Age is relative. By Wikipedia definition, in animal life maximum life span corresponds to the age at which the oldest known member of a species group has died. In humans, the maximum lifespan recorded was a French woman name Jeanne Calmend who lived to 122... so much for an excess of wine being bad for you. Some animals like the beautiful Macaw can live 80-100 years in captivity, tortoises 190 years, and Koi, those beautiful orange speckled overgrown goldfish you see lazily swimming in that vacation pond, can live over 200 years. For bugs, their lifespan can be days- shorter if we have shoes on. For us, while mortality tables are slowly rising, it seems most start muttering "I'm old" once we pass 60 or so. I am always quick to correct people who say "I'm old" to restate it as "I'm older." Old to me is a state of mind, as we are getting older from the second we are born. Yes, you may call it semantics: I call it preservation. To me, once you pronounce "I'm old"– you are.
When I was a child in the single digits, my grandparents had a poultry farm in Lakewood New Jersey. For the holidays, the whole family would converge in Lakewood for a family get together as my family for the most part was in the kosher deli business, and for the Jewish holiday's everybody was off work as all the stores were closed. As children, we were allowed to sit
at the "adult table" which consisted of a 4x8 sheet of plywood that my grandfather would put on the normally much smaller table, providing seating for the whole family. Since the rest of the year it was just Nanny and Pop, there was no need for a formal dining room, of which there was no room for in the farmhouse anyway. The Walton home was very misleading if you've never visited an actual farmhouse. The thing I remember the most was the conversations between my elders: always revolving around health, medicine and aches and pains. I vowed that this would never happen to me nor would I talk about such things. So, here I am, now a grandfather and when I go out with my friends what do you think everybody wants to talk about? Yes, you got it– health, medicine and aches and pains. Go ahead; take a minute–you know you do it too. EEWWWW... gross. For me, I get as far away from the topic as soon as it comes up, keeping to my boyhood promise.
Our Fall issue was dedicated to kids, those (not necessarily so at this point in time) little beings who have changed our lives so. In keeping with equality, I thought it would be proper to dedicate a counter issue to us. Yes, after turning 60; I too count myself in this age group. Before you hoot and holler about calling ourselves old fogeys, I do it with a smile on my face and joy in my heart. We've told people much younger "you drive like an old fogey" or have used the phrase in many ways to describe the actions of others in jest, so let's all lighten up. Life does change when you pass a certain age, different for all of us. The one thing in common though is we have a choice: we can act old, feel old... or be old(er)- it's up to each and every one of us. Here at Chestnut, I keep the music on hold on Sirius Classic Rock–if I get stuck in an elevator, that's what I would like to be listening to. I still can be found most mornings dancing around my house as I get ready for work, and challenge the capacity of my eardrums by blasting the radio and singing at the top of my lungs in the car–with the window open if it happens to be. I don't care who is listening or sees me–they see a white haired tenured man acting like a nut: I see a young man continuing to rock on down... and I plan on doing it every day until I can't do it anymore. Try it–if you can't remember the last time you sang like nobody was listening, or danced like no one was watching, it's time to remember the old adage we grew up with– "sex, drugs and rock'n'roll." I won't comment on the first part, and the only difference now is the drugs come in a vial with our name on it instead of a baggie, but what the hell–I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to call it quits just yet!