On Facebook the other day one of my writer friends was complaining about men who brag that they’re in good shape when they obviously are no longer in the prime of life. I responded that I often say I’m in good shape…for my age…and she agreed that that’s the right way to put it. There’s no possibility, after all, that a 70-year-old could be in what a 24-year-old would consider “good shape.”
I’ve been 70 for almost six months now and I still consider it truly weird. I mean, 70 sounds really, really OLD to me and it’s weird that I am actually that age. After all, I still feel pretty damned healthy and happy, even—dare I say it?—young(ish).
It’s an interesting time of life. You can’t help thinking about death because you can’t help noticing that a lot of people your age seem to be dead. And in my case, of course, I’ve spent decades studying martial arts and Buddhism, both of which encourage you to think about death. So: death thoughts.
On the other hand, like I said, I feel great…for my age. No particular aches or pains, no noticeable deterioration of my ability to hear or see, no illnesses or conditions that I know of. I just finished my fourth book that should be published within a few weeks and I’ve started the fifth. I’ve already outlined the sixth book and at least know the title of the seventh. So: plenty of life thoughts, too.
I don’t travel any more, for which I have no regrets because I spent a couple of decades before retirement traveling really a lot and that was enough for me. I don’t even go out often in the evening, which is also fine because I like to be home in the evening. I still exercise at least 90 minutes every single day but not as vigorously as I used to. I pay attention to my diet and I get a good night’s sleep, even if sometimes part of it is during the afternoon. I pace myself, in all ways, as a person my age should.
I love my life right now as much as I’ve ever loved it. I posted a quote on Facebook recently from a favorite poet of mine, David Budbill, about how wonderful (literally) it can be to do the same things every day. I meditate every morning, eat the same three meals with some additional snacks, write, read, exercise, spend time with my cats, watch some TV, communicate with others primarily through social media…. But of course I’m a different person meditating each morning, today’s food is not yesterday’s, nor are today’s words (mine or those of others); my body isn’t the same, the cats aren’t the same, and none of my many friends on Facebook are the same. The variety in the sameness is indeed infinite. Something I have learned with age.
I think, also, on the other hand—or at least hope—that dying will be really interesting. Not death, mind you. I’m one of those who expects to be dead after I die. Not too interesting. Ah, but the process. That could be quite interesting. I guess I go against the traditional wish that one die a peaceful death in sleep. I like experiences and, if that’s to be my last experience, I want to experience the hell out of the sucker.
So bring it on, Death—but not too soon. Not until after that seventh book, at least. Or, tell you what, maybe the twelfth. We’ll talk then.
Meanwhile, I’ll keep doing and being the best I can…for my age.