There is a difference between aging and getting old. The first is something that you'll do , just as a matter of course, with each and every breath you take until you make your next phasal transition. Getting "old" is totally a mindset; it's avoidable and should be consciously avoided at all costs, like anthrax or a plague. We must learn to age with grace and respect. We must learn to respect the wisdom (where it exists) that comes with the experience of aging. At the risk of sounding too cliche we've all heard that we should strive to live each day as if it were our last. We need to, as a society, as the sentient human being that we are, eliminate th'is 'should word and replace it with the word MUST. If we approached each day and the moments in each day with this mindset, the aging factor would become a non-factor; a non-issue.

We must, absoulutely stop striving (at least in our American society) to have 'retirement" as a goal. That goal, this false goal of rewarding ourselves after a 'job well done' "age" with kicking back and doing nothing is a procrastinators way of putting off an inevitable suicide...not an initial death of the physical but definitely a mental and then an emotional one. Then, (generally speaking) physical death, unfortunately, follows not long after.

I see it all too often in some of my volunteer activities with seniors. I am met sometimes with vapid stares where autonomic, physiologic activity contiues to take place but not much else...behind those eyes...I know, can feel even sometimes a wanting, a yearning to do, be engaged in something, anything...but just existing. A scream every now and then would be better in somecases than the deafening and crushing silence I am met with from those who are with us, continuing to age in such a less than honorable and humane manner

So, I am assisting my mother (76) and have been for the past 13 years to fight the good fight to be as vibrant of a participant in her life as the 'dementia diagnosis' continues to fight it's fight as well. In providing reinforcement for my father's fight(86 - long distance),where 'the mind is willing the body is unable', helping fight his good fight is a little bit easier.

This is where I get the mantra of 'Don't Retire; ReTool and ReNew'. This is what I know. This is what I do.