This is not a paean to aging or a discourse on why we should treasure our so-called “golden years.” I’m not a glass-half-full kind of guy so I’m not a great candidate for penning such a work. After all, I’m already suffering the ravages of time including GERD, two shot hips and a low-grade prostate cancer. Unlike some eager-beaver septuagenarians, I’m not going to try to convince you that turning 70 was the best thing that ever happened to me.
But I’m also not going to depress you with my litany of age-related defects to the point you’ll be reaching for the hemlock rather than welcoming your eighth decade. Just because the glass is no longer at the 50% mark doesn’t mean it’s completely empty.
There are lots of good reasons to be happy (or at least relieved) about turning 71. And I’m not just talking about the decline in testosterone which frees your mind from 24/7 thoughts of sex.
First up is the fact you can opt out of lots of disagreeable tasks. If someone asks you to help them move, you’re well within your rights to decline. If pushed, simply mention your bum hips, knees and/or shoulder, your hypertension and your atrophied muscle mass.
Anyone would be crazy to push the matter beyond that point. But if they do, hand them your lawyer’s business card and gently remind them of the potential legal liability should they persist in getting you to blow out one or both of your knees.
When that “friend” asks you to help him assemble his new gas barbecue, make like Nancy Reagan and “just say no.” And when that other “friend” wants you to help put together his new garden shed, hand him your list of medical excuses. Any painting job, of course, is a non-starter.
This “opt out” option is good for all manner of unwanted tasks. “Honey, could you take the garbage out to the curb?” says your spouse. “I’d love to, dear, but the doctor says not to strain my shoulder” you plaintively reply.
Similarly, at 71, you’ll usually have enough relevant ailments to avoid such annoying tasks as weeding, lawn mowing and tire changing. And with the seasonal changeover, you can likely also opt out of gutter cleaning, leaf raking and eventually snow shoveling.
Put on the car roof rack? I’d love to, but… Put the canoe on the rack? Ditto. Just go canoeing? No can do.
No more basement or crawl space storage explorations. And turning 71 can also mark the end of your career as a furniture re-arranger. Play your cards right and you may no longer have to use the vacuum cleaner.
Seventy-one can also signal your retirement from skiing, hiking and cottaging. With any luck, the most difficult tasks you’ll have to perform from now on are using the TV remote, moving the handle on your La-Z-Boy chair and opening that next can of beer. That and possibly signing your divorce petition.