.

I can imagine (no pun intended) how difficult it must be when that realization finally sets in.  “Yes, it’s true.  I have lost my voice.”  Whether it’s because of age, illness, booze, cigarettes, drugs, pollution, dust, damaged vocal cords or the Universe being cruel, one fact remains:  His singing career is over.

Do something else.  He can still be productive.  Start a record label.  Discover and develop talent.  Write a book.  Produce musicals.  Become an entrepreneur.  Travel simply for pleasure.  Relax, spend money and have fun with that new, young wife.

Just please, exit gracefully.

When food is past its prime we toss it without a second thought.  But we are reluctant to face this same reality about ourselves.  We hang on to relationships that are really over, and have been over for years.  We say it’s for the children.  Does anyone really believe that it’s better for kids to live in an environment where their parents argue, slam doors, cry, ignore each other, cheat, lie and settle for less than any of them deserve?

We cling to hope when there is none and insist on keeping loved ones plugged into respirators long after they are brain dead.  We tell ourselves it’s because we love them so much, and because we’re not God, and only God can decide when our time is up.  Unplug the respirator and see how long it takes God to make that decision. We do it because we fear death.  We do it because we don’t want to say good-bye.  We do it because we don’t want to be left behind.  We do it because we’re human; but even so, it doesn’t make it right.  Or humane.

In an effort to hang on to our youth we often seem to lose our judgement.

On those occasions when I see men in their 60’s and 70’s, with one arm around a young woman half their age and the other pushing a baby carriage I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.  I guess it never occurred to them that by the time their little bundle of joy stops wearing diapers, they’ll start wearing them.  When I see women in their 60’s and 70’s wearing skin tight tank tops and mini skirts I cringe.  Regardless of how great their bodies are, it’s inappropriate.  When I see women — and men, for that matter — who’ve had so many facelifts and so many Botox injections it looks like their faces have been carved out of wood, I’d like to see their plastic surgeons lose their licenses to practice medicine.

It doesn’t make you look younger.  It accentuates how old you really are.  I’m all for defying age.  Aging doesn’t mean you have to get ‘old’.

My mother died at 84.  No one ever believed her age.  She looked at least ten years younger.  She never had plastic surgery.  She never had Botox.  She did get up every morning, regardless of how she was feeling, and put on a full face of make up.  Her hair was grey, but very stylishly cut.  And she went to the hairdresser once a week, every week — rain or shine, sick or not.  She dressed appropriately, but very fashionably.  But what really made her young was her spirit and her zest for life.

‘Old’ seems to be a four-letter word, even as it relates to buildings — at least in Toronto, where I live.  Here they tear down old buildings without a second thought; and replace them with glass and steel towers.  There are historic buildings, with important pasts and fascinating stories, that are gone.  Old, beautiful buildings that should be valued.  Taken care of.  Restored.  But instead they’re reduced to piles of rubble and hauled off to a dump.  Tragic.  Criminal, really.

A disgrace.

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