Have you ever met someone new and during the course of a conversation the topic of age comes up, you tell this new person your age and you get the following response: “Wait, you’re how old?” This phrase is usually accompanied by a bewildered look, or one of shock and surprise. Well, I am at that age where this happens on a regular basis and I’m not trying to brag! I don’t feel that I look my age, which is of course a very subjective statement, and may have more to do with the way I talk and act than with how I look. Where this breaks down for me is when that same person proceeds to tell you that you look like you’re in your late 40s and you’re 71! Now this can be chalked up to politeness, or even flattery, and while I’m usually okay with that, there are times when I find it annoying but most of the time it makes me feel good, even warm, and fuzzy!
Of course, many people don’t look their age, and this is especially true nowadays. In general, not only are people living longer, but many are keeping fitter and eating healthier. Can you say kale, protein smoothie? Combine a healthy diet with fitness gyms, personal trainers, pilates, Orange Theory, CrossFit training, boxing, kickboxing, and yoga – all thirteen of them from Anusara to Yin – and people are bound to look younger. But here’s the thing, looking your age and feeling your age are two very different things! Let’s face it, if you partake in a healthy lifestyle as mentioned above, it is not that difficult to look younger than your years (alterations excluded), but what’s going on inside your body. . .well, that’s a whole different ball game.
Take, for example. the wonderful combo of the bladder and prostate. I don’t care how young you look; if you are a male 55 and older you are at the age (although it can happen earlier) where your bladder capacity is diminished, and your prostate is enlarged (BPH – Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia). Either one of these conditions leads to more frequent urination; put the two together and . . .wait, I have to pee! Not only do you have to go more often, but it takes way longer than it used to. When my wife and I are getting ready to leave the house I will usually say: “Hang on, I have to take a quick pee,” which is usually followed by peals of laughter! The doctors tell you all this for sure, but what they don’t tell you, at least I’ve never been told this, is that when you get older the time between when you first realize that you might have to pee and when you have to pee NOW is about two seconds. So, if you’re out for a walk or hike in nature, no problem. As Jeff Goldblum’s character in the 1983 movie “The Big Chill” says to his friends as they are surveying a piece of property and he has to pee: “That’s the great thing about the outdoors, it’s one giant toilet.” But if you’re walking in a urban environment, you’d better hope that the coffee shop is coming up soon and there isn’t a line up!
All of which brings us full circle to the glass of water photo at the beginning of this musing. According to The U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering & Medicine (a government agency in desperate need on an acronym), men should drink a minimum of 3.7 liters (1 gallon for the metric impaired) of water daily. The figure is slightly less for women – 2.7 liters or 3/4 of a gallon. If you add to this volume of water the daily coffee, tea, sodas, and other refreshing liquids, not to mention any alcohol you might consume on a daily basis, well you know where this is going. I know that some of you will think my photo caption is off, thinking it is “bread is the staff of life.” While this may be the more popular saying. one can live without bread – just ask anyone in Los Angeles – but you cannot live without water, at least not for very long. You can maybe go three days without water before you die, but you can live without food between 43-70 days! And there you have it, one of the cruel ironies of aging. Drink lots of water to stay fit and healthy, but make sure you’re close to a bathroom at all times!
Los Angeles 2022