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Age = Wisdom

2001-12-07 15:28:50+00 by Dan Lyke 10 comments

It occurred to me the other day that in cultures where age was equated with wisdom, I'm roughly at the average life expectancy.

[ related topics: Dan's Life ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:35+00 by: rebecca blood

in the structures of everyday life, fernand braudel makes the case that the *average* life expectancy is just that: an average. it is calculated including all of the deaths of all the children who die before the age of 5--a large number in a pre-technological society. in other words, it's skewed down.

he says that the age composition of an agrarian culture would look pretty much like ours, since if you made it through the dangerous childhood years, you were HARDY, and you'd likely live a long time.

you've gotta get off this "I'm so middle-aged" kick, dan. you're bringing me down. :)

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:35+00 by: Dan Lyke

It seems like the high end has always been in the 70s or 80s, but I'll have to go check out your reference, 'cause my impression is that even if you remove infant mortality, early 30s is a reasonable expectation in most tribal societies.

And it's not me in the "I'm so middle-aged" thing, at least not 'til this, I was just reporting my body state, and everyone else is saying "welcome to middle age."

I guess it's really a reminder that I need to stop wasting my time in my current gig and get on with life. Some steps were taken yesterday, although they were taken by someone else and I'm not sure that simply falling into the next obvious thing, even when that's what's served my career best in the past, is the right way to go.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:35+00 by: rebecca blood

everyone else is saying "welcome to middle age."

my advice is to start ignoring that right now. the minute you hit 30 people start throwing your age at you as if you've switched into a brand-old creaky body on your birthday. forget it.

blah. your body is more affected by the way you treat it than it is by any birthday. and your mind? you have total control over that one, and in fact you gain an advantage as you gain life experience, especially when you make time to reflect on the things you've seen and done. as long as you're doing interesting things, you're having an interesting life.

some people will package you into a little box no matter what you do and you can go along with it if you like; my experience is that it's much more fun to dismiss their preconceptions and do what you like, on your own terms.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:35+00 by: Dan Lyke

Actually, rather than ignoring it I'm using it as impetus to get back into exercising, to drop my weight a bit, to realize that I can't just rely on the glory days, that those things are all a function of current behavior.

Although I think I exercise, this three doctor's visits in three years thing has reminded me that biking up Tam three or four times a year does not mean I bike up Tam regularly, the fact that I can still get a boat mostly down the South Fork of the American means I'm an ex-whitewater guide, not a whitewater guide.

Middle age as an attitude has snuck up on me while I was saying "it's a state of mind, not a chronology." That's the frightening bit, and that's what I really have to address.

#Comment made: 2001-12-07 19:48:18+00 by: Jerry Kindall [edit history]

You don't have total control over your mind, sad to say. I used to be bothered when people would come out of movies and get lines from the movie they just saw completely wrong. Now, ten years later, I find I don't even notice. My memory is now merely above-average, instead of nigh-photographic. I do still occasionally pull some feats of memory that shock people (a couple of years ago I told a friend in what drawer of HIS desk to look for a computer cable he needed, after having had a fleeting glimpse in that drawer while I was visiting him a couple days previously) but those times are getting rarer and rarer. I can feel my mind going, Dave.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:35+00 by: Larry Burton

About that age thing... it wasn't hitting thirty or even hitting forty that told me I was getting old. It was hitting the ice while skating and taking a month to get over all of the soreness that told me I was getting old. Life will tell us when we are at the next phase, we don't need the calender to do it.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:36+00 by: Dori

the minute you hit 30 people start throwing your age at you as if you've switched into a brand-old creaky body on your birthday.

Whereas the actual age of collapse is 40. I've had more surgeries in the 4 months since that particular milestone than I had in my entire life previously.

So don't fret, Dan, you've got lots of time yet.

#Comment made: 2001-12-08 01:21:34+00 by: crasch [edit history]

Exercise and healthy eating can go a long way toward decreasing the decrepitude of age, as this picture of Clarence Bass at age 60 illustrates:

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:36+00 by: Jerry Kindall

Damn, the JPEG artifacts sure do get bad when you hit sixty.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:33:36+00 by: ebradway

I highly recommend Ashtanga Yoga. I know you've done a bit of yoga, but have you tried Ashtanga?