I never thought there were any real benefits of being over 50. But my editor seems to think otherwise. Recently I got chewed up by her. She accused me of being overly serious and a bit stuck up about this business of aging. She said: Come off your high horse and quit quoting long-forgotten authors; let them rest in their dust-mite world, and consider keyboarding cheerful topics that will help us in this valley of tears that is life and aging. Rein in your pedantic leanings and come down to the world of reality. Count your blessings, old man, and help others count theirs.
Valley of tears? I said to myself. Is that what life is all about? Perhaps she was off-color when she wrote that and not feeling like herself, but she got me thinking. How lucky I am to be over fifty, way over fifty. It is indeed a blessing, bliss on earth, and so I am going to tell you, younger folks, about the benefits of age. And this time I promise not to quote writers of yore, never fear.
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- For the fifty plus, the world changes. For one, men and women below that age start looking better. They walk faster, have more muscle tone, more hair, glowing skin, better teeth, better conversation and are, by far, sexier. Of course, to realize this you must go over the fifty hump. Before that we do not seem to notice the minutiae.
- The over-fifty crowd get discounts almost everywhere and that makes the under-fifty group green with envy. They must pay full price as a punishment for being younger. I get to visit museums paying half price, and sometimes even nothing.
- There is no need to keep the opposite sex at bay. Women do not chase me any more, not that they did that much when I was under fifty. I do not get pinched in the subway and girls do not make eyes at me. This is a relief because I would not know what to do: Wink? Smile? Go over and start a conversation? Hide my walking stick?
- Women fifty or older, have it better and easier. They do not have to hear obscene remarks about their physical attributes. In the workplace, a recent study shows, older women are sexually harassed much less than younger and better looking ones.
- The fear of getting pregnant by strangers is gone by now and women can let their hair down all they want, if they so desire. And if they have plenty of money. This helps. Another recent study shows that moneyed women attract more eligible bachelors.
- The over fifty mob gets to learn a lot about health facilities, doctors and medication. Younger people have no interest in exploring hospitals or making acquaintances with doctors and nurses and they miss this fun, and have to wait a few years to relish contact with the medical profession.
- Hearing loss creeps up and this blessing allows us to ignore most of the stupidities and nonsense people tell us. We do not give a hoot about what our neighbors or friends have to say and we can always ignore certain remarks under the pretext of being hard of hearing.
- Mortgages are a thing of the past and we tend to free ourselves of dealing with banks and other purveyors of confidence games.
- We become “wise.” It is a truism that older people are wiser and know better. We can get away with boring everyone stiff with our “wise” dictums. We may feel free to give unasked advice to young people.
- It is well known that older people “forget” things, so we have a perfect alibi or pretext for jaywalking, law scoffing, missing payments, and more. Use your imagination.
- Falling in love, love at first sight, puppy love, crushes, eloping, one-night stands, flings, trysts are possible but occur much less, thank God. Another benefit of being over fifty, or sixty or seventy.
- With age we all mellow and take things in stride. There is no need to get all worked up over trifles. Easy does it is our motto.
- I have noticed that in police road-blocks I am never stopped. Never. I do not look dangerous.
This timeline could get longer and I am certain you can expand and improve it. Please let me know if I have overlooked some other important “benefits” of growing older. While I wait for your comments I will sit in the porch in my rocking chair to watch the clouds pass by, and later play a game of whist with the “boys.” But first I will rub some liniment to relieve the stiffness of my back. Sloan’s liniment even smells nice now.