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A 50+ Moment

Naomi and I are going to France at the end of this month. We’ll be in Paris during high season. While roaming the city and finding your own special places is all part of the charm of the city, we’re epic planners. So, rather than leave things to chance, scalpers, gougers and tourist-trappers, we’re attempting to book at least some of our excursions and activities in advance.


Through our network of private tour companies (not unlike the Society of Crossed Keys in the Grand Budapest Hotel, but without the epic moustaches) we were connected to a group that specializes in private tours in Paris. We had a conference call with the company to discuss how to personalize some day trips. They were trying to get a better understanding of what we like to do and inquired if we had any physical limitations. In response to the question I uttered the following sentence: “We’re in our early 50’s, but very active.” Just to be clear, the correct response to the question is (and apparently should have been), “No.”


In less than ten words (all of which are true I might add) I reduced us to a stereotype, and not necessarily a flattering one. You know-the greying, jogging, yoga-wear wearing “active” couple...that you’d see in a commercial for Centrum, Viagra, Cialis, Robax or Freedom 55 (but not for Ensure, Lifeline or Depends, ...not there yet).


I, of course, know better.  You can acknowledge your own age publicly, but without power-of-attorney you can’t also do so for your wife. And as my judgment has now come into question, I don’t think a power of attorney will ever be on the table. Naomi has put me on notice that this faux pas is on par with my other great mis-speak: Advising her that the only woman I would ever leave her for was Nicolette Sheridan (the “sure thing” from The Sure Thing). Which wasn’t actually true, but said at the time, many decades ago, for quasi-comic effect, ...and which apparently wasn’t actually that quasi-comical either. I’ve been living it down for over 30 years.


And I don’t know why I had to qualify my age by stating my fitness level. Even in the context of answering an inquiry about mobility, my response belied my own stereotyped perception of what it is to be 50+. It’s hardly the age of enfeeblement. I think it was just egotism and narcissism on my part, that I saw myself as some sort of exceptional 50+ fitness specimen. Anyways, I plan on doing a lot of wine drinking in France to forget my foolishness; and walking, and biking etc. ...because, you know, I’m very active.


Of course, if you’re interested in learning to age more gracefully than me you can read Joel Thuna and Claude Gallant’s article on longevity ...or if you want to know how to think before you speak, perhaps Tracey Soghrati’s piece on mindfulness would be appropriate. And if you want to stave off those wrinkles, check out the excerpt of my interview with Dr. Emily Lipinski ND. As always, if you’re too lazy to Google to understand the charms of (pre-plastic surgery) Nicolette Sheridan, or if you’d like to comment on this note or anything else you’ve read in this issue please feel free to reach out to me.