Am I Old Yet?
Growing old isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.
It took turning 60 to realize that physically I’m not young anymore.
When I was in my 50s I’d flinch whenever anyone would refer to me as middle aged. When did that happen? In my mind I still feel like I did in my mid-twenties.
I now qualify for senior discounts in some places, but how can that be? Is the universe playing some kind of trick?
It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was in my 20s and 30s and it felt like my whole life was still ahead of me. But before I knew it, those years flew by and now I find myself wit years ahead of me than behind.
While I still feel young at heart, if truth be told, I do have a lot more aches and pains. I can’t read anything without my glasses now, and a friend told me recently that I should look into getting a hearing aid because I listen to the TV and music at levels that others find annoying.
I have younger friends who tell me that 60 is the new 40… but as much as I want to believe them, I know that they are just trying to make me feel better.
I’ve always taken good care of myself; walking, jogging, running, cycling, lifting weights, eating relatively healthy. It’s helped me to achieve some of my bucket list goals that required a certain level of fitness. But as the years creep past, my body is reminding me that I’m not as young as I used to be.
I was looking up at a new skyscraper the other day on my to work when suddenly everything started spinning. Darkness closed in on me and I found myself falling to the street. I had no control over my body and couldn’t stop myself from crashing face first onto the asphalt.
Luckily there was a police officer across the street helping to direct traffic around a construction site. He came running over, stopping traffic and helped me stand up. I felt like a helpless old man. Blood was starting to drip from the cut over my eye. My glasses were bent and I felt nauseous. He said I needed to get checked out so he called for the paramedics.
I had never been inside an ambulance before. I was hooked up to a heart monitor while the paramedics checked my BP and other vital signs. In the ER, I waited on a stretcher in the triage area as others more sick and injured were wheeled in next to me so we could wait our turn to see a doctor for assessment.
After tuning some tests, the doctor told me I had simply experienced vertigo and it all a part of growing old. She explained that the thing that controls our balance in the inner ear loses fluid the older we get so it becomes harder for us to maintain our balance when we move our heads too quickly or look up. Just one more thing that changes as we age.
I realize now that things are not going to get better. Those aches and pains are not going to just go away someday, like they did when I was younger. My eyes are not going to suddenly return to their 20/20 vision and my hearing is not going to improve without some help. It’s all part of the natural aging process as the body deteriorates and I have to realize that I’m not going to live forever.
As the years go by you see others aging all around you but for some reason we are blind to our own physical changes. I now look at my hands and see the crepe like skin that I saw on my fathers hands when he was my age. Of course I have seen the emergence of grey hair and the crows feet, forehead lines, the thinning hair on my head and the new growth of hair in my ears and nose and the wild hairs that emerge from my eyebrows.
So what can I do about it? I will continue to take care of my body through regular exercise and a healthy diet, and I will pay more attention to my grooming. When it comes to exercise I now know that I will have to take more breaks when my body tells me to.
I have to accept that this is all part of life. While I can try to fight it, the passage of time will always win out.
“There is a fountain of youth: It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age” – Sophia Loren