Letter: Advantages Of Being Older


Old age may make us cut back on some of our activities, but it also has some advantages. One of these is that we have had more experiences and therefore have more memories.

If you think of reaching adulthood at age 18, someone age 78 has six times more adult memories than someone only 28. A 78-year-old has read six times more adult books and seen six times more adult movies than the 28-year-old and gone to six times more places of interest than the 28-year-old.

A 68-year-old has met twice as many people as a 43-year-old and attended twice as many parties.

Economic situations being equal, the 78-year-old has taken three times as many vacations as an adult than a 38-year-old.

If you are in your eighties, you can regale your younger friends, neighbors and relatives with tales of how things were in World War II. You can describe air raids and food rationing and price regulation and shortages of meat and food rationing. Perhaps you even had a “victory garden.” You can recount your memories of the bombing of Hiroshima and the celebration of the end of the war and the return of veterans.

Probably, you have memories of going to a ball game at Ebbets Field. Or maybe going to the opera at the old Metropolitan Opera House in downtown Manhattan (and seeing actors and actresses and hearing famous singers from many years ago). You may have recollections of the 1939 Worlds Fair in Flushing.

Even if you are only in your forties or fifties, you have an advantage if you have lived in the same house for decades. You know most of the families on your block and when they moved in and who used to live there before (and all of the gossip, which, of course, you will not tell). You may even have seen the potato fields that were there before the houses were built.

—Eleanor Krebs

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