General Question

wundayatta's avatar

Is there a viable alternative to getting old?

Asked by wundayatta (58357 points ) November 15th, 2008

They say that getting old is better than the alternative.

I just wish there was a third way to go. Something sideways to aging and creaky knees and faulty memory, and inability to find words quickly. Your friends start dying of horrible things like pancreatic cancer. You don’t have the stamina you once had. You can’t climb Mt Everest any more.

Can’t there be some kind of tesseract one could pass through and find oneself—not young, but definitely hale, or in a place where creeping infirmity didn’t matter? Is there such a place? Even if there isn’t, what would such a place be like, if we could go there?

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27 Answers

susanc's avatar

Poor us, creaking towards worse than creaking.

I take refuge in literature. For hours at a time I am young, hale, beautiful (which was never true in my youth) and powerful. I have a well-developed capacity to suspend disbelief.

augustlan's avatar

My husband and I were just talking about our wish that we could download our ‘brains’ into another body, now that the ones we have are getting so damn persnickity (Don’t pick that up! Stairs, again, are you kidding me? You’ll be sooooorry!)

asmonet's avatar

Dying young is the best alternative that exists. And it ain’t so great.
P.S. I totally want to get old enough that everything cracks and groans in a unique way and I can play William Tell by hopping around like a crazy person. Is that weird?

Goodnight Fluther.

nocountry2's avatar

I’m either A) moving to Fiji so I can be old in paradise, and hopefully die of drinking too much coconut juice or something, or B) keep hanging out with really old people so I keep my perspective grateful

Lightlyseared's avatar

live fast, die young and leave a good looking corpse.

johnnyknoxville08's avatar

teach us youngsters. just pass on what you know

johnnyknoxville08's avatar

maybe the 3rd way is mentor

basp's avatar

Youth is way over rated, anyway…...

bythebay's avatar

Embrace your aches & pains; hopefully you earned them doing something you love. Rejoice at your wrinkles; hopefully you got them from laughing too much. Pass on your knowlege; it was probably hard earned. And when someone you know and/or love passes on; try and be grateful for the gift of knowing them at all. Certainly living in a state of flux would be meaningless if not moving toward….anything.

wundayatta's avatar

@bythebay: by coincidence, all my friends who passed on way too soon were the ones who were doing the most political organizing on behalf of various causes. One was a performer who did women’s concioiusness raising work (breast cancer); one was a peace activist who helped found an organization working to reduce incarceration rates through prisoner education (pancreatic cancer); and one was an environmental activist (T-cell lymphoma—five days from diagnosis to death).

bythebay's avatar

@daloon: Certainly the passing of your friends was felt by many; ...“only the good die young”? But think of all the good they did while here and vital. It sounds like you have some pretty amazing friends. Hopefully someone (you?) is carrying on their good works. Don’t situations like that remind you of that song ‘Ironic’ by A. Morrisette?

hearkat's avatar

I work with mostly elderly patients and between that and my own aging process, I have found that there is truth to the adage that “if you don’t use it, you lose it.”

For example, I have observed how I can barely tolerate swinging in a swingset when I loved it and would swing for hours as a kid… so my sense of motion and equilibrium aren’t what they used to be when the were getting frequent stimulation when I was more active.

The same applies to all our senses and systems… learning and memory as well as physical abilities. As such, I have made a decision to be more physically active and to get in shape to do the things I loved but have stopped doing because of adult responsibilities.

bythebay's avatar

@ hearkat: Ahaaa! So that’s why I want to toss my cookies when I ride on the swings with my children at amusement parks! I used to love to swing and also loved circular swings at the big parks. Now I practically run in the opposite direction! :)

hearkat's avatar

@ByTheBay: I can no longer ride backwards on a train without getting nauseous… when we were kids we rode backwards in the back of the station wagon all the time! I also loved rollercoasters for many years, but I haven’t ridden one in years, and don’t think I’d tolerate it well now.

bythebay's avatar

@hear: I can comfortably survive the train, but there’s no reading in the car anymore. I used to read for hours in the car…2–3 minutes now and I’m consumed by nausea. I can still do the coasters, but only once or twice, it used to be many times in a row. I suppose there are other things I would mind losing much more!

mike_perrault's avatar

Don’t think of it as getting old, only better.

hearkat's avatar

@ByTheBay:
I understand what you mean; but I view it as contributing to the overall deterioration of the system. I chose the vestibular system and equilibrium because it is an area I know about professionally and have noticed declines in my own abilities. But it also applies to coordination of fine and gross motor skills, flexibility, comprehension, recall, and basically everything we do.

bythebay's avatar

@hear, I understand & agree. I will say this with regard to your use it or lose it statement, Pilates has done a lot to restore my flexibilty, relive back pain, & give me more stamina. My mother has noticed an increase in her memory & other areas since starting to regularly do crosswords & other puzzles. She’s always been big reader but the other activities have obviously tapped an underused skill.

AstroChuck's avatar

Just like everyone else who makes the mistake of getting older, I start each day with a BM, then coffee and obituaries.
I’ve also started to smile a lot more hoping that it will make my “crow’s feet” go up.
At least my avatar has found the secret of eternal youth.

asmonet's avatar

@bythebay: Funnily enough, the most ironic thing about that song is that none of the lyrics qualify as ironic.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Me too Astrochuck. I have a healthy pee at Seven am, a healthy BM at Eight am, but the only problem is I don’t wake up until Ten am.

mrswho's avatar

Download your consciousness into a rockin robot bod.

LostInParadise's avatar

You could become a revered elder in a hunter-gatherer society, where everything you say would be regarded as a pearl of wisdom. This is a definite advantage over our youth oriented society.

bythebay's avatar

@LostInParadise: Where do I sign up for that gig and do I have to live in a tent?

kevinhardy's avatar

eating right, working out, doing what makes you happy,eat pomegrants and fish

LostInParadise's avatar

@bythebay , A tent if you are lucky. And you may find the initiation ceremony a bit tough.

bythebay's avatar

@LostInParadise: Are you saying I’m not tough? :)

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