Though our outward man perish...
The Press, Christchurch 4 May 2002 (quoted in part)
-– "Growing old gracefully, dude -–
Chilling though it may sound, at some point in your life you
will awaken on an otherwise normal day and think, "I reckon I'd look
great wearing brown".
So it begins, the phenomenon of becoming middle-aged,
old-aged, frumpy, square, boring. Call it what you will -– it's out there and
waiting for you. Chances are you will die sensible...
If any group was going to avoid repeating the pattern of
their ancestors it should be the people born in the last 50 years.
At the root of it all must lurk a survival mechanism for the
species, the most obvious being the need to hand out advice to one's own
children. Don't run down stairs, don't run with scissors, don't run across
roads, don't talk to strangers, don't smoke dope, drink alcohol, let boys so
much as look at you, and don't get anyone pregnant.
Eventually it becomes so ingrained that even harmless
activities are tempered by advice along the lines of, get a haircut/don't
shave your head, turn that music down, it has no rhythm, and the lyrics are
Scary as it may be to hear your parents' words coming out
of your own mouth it just doesn't seem to prevent it occurring...
Once you've headed off down that brown brick road it's a
long way back to Kansas. It'll be baggy brown corduroy trousers, a
shirt of an indeterminate shade of brown and a lumpy brown jersey. For women it's
stout brown brogues, tweedy brown skirt, and a brown cardie. Whoever breeds
a brown pearl is on to a winner...
Trying to actually blend in with young people is a recipe for
disaster. The balding 50-year-old man with a lank pony tail and a bracelet of
bright happy threads who greets everybody with "Hey dude" and a high
five is missing the point entirely.
Similarly, the middle-aged woman who smears glitter under her
eyes, bears her midriff to the elements, and has a pseudo-ethnic arm band
tattooed on is also missing what informed ageing is all about...
It's all common sense. Forget about literally reliving your
youth, others are doing the youth thing now and having almost as much fun as you
If you get to be old you must have had your shot at being
young, be happy with that and forget about wanting a rerun: that's just plain
Sensible does not have to equate to dull and boring -–
sometimes it just keeps you alive...
Friends are a vital safeguard. It's good to have a range of
them, some who you've known since your first day at school and who will never
disappear, others who dropped in and out on your travels but left a mark
nonetheless. New ones appear continually and a few will stick like glue when
ideas and outlooks mesh. Keep them."
"FOR THOSE OF US WHO WERE BORN BEFORE 1950
Sometimes I feel a little behind the times. Then something
comes along that gives me new heart and life becomes great again.
We spotted this on a real estate office wall in Coolum and
have made a copy we can share with you.
If you are a pre-1950 model, then take heart. We are
Consider the changes we have witnessed ...
We were born before television, penicillin, polio shots,
frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses, frisbees and the Pill. We were before
radar, credit cards, laser beams and ballpoint pens; before pantyhose,
dishwashers, clothes driers, electric blankets, air conditioners, drip dry
clothing, and before man walked on the moon.
We got married first, then lived together. How quaint can you
be! We were before house-husbands, gay rights, computer dating, dual careers and
computer marriages. We were before daycare centres, group therapy, and nursing
homes. We had never heard of FM radio, tape decks, electric typewriters,
artificial hearts, word processors, yoghurt and guys wearing earrings.
For us, time sharing meant Togetherness, not computer
or Gold Coast Units; a "chip" meant a piece of wood, hardware meant hardware
and software wasn't even a word. In 1950, "Made in Japan" meant junk, and
the term "making out" referred to how you did in your last exam. Pizza,
McDonalds, Kentucky fried and instant coffee were unheard of.
In our day, cigarette smoking was fashionable, grass
was mown, coke was a cold drink and pot was a thing you cooked in.
AIDS were helpers in the school principal's office. We made do with
what we had, and were the last generation that was so dumb as to think you
needed a husband to have a baby.
No wonder we are so confused and that there is such a
But we survived! What better reason to celebrate?"
Old age has crept up on this writer.
Modern men and women of "extra faith" tend to deny that
this is taking place, yet I prefer to believe God's Word. II Corinthians 4:16
reads thus: "...though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed
day by day."
I encourage all "honest" older readers to rejoice in all
the ways the Lord has led us in the past, and in spite of physical aches and
joint pains, recognise that we are permitted to groan, but not moan.
II Corinthians 5:2 -– "For in this we groan, earnestly
desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:"
God's promise is enough for me, to continue on happily.
Isaiah 46:4 -– "And even to your old age I am he; and even
to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry,
and will deliver you."