Friday, October 3, 2014

When Is Too Old?

by Deanna

Still Paints & Makes Jewelry

Recently an article appeared in the Atlantic Monthly (a magazine that I don’t subscribe to) that has found it’s way into numerous newspapers, the internet and quoted by many columnists. Basically the article, written by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel brother to Rahm Emanuel, Chicago’s mayor and former White House Chief of Staff under our current president, stated that Dr. Emanuel did not want to live beyond the age of 75.  Being an oncology doctor I am sure he has seen many people suffering with cancer going to great lengths to prolong their lives and he believes strongly that after the age of 75 your chances of being an asset to our society significantly decreases.  After the targeted age of 75 our chances of developing Alzheimer’s and Heart Disease drastically increase and our worths decline.  The longer we live, the more of a drain on society we become.  We become less creative, less original and our productivity is modest at best.  So by dying at 75 we save the world from a boatload of trouble and expense. 

Enjoying a Jazz Concert

Since I am just shy of that noteworthy number, this article rattled my still sharp brain, in fact prompted by this article I participated in a “memory test” a couple of days ago and scored 100%, altho I do forget why I enter a room occasionally.  I chalk that up to a too “full” brain and sometimes it just spills out.  It wasn’t until my late 60’s that I began my photography journey and making friends around the world through blogging entered my life about the time I approached 70.  Now that 72 is looming, it saddens me to think that according to Dr. Emanuel I will be pretty much worthless in 3 years.  It is now October and I haven’t even reached the minimum deductible for Medicare, so right now I am far from being a drain on society.   I am not bragging, I am just stating a fact that there are many of us in this “age” category that are still viable, contributing members of society and that 75 may not be the age to “check out”.   

Still a consulting surgeon

I am not going to point out the contributions that Ronald Reagan, John Glenn, Dr. Charles DeBakey, Barbara McClintock a Nobel Prize winner in genetics, Oliver Wendell Holmes, George Bernard Shaw, Michelangelo, Barbara Hillary the first African-American woman who reached both the North & South Poles after conquering cancer after the age of 75, Maya Angelou, and for heavens sake Betty White, who were all extremely accomplished after the age of 75.   If all of us “checked out” at 75 our world would be a different place without these meaningful contributors.


So just maybe as Dr. Emanuel, who is only 57 years of age now, begins to draw closer to that infamous age of 75, his perspective on being an asset to society might change.  I don't believe at this time the Dr. has any grandchildren.  If in the future, grandchildren enter his circle of life, my bets are that 75 will be just another birthday and he will be thanking God to still be here, enjoying & loving life.



22 comments:

Barbara said...

A brilliant piece Deanna.

La Vie Quotidienne said...

Excellent. There is no age limit to what people can contribute to society. Creativity simply doesn't stop as the years go by.

Sherri B. said...

I absolutely love this post. 75 can still be a vibrant and healthy time of life, filled with dreams and possibilities. To insinuate otherwise is deeply offensive to me. My parents are both 75, and more active now than ever. Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts, Deanna.

Cathy said...

Wonderful post Deanna.

terriporter said...

Yes, the older we get, the younger 75 looks! And you are so right about how many people of this age have and are still contributing great things. So much depends on attitude and finding joy in your life and you, my dear, are the youngest "going on 75" person I know!

Linda/patchwork said...

75 looks younger and younger, from where I'm looking.
You're right about all the people who contributed valuable things to society, after that 'worthless' age.
I certainly wouldn't want this man as my doctor, while I was fighting for my life.

seabluelens said...

Wonderful post, and I completely agree with you. It's funny how our definition of "old" evolves, the older we get. I hope for Dr. Emanuel's sake that his beliefs don't become a self-fulfilling prophecy in his life. Of course no one wants to become chronically ill or lose their mental faculties and become a burden on others, but that's a far cry from expecting it to happen...and at a certain age, no less. I'm sure not buying it!

gina said...

Thank you for this wonderful and important post. What serendipity! I just read his article yesterday and wanted to discuss it with someone. My first thought, after reading it, was that when he has grandchildren he will change his mind! Now in my late 60s, I feel very strong and youthful with a long list of things I want to accomplish. Aging is a different for everyone, based on our genetics, diet, and self care. I don't want to live if I am totally helpless and mentally incompetent. I watched my father succumb to Alzheimer's disease, and it was heart wrenching. But he was in his 90s, and so I hope to live a vibrant and active life for at least 20 more years.

Rosie Grey said...

This is a wonderful post, Deanna, and I absolutely agree with you!

Dotti said...

Okay, gals ... All we have to do is remember Grandma Moses and we'll know they can't put us out to pasture that easily! It's true, though; 75 today is much younger than it was, say, 75 years ago. Life expectancy has increased so why should expectations of productivity decrease? Excellent, thought-provoking post, Deanna. And I agree with Terri: you are the youngest 72 year old I know. You have more energy than I do at 6 years younger!

Lisa Gordon said...

Really great post, Deanna.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

AFishGirl said...

Deanna, I hope and pray I am the cool chick you are at your age. You have inspired me from the very beginning of my photo journey. And hey, Fishboy is 74. I'm not putting him to pasture either. Age. It's' all relative, really. Cheers to all ages and I imagine this doctor will soften as he ages, one can only hope.

Sarah Carletti said...

Amen Sister!

Lynne said...

Excellent Deanna . . . Got my dander up a bit having celebrated my 75th birthday this past June. I certainly think I have plenty left to learn and offer to my family and society. I certainly don't feel I am a drain on others. I garden with gusto, drive my John Deere mower once, sometimes twice a week and I wouldn't dream of asking someone else to do it. One of my favorite things to do! I enjoy using the hand saw tp cut up some of the wood in the woods behind our house. Excellent exercise for my arms, (although chicken wings are appearing.) down hill skiing, bicycling, walking, yoga are just some of the many other activities I enjoy! I think "the doc" better read your thoughts and see all of our comments!

Jeanne said...

A great and noteworthy share and shame on the guy who wrote that srticle

susan said...

well said! beautiful post deanna... and your images are stunning!

Sarah Huizenga said...

75 seems way too young now days to be checking out. Goodness that means that I would have lost my dad four years ago and he is still actively out tending to his bees, he has been a beekeeper for over 30 years. He still goods out into the woods and cuts down trees, splits them and uses them for fire wood to heat their house every winter. He is still way to active at 79 almost 80 to have bagged it at 80. Plus he needs to be there on that special day when Mallory walks down that aisle. They have a very special relationship and it will mean the world to her to have him there.

Larraine said...

My mother is 90. So is my father-in-law. Neither of them wants to die. My mother has daily pain with arthritis from the neck down. She uses pain patches, but is never out of pain. Yet, she is active in her retirement community. She reads, watches television, participates in activities, does her own taxes, and more. My father-in-law isn't doing as well, but he's still ok even though his short term memory isn't good. I'm 67 years old. Would I want to live only another 8 years? I had weight loss surgery in 2008 followed by double knee replacement in 2009. I'm going on a Kelby photowalk next week. I love to get out and do things. Frankly, I think this doc really meant people who are seriously ill at 75. I was at a family party on my husband's side of the family yesterday. Most of the people were seniors in their 70's and 80's. Some have some medical issues, but they all seem to be enjoying life. I really wonder sometimes if some people THINK before they write.

dinascitywildlife.com said...

75 is the new 60! My mom's best friend was dancing right before she dies at 103 years old. She made everyone laugh and had many friends.

Roxi Hardegree said...

Thanks for this Deanna. At nearly 60, I've been struggling with being too old for my dream.

Barb said...

Thanks for speaking my mind, Deanna!

Sandra said...

A lovely article on 'not ageing'! I feel exactly the same way! Remaining interested in life and trying out new things and letting our creativity open new doors is a sure way of remaining young and active!

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