Random thoughts on turning 70


This week, the wife and I log in another decade on the old odometers. Yes it’s true, we are turning 70.

I can remember a time in my life when I thought people who were 70 were buried underground or were in an urn on somebody’s mantel. It turns out, there is life after 70.

There is an expression you hear regularly, “Oh, he’s aging gracefully” or “She’s embracing her years.” The wife and I are not those people.

“Honey,” I said at the breakfast table the other day, “how do you feel about turning 70?” Are you going to embrace it?”

Taking a moment to collect her thoughts, she said, “Heck, no. I intend to fight the entire aging process tooth and nail. When that ‘check engine’ light comes on, you’d better believe I’m going to keep on driving. I’m going to throw another quart of oil in the motor and head for the mountains. I’m gonna put the pedal to the metal and pull a Thelma and Louise and go out in a blaze of glory.”

Somewhat taken aback I said, “Wow, honey. That’s a lot of automotive analogies from someone who can only identify her car by color. By the way, not all white cars are yours.”

“So how are you going to deal with turning 70? Are you gonna fight the process, or are you going to start decomposing before my very eyes?”

Again there was a thought-collecting moment.

“I think I want to adopt my mom’s philosophy of getting older. I’m not going to worry about it. I’ve never met anyone who absolutely had no capacity for worry like her. The last five years of her life were plagued by multiple health issues. But you would never know it. She would always say, ‘Why should I worry about that? I pay doctors to worry for me’.”

“She was amazing, your mom,” the wife said. “I’m not sure you inherited that gene. Last week you thought a pimple on your neck was a brain tumor and you wanted an X-ray and an MRI. It would be nice if you could be, how shall I say this delicately, less neurotic.”

“In my defense, I’m 70. I shouldn’t have pimples on my neck. I do like your ‘Blaze of Glory’ scenario though. After all, we’re in the fourth quarter of our lives. I don’t want to wind down. I want to see some more of the world, spend lots of time with family and friends, eat lots of delicious food, and give that old ‘check engine’ light the finger whenever it lights up my dashboard.”

“Oh honey,” the wife tittered, “I like what you’re saying. We are going to be a couple of crazy old coots who don’t know how to age gracefully.”

“Exactly,” I said. “Now you turn on ‘Wheel of Fortune’ and I’ll mix us up some Metamucil to go with our saltines. Woo-hoo! Par-tay! Oh, dang.I think my ‘check engine’ light just came on.”

Raul Ascunce is a freelance columnist for the Sentinel-Tribune. He may be contacted at [email protected].

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