By Henry Briggs
Seventy-five is a round figure, even though it is an odd number. It’s 25 yards short of a touchdown. It’s a C in school, maybe a C+ if your teacher is nice. If you’re a senior in high school, it is guaranteed to keep you out of the top schools. (“A 75?… well, I don’t know if you’re Princeton material. Why not try Penn State?”)
On the other hand, it’s a nearly perfect temperature; warm enough for a T-shirt and a pleasant walk. Of course, if you’re in a place where 75 is the temperature at 7:30 in the morning, not so pleasant by noon.
As an age, 75 is not something people aspire to, compared, say, to 25. At that age you’ve graduated from college, if that was your goal, or are well into a career. Some people have kids by the time they’re 25, which is way cool. Kids once involved marriage, but now, not so much. Which is OK, because the divorce rate has dropped.
At 25, too, your body is in high tune. Pro athletes do really well, for example, because all the parts work well and together. Unlike when you turn 50.
Fifty is when body parts start complaining, but just a little. Most of us ignore the complaints because, well, 50 is the new 40; right? And at 40, nothing really hurts except if you’re a guy, your pride when a 25-year old waitress calls you “sir.”
All adult women look 25 to 30, even when they’re 50, unless they have avoided the dentist for 25 years or smoke.
Fifty is when you have completed all the courses of life, from “Life 101” through “Life 301,” so you know all the answers. It’s also when you offer those answers to your kids, who treat them like aged fruit.
In our society, just getting close to 50 is when employers start looking for any excuse to fire you, not because you suddenly got lousy at your job, but because they want to duck health insurance and pensions. So you invest more heavily in hair dye (yes, guys, too) and engage in water cooler talk about the last marathon you ran.
Women are very adept at dodging age markers. They use make-up, silicone and Botox. It’s not fair, of course, but neither are women — if you’re a guy. At the same time, what’s really unfair is nature enabling most men to not show their age, which makes you wonder about the moniker “Mother Nature.”
If nature really IS a woman, wouldn’t she stick it to men more than to women? Where’s the loyalty? You don’t really settle into 50 until you reach 60. That’s because (let’s hear it now), “My friends all tell me I look 10 years younger!”
By 60, you’re starting to realize you’ve claimed 50 for a decade and counting, and maybe the lies — excuse me, spelling error — lines have become more prominent. That’s when you don’t just join the gym; you actually start going five days a week.
Also at 60 you realize you flunked “Life 201” and “Life 301,” but it’s OK. You’re now old enough to exude disdain when a 50-year-old starts mouthing off.
Seventy-year-olds have one goal: avoiding 80 at all costs. This is the time that men start thinking about Botox and chin lifts, and women start thinking about moving to France. Plus, everyone starts gravitating from physical gymnastics to mental gymnastics. (Sometime after 80, no one remembers anything, so no worries.)
People who are 75 rarely talk about it. They’re too traumatized by their friends and family who invariably insist on a big bash involving not just the family but neighbors as well. So instead of being able to (metaphorically) go softly into this good night, they have to pretend 75 is really cool and fun and their feet don’t hurt.
On the other hand, 75 is also a chance to take pride in the two or three generations you added to the population explosion. What’s more, you’re old enough to be blameless should any of them rob a bank or take the President’s name in vain. Plus, you can legitimately lust after a 70-year-old.
I, of course, wouldn’t know much about any of these ages beyond what I’ve read and heard from my elders. Starting at around 55, I decided getting old was for the weak of mind. So every birthday, I drop a year instead of adding one.
Skips the whole problem of getting old.
Contact Henry Briggs, an aging local freelance writer, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Briggs says he is only 57, but he also has dyslexia and may see numbers backwards, so the “57” may be, as Donald Trump would say, an “alternative fact.”