By Jug Varner

Recently I received a service news article written by an active duty Army lad in his early 40s, lamenting how swiftly time etches the body. He could not get over (nor accept) the fact that he is sprouting a gray hair here and there, and weighs a bit more than he did at 20. Well, duh!

Somehow his self-discovery did not elicit any sympathy from this end of the age spectrum, inasmuch as I have three kids older than he is!. My first reaction was to send him an offer to trade ages with him, provided I can keep my own brain.

Most folks in my “senior” bracket believe one of the primary problems in our American culture is this lopsided accent on youth. Frankly, in my own experience, I believe the last 50 years are better than the first 50, all things considered.

But, thanks to this youth fixation, I suppose when young people reach 40 these days most of them think life has passed them by. Yeah, guys and girls, it's time to buy more insurance, compose a new will, and start writing those memoirs, because you only have 40 to 60 more years life expectancy!

I will admit that age sometimes seems to go faster as you get older, but this “kid” should get real. Yes, you're still a kid in your 40s. Rather than complain, start appreciating the good fortune of youth and health and vigor. It is a priceless gift. The proper response to such a wonderful gift should be to take better care of that “40-something” mind and body - by eating well, getting and staying fit, and eliminating debilitating habits.

Concentrate more on doing good things to make other people happy and get your mind off yourself. We are only as old as we will allow ourselves to be. Physical laws may say we have to grow older, but there is no law that says we have to “grow up.” Our thinking is what keeps us young or makes us old.

So, get a life! Get gray, shampoo regularly, and add something to make the silver shine! Gray hair is nothing to be ashamed of…and a lot better than bald, or shaved.

Now, after all of this pep talk, if you still can't come to terms with “gray,” just remember: “Old blondes never fade, they just dye away.”