As I was sipping my beer, I was looking at the oil paintings behind the bar at my favorite watering hole. In walked my Long Lost Cousin. He hopped up on a green padded stool and said:
“I’m a little depressed since I celebrated my 65th birthday!”
“Bartender, give my cousin a whiskey. Now, why are you depressed?”
“Well, I read an article on the 50 signs of aging and I had all of them!” He took a sip of his whiskey.
“I probably would have them all too, but I accept “What Is” and get on with my life.”
“But cousin, now that I’m retired and don’t have to go to work anymore, I don’t want to age so fast!”
“Aging is natural, the progression of life, it’s a reality!”
“But why does it have to happen so quick that it sneaks up on you? I looked in the mirror this morning when I was naked and said to my wife:
“I’m old, fat and wrinkled. Cheer me up. Pay me a compliment.”
“Well,” she said, “Your eyesight is still good!” This is what I have to put up with!”
“Well, my cousin, it’s the effect of energy on your body. Like rain, sunshine and wind, it’s physical erosion. Wear and tear!”
“You’re making me feel worse than my wife does.”
“That’s just erosion from external sources. There’s internal erosion as well. Metabolism is the machinery of chemistry, billions of chemical reactions in the body, which drives life. It creates order out of chaos!”
“All this is going on in my body?”
“Yes, these chemical reactions over time create internal trash which accumulate over time. Cells die, some get renewed, but not all. It’s all part of living. With age our body becomes less efficient at detoxifying!”
“But cousin, I’m getting to be a physical and mental wreck! I’m stiff, losing my hair and I groan when I bend down. I forget names and I fall asleep in front of the TV after a glass of wine. It’s terrible!”
We sat in silence, drinking and staring at the oil paintings behind the bar. My LLC then spoke and broke the mood.
“And the article ended with this alarming statement: Aging fosters sickness, pain, suffering, dementia and makes us more likely to meet the grim reaper quicker!”
“Boy, you’re a bundle of sunshine!”
“But I don’t want to die faster. I want to delay it!”
“When it’s your time, it’s your time, nothing you can do about it. I don’t fear it because I don’t think there is anything in death; it is just eternal nothingness, oblivion.”
“Now whose a bundle of sunshine?” said my cousin grimly.
“Well cousin, we are growing older right here on these green padded stools!”
My cousin had a glazed look in his eyes and said:
“In my twenties, I never thought about growing older. I was in peak physical condition. In my thirties and forties, I got smarter and was still in good shape. But now in my sixties, I feel the negative effects of age: aches and pains, forgetfulness, wrinkles, grey hair or no hair! Cousin, can we stop aging?”
I smiled and ordered two more drinks for us.
“So cousin, you want a CURE for aging?”
“Yes, three score and ten is not enough time!”
“Maybe someday there will be a cure for aging. None of us want to spend our final years in physical pain and suffering from mental decline.”
My cousin gulped his whiskey in one go. And as he headed out the door, he said:
“All I know is that I don’t know how I got over the hill without making it to the top!”