Columnist Loretta LaRoche says she wasn’t all that surprised to read that brain shrinkage comes with aging. She says it only makes sense, given what’s happening to the rest of her body.
I recently read an article in Discover magazine about the aging brain. It stated that “recent studies suggest that the total loss in brain volume due to atrophy – a wasting away of tissue caused by cell degeneration – between our teen years and old age is 15 percent or more, which means that by the time we’re in our 70s, our brains have shrunk to the size they were when we were between 2 and 3 years old.”
“Why not?” I thought. Everything else in my body is going toward toddlerhood, why not my brain? If I didn’t have a sense of humor, I would start wearing a black shroud, sit in a corner and weep over the insanity called aging. Oh, there are always the metaphors to fall back on, like “aging is like a fine wine; it only gets better” and “with age comes wisdom.” Who cares? How can these statements be true if my brain is reversing itself while my body parts are starting to look like an aging toddler?
It seems to start with menopause for women. I don’t know about men, since they keep their physical problems to themselves for the most part. Menopause is like reverse puberty. Instead of the body being flooded by a tsunami of hormones, the reverse happens. Sleep patterns change, body parts shift, and you can start losing height. I often think I’m eventually going to be a hobbit. Perhaps that could be the beginning of a new career.
Joints start creaking, and in my case, every time I turn my neck I feel like someone’s shot me with a BB gun.
The irony is that I spent a lot of years teaching aerobics, cycling and playing tennis. But it seems I have a gene marker that predisposes me to arthritis. Lucky me. One of the orthopedic doctors referred to the condition as “decrepitis.” Doesn’t that sound appealing?
Meanwhile we’re bombarded with advertisements for products that promise to give you smooth skin, and for supplements that have the power to reverse almost every condition and also extend life. Personally, I think I’m going to create products that are in alignment with what’s really happening. How about binkies that taste like a martini, clothing that has room and can be shortened to accommodate height loss with just a pair of scissors, and some nice lullabies sung by Mick Jagger, Vince Gill or Michael Buble, for those nights when you’re staring at the ceiling?
Your choice. If you can remember.
Author, humorist, PBS star and Fortune 500 trainer Loretta LaRoche lives in Plymouth, Mass. To share your pet peeves, questions or comments, write to The Humor Potential, 50 Court St., Plymouth, MA 02360. E-mail her, visit her website at www.stressed.com or call 800-998-2324.