By Jesse Anson Dawn
Tips on Keeping Mind and Body Young
Jesse Anson Dawn,age 55, author of the national award-winning book, Never "Old", speaks out about a most stirring subject: how and why we age.
Presently answering the question:
"In a recent column you mentioned the 'number game' of birthdays. Can you elaborate on how such a 'game' affects us?"
Now that we're focusing on the various number-labels of people's "ages," again I'm wondering why we so often say that people "turn" 20 or 25 but are "pushing" 40 or 50? Is it because numbers numb us so much that we wind-up lugging them around as if they fill a wheelbarrow that gets heavier with each "birthday?" And what's the big deal about "birthdays" anyway? - for along with getting tagged with a new number, it's a day traditionally spent gorging on sugary junk-food or booze, perhaps over-celebrating to the point of getting ill - which is why I've come to un-celebrate birthdays and call them barfdays.
But anyway, aren't birthdays mainly a childhood thing, a truly glad occasion only when a new number doesn't automatically signal physical decline? And why are we asked how "old" we are instead of "what's your age?" How "old" indeed. And also, if we truly are continuously re-creating the cells of our body (and we are), then wouldn't it make more sense to call "birthdays" rebirthdays?
And why do forms and applications so often ask one's "date of birth" (which in my case is May 17th), but when it comes to "what year?" - actually it's EVERY YEAR, because every day of every year our bodies truly ARE reborn! But not according to the numbers game a game which seems to affect us in one of two ways: we can be either a D.O.W.N. a (Dumped On With Numbers) victim, or an U.P. (an Unnumbered Person). And maybe as Unnumbered People we can see "aging" more clearly and objectively, clearly enough to realize that it's never too late in the game to let some fresh air into the dusty attic of habitual prejudgements - a refreshed view which can change everything we do.
THE NUMBING NUMBERS GAME
In most modern societies the numb-ers game begins soon after birth, whereby we receive a nine or ten-digit "Social Security" number, one of several multiple-digit numbers we are supposed to memorize along with our telephone number and of course our house or apartment number. But that's only the beginning, for when our years reach 5 or 6 and we begin some sort of "official" education, we receive our first test score numbers which are usually followed by some kind of intelligent quotient ("IQ") number, plus various mathematical formulas and dates in "history" - followed by a barrage of confusing battle-date and "discovery" numbers.
Then comes an important number - 16 - the time we're supposed to be able to drive plus receive a license plate number, soon followed by number 18 when we may graduate high school and even vote. And then comes 21, a significant number as it enables people to drink booze legally (but NOT to drive after drinking, lest we get assigned a prison uniform number for surpassing an alcohol level number which requires our arrest).
At any rate, at age 21 the numbers really start to pile up, whereby we need to memorize such things as bank machine "PIN" (personal identity numbers), plus checking, savings account and credit card numbers - and don't let us forget what day of the month it is so we can write that number on checks and letters - and then there's our tax ID number and for many years there are fax numbers, file entrance code and E-mail numbers and the increasingly popular lottery and bingo numbers.
And now there's even the customary grading of people from 1 to 10 by our "looks" and of course our regular checking of the number of pounds we are. And God forbid we should ever let go of the number that gets more and more difficult to admit every 12 months the number of our so-called "age." And surely we'd better hurry along before the next number comes up because there's only x number of shopping days left until the new millennium! All of which leads me (at least once a week) to the beach where I curl up with a good book plus listen to the mighty ocean go WHOOOOSH - easing my mind of all those !*%#@!?! numbers!!
As again I wish you all happy rebirthday and as always, happy rejuvenating!
For the whole "anti-aging" story, Jesse Dawn's 258-page book, Never "Old" (nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and winner of the National Association of Independent Publishers Award for Content), can be quickly received by charge card. Simply call World Changing Books at (800) RENEW-22 (736-3922) or send a check for $11.95 (includes book, first-class postage and handling) made out to World Changing Books and mail to P.O. Box 5491, Hilo, HI 96720.
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