Well I’ve been 70 for almost 2 ½ weeks now and because it is such a milestone in our family for a male to reach such an ancient age, I feel like I should be passing on sage advice on life to the younger male Webners. (However, I recently read that 80 is the new 65 and so 70 makes me the equivalent of somewhere around 55. That seems right as I feel like I think I felt at around 55.)
As to passing on any tidbits about life at 70 or how to get there or what its like to be there, I find that the kind of information that might help prepare others in their journey to becoming 70 is the stuff of all those tired old jokes and trite quips you hear about growing old. For example, it is quite true that when I was forty I knew everything and had all of the answers. Now I know very little and have few answers. The old saw about “you are only as old as you feel” is also true. Some days one feels 100 and other days you have to stop and recall just how old you are because you do feel like 40 (or 55). “All things in moderation” is pretty worn, but with the examples of excessive drinking and smoking we have it makes an appropriate motto to adopt. I hope no one is smoking these days, but if any are, my advice is quit now.
The reality of aging hits you when simple tasks become chores. For example: trying to get up out of an easy chair after sitting and watching the first half of a football game. Knees are sore and locked and hips ache and wobble. But merely sore hips and knees are really nothing. It seems like everyone I know who is around my age (some younger, some older) are having knee and hip replacements. One doctor around here claims to do 500 knee replacements a year. That strikes me as an assembly line operation that would make Henry Ford jealous. Quickly standing, after bending over to tie my shoes or after teeing up a golf ball, also provides a stark reminder of the aging process. Then, somewhere around 60 – 65 and definitely by 70 the plumbing issues arise. No men escape them. All of a sudden men’s rooms, rest stops on road trips and the “powder room” at a friend’s house become important places in your life. Shopping trips require preliminary surveys of the mall to determine the location of the public rest rooms before undertaking any buying. Be prepared younger Webners – the, knees don’t flex as readily, the hips creak and ache, the stream weakens and the hair thins. But don’t panic when you begin to notice these changes, they are universal. Let’s just call them signs of maturity. Well, O.K., they’re signs of aging but be thankful you’re around to have the signs.
On the other hand, while I creak a bit and ache more than I used to, I can still ride my bike for a couple of hours, work out at the Fitness Center several times a week, play 18 holes of golf (or, rather play at playing 18 holes of golf) several times a week, mow my yard, trim our shrubs and, as I did this summer, lay a flagstone walk from 5 tons of stone that I had to split, move and place. Heck, if 80 is the new 65 I have ten years to go to my second retirement! 70 may be a Webner benchmark but it really isn’t very old.
After a couple of weeks as the “old guy” I haven’t stumbled upon any pithy insights to pass along. Maybe they’ll come along later. But it’s alright that I don’t have any advice to send along, because by the time the younger Webners near 70, 90 will be the new 60 and they’ll not care what its like to be 70 or how to get there.