Age is a high price to pay for maturity—Tom Stoppard
So it’s my birthday this week and each year it is getting just a little harder to be excited (yay! It’s my birthday!) vs. horrified (oh crap, am I really that old?).
As I perused my nearly age-appropriate issue of AARP Magazine this week I noted that one of the articles in it said that cultivating feelings of gratitude can lead to physical changes that improve health (and therefore, I am sure, lead you to feel younger). I must admit, I have a tough time feeling grateful about those lines around my eyes. Maybe it’s just because my memory has become so age-impaired that I can’t remember to feel grateful about having the opportunity to get older. Whenever someone says to me, “Getting older isn’t so bad, it beats the alternative!” I want to beat them to death with a pair of dentures. Mark Twain once said, “Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been,” but he’s dead so what the hell does he know?”
I guess there must be some people out there who revel in their aging process. I have yet to meet one of these people since I live in California where it is all but illegal to look old. Apparently those that want to advertise their advancing years live in Massachusetts. I suggest this because I also learned from the AARP Magazine that Massachusetts State Representative Sarah Peake has introduced a bill in that state to create a “vanity” license plate that identifies the driver as a member of the Baby Boomer generation, celebrating the fact that they were born between 1946 and 1964. I think if you have made it to say, 90, and are still able to brush your own teeth, then that is something to advertise on your car.
I am guessing that there isn’t going to be a line around the block to buy these Boomer license plates; the people aged 47-75 are already standing in line to get collagen injections and bicep implants. Have you seen the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and other major metro areas? I don’t know about you but I haven’t seen a lot of recent TV programming featuring people who are psyched to be aging gracefully since the Golden Girls went off the air.
In an article in the Huffington Post, the market research firm Global Industry Analysts projects that the Boomer generation’s quest to look younger will push the U.S. market for anti-aging products from about $80 billion in 2011 to more than $114 billion by 2015. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there were 13.1 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures performed in the U.S. in 2010, a 77 percent increase since 2000. Of course, many thought the world might end when the clock turned from 1999 to 2000, so they might have been holding off. By some estimates, the U.S. market for cosmeceutical products – cosmetics with medicine-based ingredients – is approaching $20 billion a year.
People are out there screaming that there is a healthcare crisis and that the cost of medical care is killing them financially, but apparently they find a way when there are sagging parts involved. Maybe the trick to ensuring that people will actively participate in their own medical care, including paying for it, is to label all services as “anti-aging” medicine. Of course there is no insurance coverage for any of this stuff. If insurers had more marketing savvy, they would cease paying for angioplasty because nothing says anti-aging like reopening the heart vessels!
According to NewJersey Newsroom.com (really!) the best anti-aging products can be found right in your local supermarket. The article touts the anti-aging properties of everything from kale to chia seeds to ginger, brussel sprouts and dandelion root. It’s a good thing that anti-aging medicine is primarily the bailiwick of adults, as no self-respecting kid would eat any of that stuff without a gun to their head. Maybe if they did they wouldn’t age the way their parents have.
As I dug deeper into my AARP Magazine, I found an article by Dr. Mehmet Oz, who has managed to establish himself as the Wizard of Oz when it comes to anti-aging pop culture medicine. Dr. Oz offers up a list of 9 ways to fight aging and live a longer life. Among his recommendations are: eat breakfast; snack on berries to ward off cancer; take a walk to build muscle; take the herb astragalus to rebuild your telomeres (I wrote about telomeres last birthday, which you can read HERE); eat fish for dinner to boost memory cell function; and go to sleep early/get enough sleep. Yeah, yeah, good stuff, but fortunately Dr. Oz tops off his list with two crowd favorites: have more frequent sex and set the mood with red wine, which contains anti aging reservatol. I’m guessing Dr. Oz finds it pretty easy to sell those last two suggestions to his patients.
If, on my birthday, I am forced to choose between spending millions on anti-aging creams and procedures, eating a truckload of chia seeds or the Dr. Oz recommendations behind door number 3, I’m going with Dr. Oz. Now where is my corkscrew?
While I’m no doctor (I just harass them for a living), I think that one of the most important secrets to staying young is to continuously feed your sense of humor. Thus, I leave you with this classic scene on aging from the movie City Slickers, featuring Billy Crystal. Hilarious.