Are you thrilled to be living at this moment in time? If not, why not?

Please do not cough up a hairball enumerating the seemingly countless reasons for how unhealthy, corrupt and self-centered the world has become. If you can look past the negatives, there are as many positives to living in the twenty-first century.

But before we begin, cease your caterwauling long enough to consider the following:

  1. There was a time when the ripe old age of thirty was the best one could hope to reach; few managed to do so. Why? Life sucked. People lived in squalor. They walked on streets covered with trash and sewage and breathed the resulting polluted air.
  2. Decent food was only in abundance for the lords and ladies of the realm while the serfs starved. But all was not perfect in the rarified lives of the wealthy either. Considering the overall lack of sanitary conditions, who knows how many of those lords and ladies died of salmonella poisoning and other mysterious nasties.
  3. Let’s not forget the working conditions of those “good old days.” People  — men, women, and even children worked until they dropped dead. There was no Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or Labor Department to prevent barbaric and abusive practices. If you wanted to eat (even if it was rotting food), you worked.

But replacements were in abundance as well because the only recreation available to the downtrodden was bad booze and activities connected to procreation.

  1. The lack of medical knowledge and barbaric medical practices were closer to voodoo than science.

The “doctors” believed most illnesses were the result of an imbalance in the Four Humors or the metabolic agents of the Four Elements in the human body — Air, Water, Fire, Earth. The cure was leaching. This practice required the extraction of the presumed bad blood using leaches or to cut and bleed the patient until he or she recovered.

Guess what? Lose enough blood and you die!

Although some may prefer simpler times, many of the things listed above are gone and changed for the better. The alternative for the mulish among us who yearn for those good old days is to live the lifestyle of the Middle Ages, wallow in the slogging stagnation of mind, body, spirit, and filth. Let’s see how long they last.

In the twenty-first century, sixty is considered middle age. People take better care of themselves and are healthier. At least, some people take care of themselves. (With all the possibilities available, why some choose the path of overindulgence, and the resulting consequences is perplexing.)

Today, it is not uncommon for folks to live into their eighties and beyond. Modern medical advances, education, abundant food, and the less brutal lifestyle of today play a large part in our longevity.

In spite of all the progress mankind has made, there is an annoying downside we must deal with whether we like it or not. Too many people and entities seem to know almost everything about us.

If you doubt this, then check your mail on your fiftieth birthday or even before. The ubiquitous and annoying AARP threatens to bury folks, before their time, with mailings. The letters welcome them to the Slippery Slope Club. The organization focuses on the obvious. You are getting older. No kidding. It is still preferable to the alternative.

With each passing year, people are constantly reminded “You are approaching your expiration date.” In case those buttinski folks did not notice, everything has an expiration date. The know-it-alls who attempt to control every aspect of our lives remind us of that fact, often.

While some age more gracefully than others, why must everybody and their dog try to get in on the action, to make a profit off an inevitability of life?

Older people complain about letters offering to make their funeral arrangements, for a price. The Neptune Society presents an ecologically preferred solution, cremation. Such thoughtful and toasty suggestions must surely warm the cockles of the recipient’s heart. Or raise their blood pressure.

Expiration is an inevitability, even for con artists.


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