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Sixty-Something: Getting Older Is Getting Better

T.J. Clemente

The author. (Courtesy Photo)

I won't say that being sixty is the new thirty. Having been thirty and now being sixty-something I know better. However what I will say is these days folks in their sixties are doing more things they did in their thirties than ever before. Why? Perhaps because getting older is getting better.

Sixty-something people are now going to the gym, jogging, riding bikes and practicing yoga. When I was thirty, that's thirty-five years ago (1983), I rarely saw sixty-something folks riding bikes, going to the gym, doing yoga or running marathons. Now it seems to be the norm. When you go to ski resorts or tennis clubs, the majority of the folks are over fifty not under that magical age.

At the Bay Street Gala Cocktail party this last summer I observed that although the crowd was definitely in the sixty-something range the crowd was vibrant. Seeing everyone smartly dressed and so full of energy, it had the feel of a college homecoming party.

When I say looking young I am not talking about looking younger as in plastic surgery, or hair plugs, or things cosmetically, although there is some of that. What I am talking about is the results of cardiovascular realities of healthy heartbeats. That is because today more sixty-somethings are regularly getting blood work and plotting healthier diets with their doctors to live longer. This practice enables them to be active and vital into the very late years.

Yes the overweight binge eating, two pack a day heavy drinkers are still out there. However, they most likely will not be celebrating a 75th birthday as will the 75-year-old folks who have watched themselves and took care of themselves. "Madison Avenue's" advertisers have done a wonderful job pushing that slogan, "You are only as old as you feel, and if you use our products you will feel great!" Count me as a convert because before I was fifty-five I don't remember ever eating granola and Greek yogurt - now I live on the stuff.

Living on the East End of Long Island one must address suntans, sun bathing, and being out in the sun. Lately the trend is sunblock, big hats, and UV protection long sleeve tops. I remember the days of using baby oil by the bottles at the beach. On a hot summer day there would be more oil on the bodies on the beach then there was in the Texas oil wells. The wisdom of protecting your skin from the sun is to first of all to prevent skin cancer yet others are concerned that too much sun makes you also age (skin-wise) prematurely.

I fondly remember going out to nightclubs and summer bars like the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett. When I was thirtyish older folks did not hang out at such live music late-night venues. Back in the day the only time sixty-something people used to dance was at weddings. We all remember our widowed aunts all dancing with each other on the dance floor. Now I go to the Beach Hut at Smith Point and it's packed with sixty-something people dancing, but almost no one under fifty is dancing. Most of the young are looking at their devices. The sixty-somethings are not only dancing, they are singing the words to the songs. I always was embarrassed when my dad would sing the words of Jim Croce's Leroy Brown, back in the days when it came on at weddings. Now everyone sings along except the young folks who only sing to certain rap songs. Then they wake up, point their fingers and shout out the lines.

Getting older is getting better because more people are taking better care of themselves. When former President George Herbert Walker Bush did that skydiving at 90-years-old, he was sending a message: take care of yourself and even real old folks can still have fun!

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