I became an octogenarian today (5-20-2015). 80 years seems a long time. I should be in a wheelchair or holding onto a walker, drooling into my beard. Instead I hike approximately two hours for five days per week in state forests near where I live, can do 50 push-ups, have practically no arthritis, not senile yet, I don’t think, though you might think otherwise if you continue reading.
People my age often are criticized as slow thinkers. But we have much more data on our cerebral hard disks than young whippersnappers. It takes longer to sift through. But experience matters.
My 80 years have passed quickly. I’m almost a century old. 20 centuries have transpired since the birth of Christ. It doesn’t seem a long time from the viewpoint of my life. Rapid change evidently has been continuous throughout history.
For me, the greatest benefit of getting old is interesting perspectives that have developed during eight decades observing people and society in continual transformation.
The world has altered drastically in my lifetime. I grew up in a cold water tenement in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Tenants had to heat their own hot water on stoves. Tenants also had to supply their own heat. We had a potbelly coal stove. Air conditioning was unknown.
No such thing as television or commercial jet travel when I was a kid. No electric typewriters either, never mind computers with word processing programs. If people had telephones, most were on party lines. I remember when automatic transmissions came onto the market, greeted by skepticism.