If you read a recent article on the subject of the elderly being too wealthy you would be tempted to believe that most of the under 50s population would like us all to be euthanised. How dare we have pensions? How dare we own our properties? How dare we have holidays? Problem is though-will they be so enthusiastic regarding geriatricide when their own turn comes?
As an attempting-to-stay-fit 60 something it is my own intention to get the most out of however many years there are left whilst trying hard not to lean too heavily on either the state or my own offspring when bodily malfunctions occur.
So-health advice then; what should I do or not do to keep out of the doctor’s surgery? Since I became an adult there has never been a shortage of advice on how to stay healthy. Here, in no particular order, is a selection of warnings and recommendations:
- Wear a seat belt
- Don’t eat eggs
- Eat eggs
- Eat curly kale
- Drink a glass of wine every day
- Don’t drink alcohol every day
- Stay out the sun
- Wear sunscreen
- Sunshine gives you cancer
- Lack of sunshine is bad for you
- Smoke menthol cigarettes
- Don’t smoke
- Coffee is bad for you
- Coffee is good for you
- Walk 10,000 steps
- Don’t eat fat, eat carbs
- Don’t eat carbs, eat fat
- Don’t eat processed meat
- Don’t eat butter, eat margarine
- Don’t eat margarine, eat butter
- Exercise your brain
- Get enough sleep
- Don’t have too much sleep
- Fruit is good for you
- Don’t eat fruit
There is a lot more advice. There is so much advice you can waste several years of your life sitting down to read it.
If you’ve been diligent enough to have read the list you’ll have noticed the conflicting pieces. Take the butter/margarine snippet. Twenty years ago we were all bludgeoned into shunning butter in favour of healthy, heart-loving margarine. The manufacturers of brands such as ‘Flora’ rubbed their hands in glee as we made faithful inroads into their stocks. And now? Now margarine is the dastardly enemy and must be ostracised for the manufactured upstart it always was.
The problem, for those of us of a certain age is that if we have striven to follow guidelines and warnings we have done all sorts of things wrong. We ate eggs, we didn’t eat eggs, we drank wine [with an enthusiasm that contradicts current thinking], we gave up coffee, we eschewed fat in favour of carbs. Presumably then, we’ve done untold damage to ourselves by following the advice? What are we to do?
Perhaps we should pursue the authorities, the powers that be for compensation. ‘You told us to eat margarine!’ we should say. ‘Look what it’s done to us!’
I wonder what their response would be?