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My development logbook

Toastmaster Speech 5

Speech No. 5 – Getting Old

The goal of the #5 speech is about using body language and gesture to tell a story. I suppose the best way to do it is to talk about something exciting and uplifting. Then I can wave my arms like this. Maybe I can go around here truly excited. But somehow I want to set the a bar a bit higher. I want to do something different. I actually want to talk about boring, not-interesting. Something people don’t want to think too much about. Something rather depressing and sad.

Dear fellow toastmasters and guest, I would like to talk today is Getting Old. Yes, G-e-t-t-i-n-g O-l-d.

How many of you have looked forward to getting old when you are teenager? Exactly what I thought. None. When we are young, growing old is such an alien concept. To live like a 60 years old or older is simply beyond imagination.

But somehow, someone would like to remind you actually your biological clock is ticking.

This someone is none other than your passive aggressive … BODY!

I got my first notice not long ago: Hair is growing inside my ears! To me it is absolutely absurd for hair to grow inside my ears. What is point of having hair in the ears? I don’t even feel cold inside my ears! I will assert that hair has absolutely no business whatsoever inside the ears. That’s right. There I said it! [Wave fist] But somehow there they are. They are growing inside the ears. Then the hair in the nostril joins the party. Maybe somehow they don’t like the damp environment anymore. They start to grow longer and longer. Kind of feel like they want to retire and move to the sunshine coast and enjoy more sun.

The problem does not stop here. For the lucky ones gary hair starts to take over, “Snow on the roof” as you may call it. Not sure if they got snow in the basement too but I am not keen to find out.

I suppose to wink here but I think I gonna scare the ladies, since I am already on a rather uncomfortable, hairy subject here. I’ll probably look creepy.

For the unlucky ones, like me, the hair simply goes Missing in Action. The receding hair line is going backward like the French army in WWII. They are disappearing rapidly like the water in a water hole in a drought season. Looking myself in mirror I understand why hair growth industry is such a multi-billion dollar business. If nothing works, I can understand why to some combover is an option.

Of course, on a serious note, ageing is actually no a laughing matter. As a matter of fact, more and more resources are devoted to the study of ageing. I did a quick search on google scholar. Merely 30 years ago, there were roughly 50,000 medical papers on ageing. But in recent years, number of papers has grown to 200,000 ~ 250,000. The focus of research has changed as well. The focus has changed from longevity and life expectancy to more qualitative aspect of ageing such as quality of life. While modern medicine is capable of keeping us healthy for longer, degenerative disease like dementia can have huge impact on the patient and his/her carer. Another shift of focus is from addressing the symptom of ageing to deeper understanding of the mechanism of ageing. For example, the Sydney based biomedical researcher David Sinclair has made a breakthrough in the understanding of the ageing process at the DNA level. As we know, DNA controls the formation of cell by turning certain on and off. And depends on the gene expression we have different kind of cells like liver cell, skin cell and brain cell. Sinclair discovers that for human, our DNS is programmed to turn on all the genes when we ages. It causes damages to our gene. More importantly Sinclair discovered a molecules known as SIR2, which stands for Silent Information Regulator 2, that can turn off these genes that should not be turned on. Or in the other word, we can reverse the aging process!

Oh, wait a minute, there is a good news when talking about getting old after all! [Arm waving!]

In the end Aging is not just about your body, it is about you mind too. I would like share this saying about getting old with you: “You become old when all your dream and hope is replaced by regrets”