Friday, May 26, 2006

The prime of your life

Today we heard about FDA approval of a new shingles vaccine for people over 60. Shingles is a devastating illness which hits older people. It causes intense pain, and often the nerve sheath damage is so great that it never goes away. There is no painkiller which works, so news of a vaccine is wonderful.

The phrase "the prime of your life" is applied so often, and it seems to mean whatever age you are now. Parents say it to children when they are twenty, spouses at thirty or forty. The reality is that these days, the prime of your life can easily be in your fifties, sixties or even seventies. People today can have remarkable physical fitness, mental acuity, energy, and a powerful knowledge base as they reach ages at which a hundred years ago they would have been regarded as old.

Yet, society does not make good use of these people. FOr each middle-aged person who is underused because of age perception, we are hurting ourselves and society.

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