Something I’ve noticed as I get older: we’re all looking for ways to fend off death and to enhance whatever time we have left on this planet.
When you’re young, you get by on three hours of sleep on a ragged, urine-stained couch, you eat Twinkies in the morning, you snack on a plate of french fries and a Pepsi for lunch, you grab a couple of stale donuts in mid-afternoon, you consume an entire pizza (cheesy crust) with a 32 ounce Dr. Pepper for early dinner, and some KFC (extra crispy) for a late night snack. While guzzling down a half pitcher of beer.
And, of course, you routinely drive 30 miles over the speed limit (while on the cell phone and sipping your Starbucks), you ride your bike without a helmet, you (might) engage in unprotected sex, and you might, on a dare, even dive off a cliff into three feet of water, and survive.
Youth! As they say, it’s wasted on the young.
Now, old folks…well, as we see the horizon gradually closing in, we’ve learned to slow things down, we take more care with each and every step we take and every food that we eat, and we struggle to push that horizon farther and farther away.
That’s why we’re drawn to books such as The 50 Healthiest Foods and magazine articles such as Sex at 80: It Makes You Happier and Healthier
and those alluring and alarming Internet surveys–Seven Foods to Lower Your Blood Pressure and 20 Towns Where Seniors Are Living the Longest
and Seven Behaviors That Are Killing You!
That’s also why we’re eagerly lining up at health food stores to buy expensive organic produce that’s bruised, brown or limp. Or how about seven-dollar-a-pound chickens that apparently just died from anorexia?
We’re also discovering exotic new fare like kale, quinoa, and kefir.
And there are even some of us who are gulping down the “green stuff,” which is a blended mix of kale, broccoli florets, green tomatoes, garlic, cumin, turmeric, brussel sprouts, and carrot juice. Or something like that.
In any case, it looks like vomit and tastes marginally better.
We’re told it’ll make us healthier, but it wasn’t too long ago that our mothers were insisting that we eat every last bite of liver, and that we consume at least three 12 ounce glasses of milk every day. Now, the doctors and dieticians aren’t so sure.
Experts have also changed their minds about PSA tests for men. Yesterday, they were vital; today, not so much. Breast exams for women? Well, maybe they’re not so important anymore. Coffee? Used to be bad, now it’s good. Wine? Used to be bad, then good, and now,well, we’re not so sure. Chocolate? Terrible! Makes you fat! Well, hold on. No, actually it’s good for you.
And just yesterday, the coup de grace: Yoga, we’re now told (by a yoga teacher) may be bad for our health!
So what are we to believe? What are we old farts in our 50s, 60s and 70s to do if we want to improve our health and extend our lives?
Because seriously, if it doesn’t make much difference, I’ll take a Twinkie on a urine-stained couch any day over a pint of the “green stuff.”