Being Old

Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog began with the post, Feeling Old.  It talked about the moment that the thirty-five year old living inside my head could no longer deny the truth.  I’m now sixty-seven and the guy in my head is thirty-eight.  As the years pass he has more reminders that although he’d like to drive this body as he used to … with relative if not total abandon … it’s not a wise course of action anymore.  When I’m out and about, I get called sir a lot.  People open doors for me, and if they’re blocking the aisles in Target, they say, Sorry, sir, as I pass.  Standing in the lines at checkout, young women initiate conversations with me, something that never happened to my thirty-eight year old.   I guess that means I’m old, hopefully cute and certainly harmless.   Sigh.   Muri and I still are treated as a Cute Old Couple.  There’s just something about old people in love, I suppose.  When I go to the doctor, my yearly physical is a senior assessment and I’m handed a page of senior questions.   One question this year was, Have you fallen in the last 12 months?  I’m an honest guy so my answer was yes … my doctor seemed comfortable with my explanation, a parking barrier that appeared out of nowhere.

The truth is, I don’t need the external reminders to tell me I’m old.   I’ve noticed this year that my balance isn’t what it used to be.  If my internal thirty-eight year old turns me in hurry to do something, I’m likely to feel a little dizziness.  It doesn’t help to know that the thickening of the fluid in the cochlea, the part of our inner ear that controls balance, is the culprit.   I’ve noticed that when I reach into my mental file cabinet for a name or song title, I’m more likely to come up empty.  If I’m patient, I usually find the answer but sometimes, I consult my other brain, Google on my Blackberry.  Exercise is harder to build up to and hurts more afterwards.  What I call exercise has changed.  I used to count miles run, now I count minutes walked in the park.  I have good intentions but the road to didn’t-exercise hell is always at hand.  Loading our stuff into the car for our Christmas trip to Phoenix … with our bedroom on the second floor … is a workout.  Weight goes on easier and is more difficult to take off.   My mother used to tell me, Don’t ever gain more weight than you can lose in a year because if you do, you’ll never lose it.   At the rate I can lose these days, I’m probably there.  Household chores that used to be routine can lead to sore muscles and little aches appear out of nowhere.  Body parts don’t work like they used to.

Would it seem disingenuous to say, I’m not complaining?  Because at least for the moment, I’m not … I’m simply stating the Facts, Ma’am, as Jack Webb used to say on the show that few remember.  My health is good.  I’m with the person I love most in the world and for the most part, I can do what I want.   But when I was actually thirty-eight years old, I don’t think I ever grasped what it would feel like to live in an aging body.  I don’t know what I’d have done differently if I did … maybe start writing sooner or thought things through before making some unwise decisions.   The thing is, Younger Eyes, it’s a blink of the eye from where you are to where I am … so use your life wisely.   In the meantime, life is good at sixty-seven … but very different than thirty-eight.  And whoever said that Sixty is the New Forty is an idiot.  Probably a hopeful forty year old idiot.

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6 Comments on “Being Old”

  1. Ah, but look at a picture of your grandparents when they were 40 and compare it with your picture at 60. In most case I have seen, very little to tell the ages apart. Internally you are right but the externals have changed, I think.

  2. Very synchronistic. I was just thinking about this yesterday. At 34, I’d like to believe my body can still handle a lot, but after two days of helping my parents move to a new house, lifting and sliding and bending and reaching, my body is arguing with me. Rather vociferously. I’m out of shape, I’ll admit (though at my best weight since my teenaged years)… but still. I sit on the floor Indian-style and my entire right leg falls asleep. And I was wondering… how will I feel in 30 years? or even 20?

    (By the way… couldn’t remember the word “synchronistic.” Had to ask five people for help, and I’m still not 100% sure it’s the word I wanted. Man. I’m screwed. I wish Google had a function wherein I could just type “you know that word that means ‘oddly coincidental, demonstrating some sort of psychic connection’? Starts with an S or a C…?” The reverse dictionary didn’t quite do it for me.)

  3. I am 37 years old, and people already call me, Ma’am. *sigh* And my body CANNOT do what I used to be able to do.

  4. ceceliafutch Says:

    The moment I knew that I knew that I knew I was getting old was when I was walking my gradson home from school one day and another student rode by on his bicycle and yelled out as he passed, “Whaz up, Grandma?” That stung.

  5. territerri Says:

    I’m 45 and already feeling some aches and pains. I’ve been battling sore muscles in my back for several years and also have carpal tunnel symptoms. I can’t stay up late anymore without paying for it the next day. BUT.. for some reason we all seem to want to persevere through this and see what tomorrow brings. I guess that’s a good sign.

  6. I definitely can not deny that I am not just “getting old” but that I am there! I have what I prefer to refer to as “run-of-the-mill” senility issues at times. Words that used to come easily to me -especially with crossword puzzles -no longer pop up quickly. My mind frequently tries to lie to my body and convince the body that it’s only a mere 25 or 30 years old. Occasionally, the mind wins but the body gets even in short order! I’ve managed to beat back cancer twice now in the past almost 9 years so maybe I can blame that for a little of the slowness I often experience -mentally and physically. But, when I look at pictures of both of my grandmothers when they were my age, even though I don’t exactly look young at all, I don’t look as old at 67 as they did -thankfully! Although a former neighbor keeps telling me that the older I get the more she sees my maternal grandmother in me and the funny thing is that I’ve always tended to look more like my Dad’s family although I am built more like my Mom’s side! Go figure, huh? I do still maintain the night owl hours though -can’t concede defeat completely just yet, ya know!

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