Thoughts on Aging


A few years ago Jeanne Calment of Arles, France turned 121. At that time she was the oldest woman in the world where her age could be documented by reliable records. She has long since passed, but her philosophy is worth remembering.

The day she turned 121 there was a big birthday bash at city hall. A cake with ten dozen candles, plus one. 121 roses and a city medal. She didn’t make a speech, but the mayor did and half way through his remarks, she shouted: “has he finished yet?” You can do that at 121. She also told reporters that she has only one wrinkle and she’s sitting on it.

She said her secret to long life was olive oil and port wine. She gave up cigarettes at 120, only because she couldn’t see clearly enough to light up. At 85 she took up fencing lessons, at one hundred she was still riding a bike, and before moving to a retirement home at 110 she lived alone.

It was Longfellow who wrote:

“For age is an opportunity no less
than youth itself, though in another dress.
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is fitted with stars, invisible by day.”

Jeanne Calmet said:

“I’m afraid of nothing, I don’t complain.”
“I dream, I think, I never get bored.”
“Life will last as long as it lasts and I hope to die laughing.”

I like that wisdom.

And for my friend Bob, who’s liking retirement, this addendum.

Everyday is Saturday
© 2008 Rolland G. Smith

There comes a time in all our lives
When busy days are changed in name.
It’s only then, if we survive,
We stage the play and play the game.

All Sundays past were day’s for rest
And little things that needed done,
But there were always chores we left
To watch the game or ski the run.

Most Mondays of our working life
Were one’s we wished would never come.
And then came Tuesday’s weekly strife
That lead to Wednesday’s hump when done.

With Thursday came the week’s relief
Knowing Friday was THE next day.
But Thursday night oft’ gave some grief
With Friday morn, “some hell to pay”.

But now is when the times have changed
Our job is done and we retire.
The days of week are then renamed
To fill our wishes and desire.

Now everyday is Saturday
No matter what and when the day
Yes, everyday is Saturday
Enjoy it, be it, Saturday.

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