By Joan Larsen
You know . . . while we don’t like to admit it, I think we all – well, once we are 55 or so – think about age more than a little. There is so much emphasis on youth now (way too much if truth be told) and most of us do what we can to appear young. Frankly, I don’t think we are fooling anyone. . . but anyhow, why not look great as we can?
I think we all notice that the concept of middle age is sliding upward. I mean, just because we hit 65, most of us aren’t “over the hill” and ready for the “golden years” – a term that gives me shivers if truth were told.
I see us as independent, more intelligent than we once were – and a window seemed to open in our minds at long last, and the beginnings of great wisdom has blown in — to our delight.
But now – to the point. They (whoever “they” are) say that age is a state of mind. But around 65 (if not before), it is a state of body as well. Tiny things begin to go wrong. You know – things that you thought only happen to others. Some of us don’t fare well at all. Our own government: the CDC and National Institute of Health, the end-alls of what to expect, tell us that now heart disease, cancer, gastro issues – serious things like that – are indiscriminately making themselves known to those over 65. YES, to us. We look around us, wanting to deny it – but we know they are right.
So with the constant bombardment of the election season upon us, we find ourselves staring at the three probable candidates for president. If a president is lucky, he is going for two terms. The country and world has – pardon the expression – gone to hell. To be our leader, he or she is not going to have bankers’ hours as President Reagan more or less did. This is going to be physically – stand on your feet – tasking, but the president is going to have to think quickly, make decisions, work with a difficult (understatement) Congress, be the top dog with foreign leaders who hate us, handle emergency situations we have yet to dream about constantly… i.e. think of “little sleep” and need for energy of a young person.
Our nominees are heading into their 70s to mid-70s now. Add 4 years, add 8 years of office. . . and factor in what the NIH says: that no matter that clean bill of health this year, next year or the next has a chance of providing health surprises – mentally, physically – that will come on unexpectedly. (C’mon, we say it can’t happen to US. But I look around at my friends and it does, scaring me to death – or something close.)
We like what our candidate says (well, sometimes!) and gosh! he or she does look young for their age – as hair and makeup have made such great strides in a single year. But with the world on its edge, why oh why haven’t the pundits even mentioned early on that perhaps someone in their 50s would have been at a perfect age bracket for us? With all their pontificating, I have heard nothing said about age — like it is a dirty word. And like the rest of us, I have been so bowled over by the shenanigans on the campaign trail that – yes, as they say, my mind has been slipping on the really important parts. And I hope that is not permanent!!!!!!
It is a one-way journey we are travelling in this world – all of us, and it has an end point. Remember that.
The die is cast. So, you know what I think is going to be most crucial? I believe that the choice of vice president is now going to be paramount – and he better have leadership potential to the hilt. And more and more and more qualities that great presidents must have.
Otherwise . . . . Well, I really don’t want to think of the “otherwise” as it is too scary. But is there any vice-president material out there at all that we could live with if he were to be our eventual leader?
If not. . . it is just too hard to think about.
And what thoughts do you have on this issue?
Writer Joan Larsen has spent a lifetime searching for the most remote places on Earth. But it is the polar regions of our world that she has been drawn back to again and again. She has done research in these lands of ice, and considers Antarctica to be her “other home”.