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My friend and I were chatting yesterday about the modifications that we have had to endure since we turned 40.   We have modified our diets, since our metabolism is no longer able to keep up with our calorie intake, modified our lifestyle to accommodate the changing needs of our maturing family, modified our morning routine in front of the mirror to include sun screens, concealers, moisturizers, acne medication (of all things?!) not to mention daily use of tweezers and other beauty related accoutrements that were never required in the past.  

One modification that is perhaps less perceptible is in how people address our physical capabilities and appearance.   Very often phrases are modified with the word "still"   to indicate diminished or diminishing capacity.  More and more we hear phrases like "you are STILL young,  STILL fit, STILL capable, STILL sexy.  

It's like saying "That milk has been in the refrigerator for over a week but it is STILL fresh."   This is an indication that there is a real but fading opportunity to be taken advantage of.  (Drink the milk NOW for in a day or two it will not be fresh).

Strangely, my friend and I sometimes apply this modification to each other without thinking twice of its effect.   My friend has been trying for some time to conceive, each time she has a disappointing report,  I tell her that she STILL has time and that she can STILL get pregnant.   When I lament about the inability to find a suitable companion after six years of being single she replies " Well you STILL look good, so it can STILL happen."   Leaving me to wonder how much time I have left before that goodwill factored into those "STILLs"  runs out.  

It's true that the word "still" can also imply something that has increased in intensity as well.   When a man who says to his wife of 25 years  "You are STILL the most important thing in my life"  its hard to improve on that as a compliment.   But by far, the modifications have been of the other kind.  The kind that reminds us of our increasing fragility and (dare I say) mortality.    

But despite the modifiers and other creeping reminders of our waning youth, one thing STILL holds true.   There is STILL no replacement for a good friend with whom you can share your everyday joys and perils as well as those moments of growth and realizations.


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