Boom, you're older

We Baby Boomers have always embraced youthfulness, but it's becoming harder to cling to it with each passing year. Despite all our efforts to look young and stay in shape, we're losing our grip.

Of course, we won't admit it. We're a nation of Peter Pans, muttering "I'll never grow up" all the way to the grave.

This attitude results in such nonsense as a recent magazine headline that said, "Sixty is the new 40." Apparently, we can treat aging as a fashion statement, like saying, "Brown is the new black," when we all know black is black and brown is brown and our hair would be gray if we didn't touch it up.

"Middle age" has become a moving target. Nobody wants to go past middle age because that would mean admitting that we're over the hill, being dragged downward by gravity until we reach six feet under. So we Baby Boomers simply push back the process, declaring that we're not "old" until we're past, say, 106.

Now that the youngest of the Baby Boomers have passed 40, however, perhaps it's time to take another look at aging and its symptoms. You're getting older if:

--The hair that once resided on top of your head has relocated to unseemly neighborhoods, such as your ears, nose or back.

--You have to sit down to see which shoes you're wearing.

--Everyone you meet in your daily life -- doctor, dentist, barber, business associates, plastic surgeon, personal trainer -- seems younger than you. (I recently was on a plane where the flight crew was introduced as "Captain Chad and Co-pilot Jason." I'm sorry, but those names belong to people riding skateboards, not piloting airplanes. This made me a very nervous passenger, but Chad did fine until the landing, which was "radical, dude.")

--In clothing, you surrender style for comfort. Think Birkenstocks rather than spike heels. Think "relaxed fit." Think "elastic."

--You're more concerned with bifocals than with biceps.

--You prefer music that's "soothing" rather than music that "ROCKS."

--You spill on yourself when you eat. (All my garments seem to bear ketchup stains. I'll soon be out of "nice" clothes. They're dropping like fries.)

--You prefer to watch sports rather than participate in them. Ideally, you can watch these sports without leaving the comfort of your sofa and nearby refrigerator.

--You think golf is a sport.

--You hire someone to do the sweaty physical labor in your yard, so you have more time to "jog."

--You pursue no activity that bears the risk of physical injury. Or, if you do, you approach it with careful deliberation. (This is why senior citizens drive so slowly.) And yet you're always hurting yourself some way.

--When reading a newspaper, you turn first to the stock market pages and the obituaries. And groan over them both.

--One word: Prunes.

--You spend an inordinate amount of time fretting over your teeth.

--Your train of thought has left the station. You sometimes have trouble thinking of the right, uh, you know, um, WORD. You spend several minutes a day standing motionless, asking yourself, "Why did I come in here?"

--The only bad habit you have left is boasting about how you gave up all your bad habits.

If these symptoms sound like you, then you're probably middle-aged, at least. But don't worry, you don't have to get old. We're all in this together. We Boomers will keep stretching out the middle to encompass all of us.

Remember: Eighty is the new 40. Or, maybe it's twice as good. Or something. I can't remember. Why did I come in here again?

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