In this age of Botox and cryonic preservation of bodies, it's no wonder that someone (Catherine Mayer, in #5 of "10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now," Time, March 23, 2009) has coined a new term: "Amortality." "It's more than just the ripple effect of baby boomers' resisting the onset of age. Amortality is a stranger, stronger alchemy, created by the intersection of that trend with a massive increase in life expectancy and a deep decline in the influence of organized religion--all viewed through the blue haze of Viagra."
"Amortal" is Mayer's term for those who seem to "live in the same way, at the same pitch, doing and consuming much the same things, from late teens right up until death." One example is singer Madonna. The idea is apparantly a quest never to get old or slow down, no matter what.
As a woman well beyond baby boomer age, I have had some years to learn to deal with the aging process, and I neither expect or want to live forever. I have slowed down in many ways, and I have no desire to be a human dynamo--or an amortal. Being old has its perks. Those of us fortunate enough to have planned for our "golden years" ("amortals rarely make adequate provision for their final years") enjoy the luxury of not working. I, for one, try to keep active, but I have no desire to be "on the go" all the time, like a few of my contemporaries.
I wonder if the typical amortal knows the joys of reclining with a good book and a view of Lake Michigan on a sunny day? How about the occasional half-day spent at the computer in an old robe and without makeup, bloogging about whatever comes to mind?
I'm all for happy, healthy aging, but it seems to me that some retirees try too hard. The idea of being booked with constant activities, whether bridge, golf, shuffleboard, or even cultural events, to name just a few possibilities, makes me tired. I admit to being a loner with reclusive tendencies, but I do make sure to get out from time to time.
To the baby boomers and my fellow elders, my advice is to relax. Don't slow down too much, but listen to your mind and your body. Do you really want to play bridge again? Are three concerts in a week too many? Are you always tired? I, for one, am mortal, and I'll do my best to prolong and enjoy the aging process. Trying to be an amortal is not for me.
Copyright 2009 by Marlys Marshall Styne