I often hear people complaining about getting older, frequently when I’m muttering to myself since nobody really wants to hear what I have to say anymore. But it’s important to remember that there are a lot of benefits to aging that go way beyond social security checks, senior movie tickets, and a special 20 percent discount every Thursday at Goodwill when you get the chance to buy back all the favorite sweaters that you accidentally donated last week instead of dropping them off at the cleaners.
Problem: The hair on your head stops growing and falls out, while the hair inside your ears suddenly sprouts like a potato in the spring.
Benefit: Maybe you’re a little too old to start wearing a nose ring, but how many people are cool enough to have tiny Rastafarian dreadlocks hanging out the sides of their head?
Problem: Various aches and pains cause you to grunt every time you have to stand up out of a chair.
Benefit: Cats and small dogs will know exactly when it’s time to scamper away so they don’t get stepped on while you’re teetering in every possible direction to try to find your balance.
Problem: The trendy new World Cuisine restaurant on the corner only accepts credit cards or bitcoins and won’t let you pay for a meal with the good old American dollars you have stashed under your mattress.
Benefit: You’ll never have to stand in line for an hour for a chance to experience the heartburn of Thai Chili Tarantulas or Mint Jellied Moose Nose.
Problem: Your children are afraid to let you drive them anywhere in your car until you get your eyes, ears, and brakes checked.
Benefit: You are now free to crank up the oldies radio station as loud as you like to listen to the Archies singing “Sugar, Sugar” and the Monkees playing “Last Train to Clarksville.”
Problem: The people you’ve known the longest are looking really wrinkled, spotted, and decrepit.
Benefit: Anyone who sees you with them will immediately see how much more handsome you are and always have been.
Problem: All the books you’ve saved to read when you retire are full of dust and smell like someone’s dirty gym socks. Also the print seems to have shrunk since you bought them.
Benefit: After clearing them off your shelves to donate to the library book sale you now have lots of space to display your 40 year collection of hotel shampoo bottles and soap bars.
Problem: You sometimes have trouble remembering things like what you came to the grocery store to buy, or whether or not you put on your pants.
Benefit: While you scour the house to try to find where somebody hid your phone you often come across other valuable objects that you had forgotten were lost like your favorite coffee mug or your wallet.
Problem: The friends that you used to go out dancing with now go to bed at 8 pm, before most clubs even open.
Benefit: They don’t mind you calling them to talk when the bars close at 3 am because they needed to get up to pee, too.
Problem: The friends you used to go out to eat with now want to have dinner at 4 pm and you hate ordering off the Early Bird Menu because you can’t stop thinking that the early bird gets the worms. Which is really not what you want to be thinking when you’re ordering spaghetti and meatballs.
Benefit: When you eat dinner that early you’re ready for breakfast when you can’t go back to sleep at 3 am.
Problem: The friends that used to like to talk for hours about rock concerts and backpacking to Nepal now want to tell you all the details about their latest colonoscopy and knee replacement.
Benefit: They no longer insist that you all have to get stoned and listen to a tape of Iron Butterfly’s “In a Gadda Da Vida” played backwards.
Problem: You often find yourself needing to sit on the toilet for longer than it took John Glenn to orbit the Earth. And if you’re reading this and don’t know who John Glenn was, that’s also a problem.
Benefit: Finding out that Metamucil tastes just like Tang, the instant beverage invented for astronauts, so that now every morning you can pretend that you’re getting ready to blast off into space.