One unsettling thing about aging is the subtle fear that the bus has left you behind. Or that you're lugging around so much baggage you won't be able to get back on at the next stop. That instead of heading towards the light -- transcendent or otherwise -- your so-called "golden years" are in the rear-view mirror.
Before moving to the New York City area, I lived in London for seven years. During that period, I traveled more than two dozen times to France, a place where five- or six-week vacations are the norm and many people retire comfortably at 60 or younger. I made many wonderful French friends and was more than a little awed at the way they aged so gracefully.