"If your biggest fear is getting older, the best thing that can happen to you is getting older," Tracy Moore says on Jezebel. Utter poppycock. As any forty-plus person would tell you, you should and will hate getting older.
Of course you will. Fear it and hate it. And let's not talk about the idea of not being here in this world anymore, of disappearing from the universe, of ceasing to exist—good bye, you are dead. See you never! The whole proposition of life as we know it feels like the biggest and cruelest prank ever imagined. There's no way around that. To pop into this world just to disappear a few decades later, to descend into decrepitude just when you're starting to realize what life is all about, when the fun starts, really makes no sense whatsoever.
Getting old is bad. I'm forty. It's terrible. It hurts. "It happens so slowly that you don't really notice at all," says Tracy. Lies, sweet lies. You notice it. It doesn't happen slowly at all. Once you hit 38, it's all downhill from there—fast. At forty, it accelerates to Warp 7. No matter how much you take care of yourself, no matter how much you meditate about your precarious place in the world, your inevitable decadence and your eventual disappearance into a hole in the dirt or a cremation furnace, a hell on Earth burning at 1600–1800 °F, you will notice it. And the older you get, the worse it gets and the more fear you will feel. There's nothing that sucks more in the world—except seeing the people you love get old or die. That comes with age too.
If you're young and all this seems like an abstract concept, it's ok. It will all make sense very soon because your 20s will disappear in a snap. And your 30s will feel gone two days after you start them. I'm dreading my 50s already.
But don't get depressed! These are all reasons to rejoice, to embrace the now. It sounds like the worst fortune cookie in a Chinese restaurant that's about to give you explosive diarrhea, but that's how it is. Forget about the future. Screw the past. Write this on your mirror. Paste it on your stupid iPhone. This very minute is all that counts.
Don't believe Tracy's "getting older is the best thing that can happen to you" feel good gibberish. Don't let yourself fall into that trap. Don't get comfy. Don't fall asleep, because like the Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno once said: "when you're sleep, you're not. And to be—that's everything." Maybe I'm oversensitive about this because I'm a Spaniard—New York jazz musician Ben Sidran sung about in a live album about Federico García Lorca: "in Spain one's not truly living unless one's truly dying." It's true.
But I digress. If your biggest fear is getting older, that's perfectly fine. You're completely right to be fearful. Embrace the angst, then put it aside quickly and enjoy your youth. It's the last one you will ever have.
Photo of Walter Breuning, former "World's Oldest Man, laughing at his 113th birthday party on September 21, 2009," by Getty Images. If he weren't dead, he would be laughing today, reading what's below these lines.