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Aging Like Cheese and Scotch

Studies are producing a rosier portrait of life after retirement.

Stinky cheese, Scotch, some wine and my old shed all seem to improve with age.

Well, maybe; let’s take a look at each.

Scotch

Scotch?!? Who can stick the taste of Scotch anyhow? Winston Churchill and Humphrey Bogart dubbed it their drink of choice. James Bond always makes it seem debonair; but for me, it’s like siphoning gasoline.

Yet, before it can graduate from just plain ol’ whisky, into “Scotch Whisky” it must be aged at least 3 years and a day. But the whole idea of hanging out in a oak cask for countless years sounds more like a simile for death, and not life. So, I’ll hold on loosely to the scotch; albeit without drinking it.

As for wine, unless you have a wine cellar that is kept at a constant 55*F, there are no guarantees that your wine is getting better with age, so I don’t know about that metaphor now either! Hmmmph! And somehow, my husband doesn’t find a patina look on the shed to be as endearing as I.

Some want to keep things looking like they did in the flower of their youth; whereas others like to see character. My fellah even talks about putting siding on the aould boards to avoid the cracking paint and weathered look. There is an acute metaphor there somewhere.

Cheese

But, what if… just what if; stinky cheese is THE metaphor of life. Sure, Velveeta smells ok; easy to mass produce and seems to be hip, cool and easy to slice with a piano wire -- and yet, isn’t it just a bit unrefined, facile and good for only the most pedestrian of dishes? Now, a round of Gorgonzola takes 3-4 months to age. Rods have to be inserted to allow air and bacteria [penicillium roquefort] to infiltrate the entire cheese [sounds like hip surgery].

And just about when it smells like a mouldy old sock, it has reached its moment of tenor. Such is life. Stinky cheese and old barns? Maybe…

Fashion

No more fashion police when you‘re older. No longer must you prance around in your stilettos and tight jeans. 

Is it folly or perseverance to continue to follow fashion as we age? I say, stay in the game, stay in shape; but hold loosely and realize what is vanity and what is just good fun. Of course if you want any sympathy or catch a new fancy’s eye,  you’ll have to limp occasionally or put on the hot-pants so that the fellers are motivated to catch up or come to your aid. 

Grumpiness

According to the Stanford Center on Longevity in CA, it turns out, most grumpy old people used to be grumpy young people.  Aging doesn’t turn a cheerful person into a grouch. To the contrary, research has shown that, as we age, we become more emotionally stable and content. 

In early adulthood, there are a lot of what-if’s. Am I going to find a soul mate?  Have a child?  Build a rewarding career?  Then you spend the next few decades striving to achieve those goals.  But when you’re older, the what-ifs have, often, been resolved or dissolved  So you are less stressed and can finally — relax.  You are free to be grumpy though — keeps scalliwags off your back. Even so, there is an illusion that, as we age, folks can get away with more. But maybe we just worry less about burning bridges.

On one hand, being neurotic and in need of everyone’s love IS very exhausting… BUT, burn too many bridges and you’ll REALLY be grumpy. So, I don’t want to shoe TOO many scalliwags away, as that is one of the most haunting parts of old age [being alone].

That being said, there is something to be said about growing more comfortable with just being with your ol’ self. It is a crap shoot as to which is hardest to spend 5 minutes with at a party; the bubbly young blue-blood wannabe with a neck that scans the party, while texting and just seems to “love” everyone in ginned up synthetic prattle — as she laughs at everything you say OR the crusty old divil that just wants to cut to the chase, “when is dinner being served, are they serving gravy with the broccoli…  and who the hell are YOU!?” 

Do you ‘get-it’?

Presidents, judges, principals, saints and scholars are all middle-aged to older.  Our brains have been building up connections, we are better problem-solvers and ’get it’.  They say we reach our cognitive peak between 40 and 68.  All the more reason we usually make wiser choices when we are older. 

So, if you get a good whack over the shoulders with a walking stick by an elderly lady …don’t question it, you probably deserved it [unless she’s 69 — then you better ask for clarification].

Pow-wows

The elderly’s  window on the world is something to pow-wow with.  While we are discovering just how complex life really is…our elders have seen most of it, lived much of it, and felt so very much more.

With 130 million babies born per year, don’t think of the elders as crumbly old crones. We need to know what they have learned.

As can be gathered from talking with many young folks these day; most of their frames of reference come solely from video games, Hollywood and their prepubescent buddies. So be quiet and let the elderly talk [unless they’re obviously a blow-hard inebriate]. 

But in our text message, email, TV and internet at the dinner table era — our venerable sages may very well often keep their secrets safe within. And with most of today’s “stories” coming from TV and multimedia, some of our elderly never mastered the fine art of story telling. The youth  overlook those with the most stories / insight — and some seniors have also not honed their talents of telling the tale; after years of mind numbing Barnaby Jones, Three’s Company and Love Boat?

New neurons

Over the past few years, researchers have found that the brain is capable of creating new connections and even new neurons all through life.  Working memory and the ability to quickly solve math problems does deteriorate somewhat; but studies have shown that a lifetime of cognitive engagement DOES reduce levels of beta-amyloid — which has been identified as a likely cause to Alzheimer's disease. So keep the mind in shape [and maybe watching another season of The Bachelorette should have the kibosh placed upon it].

Serenity Now?

Heck no! Studies don’t portray old age as a time of abdication or even sleepy placidity. 

It can, and should, be a period of continued and maybe even robust / focused development. So, look forward to embracing ripening gracefully — and practice your ability to tell intriguing tales.Even in this age, children [especially] still cherish a spellbinder, a bard, a wizened shaman telling enchanting tales of times long ago.

We all want to age well and find a way to still be a productive servant to those in need. And we‘re all in need at times... 

“But if you put that damn gravy on my broccoli, you can go to hell young whip’ snap! By heck, this young generation! In MY day… hmmph!”  

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Eduardo Como Emprender June 23, 2012 at 02:43 PM
The indecision is our worst enemy when we´ll really want to get succeed. But the indecision can get out if we really followed our instincts and the voice of our heart. Are you think so? <a href="http://comoemprender-comoinvertir.blogspot.com/2012/06/la-indecision-y-la-voz-de-tu-corazon.html ">La indecision y la voz de tu corazon</a>

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