Recently I've been faced with a lot of questions about mortality. Just seems to be a constant issue in which all endings are bleak. Think about it, this little journey we're all on. The young years, all of which you are in who would be reading this, are great. Everything is new, we have dreams for the future and ideas of how we want our lives to turn out. Does anyone really think past 55 or 60? I mean, once you've risen to the top and you've gracefully bowed out of your professional life? You might still have another 40 years ahead of you, have you ever thought about that? What are you going to do with them? I mean, in your young years you're completely consumed with finding a partner, finishing school, getting that perfect career, raising a family, and achieving personal greatness. Then what? Your kids are all grown up, you're forced into retirement, and all you have to look forward to is your next sugar-free jello cup and death. Death is the next step after all...
Basically once you hit that ripe age where your contribution to society stops, all you have left is Matlock and water aerobics. It's like you're just hanging around until one of your vital organs quits and you never have to worry about bending over to tighten up one of those velcro shoes. Sure, you might get suckered into watching the grandkids every now and then but no one takes you seriously. Think about it. How many times have you blown off the wisdom of an old man or just smiled and nodded as grandma tells you stories of the great depression? Or maybe it was Gone With The Wind with a hint of The Wizard of Oz? Doesn't matter, "she's old" you tell yourself.
Then you have the group who say "the golden years are the best years, that's why they're golden". No, they're golden because your teeth, toenails, and cholesterol pills are yellow. No matter who you are, your hair is going to start failing out, your eyesight is going to fail, your skin is going to sag, and your love for pudding will grow. Chances are, at least in our society, you'll wind up in a nice little home with a bunch of strangers and insolent nurses who forget to bring you that cholesterol pill which you for some reason want so desperately so you can cling on to your existence for a few more months.
So what are your alternatives? You could die early. I mean, you could not waste time with professional success or the family thing. That would kind of make your young years pointless though, wouldn't it? You can't plan an early death, maybe that's the trouble. It just sort of happens. Often times it happens to those who don't want to die early, robbing them of the joy of finally understanding The Bill Cosby Show. Nope, can't plan an early death. You can't plan a midlife death either. It's unfortunate that you can't say "well, I'm as far as I'm going to make it in my career, the kids have finally stopped leeching off me and I really don't feel like catching 60 Minutes next week. Let's do this." You can, however, plan your feeble bedridden death. You'll have plenty of time to make casket arrangements, explicitly tell those who will still listen to you where you want your ass planted, and divvy up that precious stamp collection in your will. An old death is a looming death. You've already lived and all you have left to think about is dying.
Here is my nugget of wisdom for those still reading, remember that life doesn't stop at 60. You may still have the better part of a century ahead of you and plan accordingly. Maybe look past your future and into the present, acknowledge the old people in your life now. Chances are, with modern medicine, they'll be around for a while and are miserable. Do something unexpected to make things new for them again.