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    Aging calls for big bluffing
    by Beth Boswell Jacks

    Here comes that dratted birthday again. I've decided my special day in January has got to be the most persistent day on the calendar. No kidding, the date won't go away, comes around much too often, and obviously skips through twelve months faster than I can. Blink an eye and it's back -- just like a bad relative.

    But I'm a Capricorn, the stubborn billygoat, the type of personality who digs in, won't budge, and insists on "baaa-ing" myths like senility.

    Senility IS a myth, you know. I just read all about it in Robin Henig's book, HOW A WOMAN AGES. Funny someone has to explain aging to me. I should know everything there is to know, but the billygoat in me kicks the stew out of any mean suggestion that I'm not really still nineteen.

    And so I devoured the chapter that describes how senility is most certainly a myth. Here's the good news according to Ms. Henig:

    "Most older people are as smart at 70 as they were at 30. And in tests of accumulated knowledge, such as vocabulary or board games like Trivial Pursuit, they actually may be smarter. 'Senility,' that catch-all diagnosis that has come to mean confusion, forgetfulness and disorientation in old age, is by no means inevitable. For the vast majority of men and women, old age brings with it only a few intellectual changes -- slowness, forgetfulness and absentmindedness -- that are, by and large, quite easily compensated for."

    Darn right. In fact, I've figured the whole compensating thing out.

    My theory is called . . . bluffing.

    If you can bluff your way through aging, my friends, you'll never actually grow old. For example, what is the first thing we do in the morning? We drag out of bed, of course, which turns out to be the first big bluff. We wake up, yawn and stretch, and tell ourselves that we must get up and get going lest the world fall to pieces without our input.

    Bluffffff - errrr!

    Then we brush our teeth and grin in the mirror, noting nothing amiss because we haven't yet put our glasses on. Another bluff.

    We stumble to the kitchen, hit the coffeemaker button, then mix some instant apple/cinnamon oatmeal and pour a small glass of orange juice, thereby pretending we've gone to some trouble to prepare a decent breakfast. Nothing like a home-cooked meal to start the day.

    Liar, liar, pants on fire. Have we not already kidded ourselves close to a half dozen times and we haven't had our feet on the floor ten minutes?

    Thus we continue through our day, bluffing like heck, and doing a good job of it, thank you very much, until bedtime when we crawl back into bed and snuggle down for another round of beauty sleep, assured we'll look simply grand in the morning with squinty eyes and red gel toothpaste dripping down our chins.

    Bluffing is nothing more than pretending all is well and ignoring what isn't. Over the years I've learned that if one pretends something often enough, a transformation can occur. As my pal Sank Powe says, "Yo' sad britches can just as well be glad britches."

    Pretending? Bluffing? Call it that . . . or call it eliminating the negative.

    "If you want to maintain intellectual vigor throughout a lifetime," writes Ms. Henig, "have a sunny attitude and use your brain. This means setting up mental challenges again and again to keep the mind agile and flexible. There's nothing like involvement for staying young, interested and alive."

    Me? Another year older and creakier on my January birthday? Naaaa, I'll just be another year better. And, for the moment, I'm pretending I ain't bluffin'.


    Editor of USADEEPSOUTH, Beth Boswell Jacks is the author of 3 books (Grit, Guts, and Baseball and Snippets I and II) and is also a weekly columnist for a number of Southern newspapers. Readers and editors may contact her at bethjacks@hotmail.com

    Read about Beth's SNIPPETS books -- two collections of her columns.

    For more of Beth's stories at USADS, click here:

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    Or want to "search inside" the SNIPPETS books for a certain subject or theme?
    You can! Just CLICK HERE.

    And check this one out! Forget Your Troubles ~ C'mon, Get Older!

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