In T. S. Eliot’s poem, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” Prufrock says “I grow old … Do I dare to eat a peach?” To which I reply, why the heck not? Unless you’re worried about juice dribbling down your chin or, in a senior moment, forgetting not to swallow the pit. Which would lead to embarrassment. Or death. Options available to anyone under any circumstances, regardless of age. There are two sides (and often more) to most situations, including getting older. Forthwith:
CON: You become invisible.
PRO: You become invisible.
CON: You are bedeviled by insomnia. You’re not coming back from a party or an evening out at 2:34 a.m. You are staring at the numbers on the clock by your bed.
PRO: Well, you are getting closer to the grave with each passing day, headed for the eternal sleep, so maybe a little less shut eye isn’t such a bad idea.
CON: A polite waiter, salesperson, etc. (bless their little hearts) refers to you as “dear” (as if “ma’am” wasn’t bad enough) and you have the urge to smack them upside the head.
PRO: You’d probably get away with it.
CON: You read about a celebrity, etc. in the news and you have no clue who this person is or why they are getting media attention.
PRO: You aren’t going to waste a precious moment of this life thinking about the Kardashians. You are keeping your brain clear for deep insights and philosophical speculations.
CON: You realize you are not the kind of person who has deep insights or philosophical speculations. PRO: You don’t give a hoot.
CON: You develop an almost morbid interest in obituaries.
PRO: You’re not in any of them.
CON: Your peers spend entirely too much time discussing their aging bodies and ailments.
PRO: You’ve perfected the art of looking engaged/interested/sympathetic while thinking about the carton of leftover Chinese takeout in the fridge that you can’t wait to eat later. Plus, maybe your hearing isn’t as sharp as it used to be, what with going to rock concerts in your wayward youth and all.
CON: You realize you never had a wayward youth.
PRO: It’s never too late to make a damn fool of yourself. Never.
CON: You experience a weird sensation or sudden inexplicable ache in your head and/or body and you wonder if this is the beginning of the end and you’re headed down the dark tunnel of a dread disease that will bring you to the brink of death or actually kill you.
PRO: You were never more alive than you are at this moment.