Friday, June 23, 2023

Apparently we age in fits and starts

Six months ago, I thought I was doing pretty well in the aging department. I had just lost some weight, I only needed reading glasses very occasionally, I was free from any sort of chronic pain, and I was even starting to add strength training to my normal walking/running regimen.

Then some things happened, some of which were beyond my control:

  • Suddenly, a lot of books and documents became awfully hard to see. Things I could read unaided at Christmastime are now, shall we say, a little out of focus. I have reading glasses stashed everywhere.
  • That weight I lost? Gained it all back. And then some.
  • A couple of weeks ago I fell. More on that below.
  • I haven't lifted a weight in a few months.
  • My hair, which has been a mix of gray and white for some time now, suddenly seems a lot whiter.
Thankfully  blessedly  I am still free from chronic pain. But the way things are going, I'm not counting on that lasting much longer.

As for my fall, that was admittedly my own fault. I was watching the Cleveland Guardians baseball game on my phone and not paying attention as I attempted to walk down the three steps that lead from the kitchen to our mud room.

I missed the first step, which meant I was going to miss every step. Down I went, landing hard on my backside and right elbow.

My butt is fine, if I do say so. But I STILL can't put much weight on the elbow (i.e., like when you rest your chin in your hand).

Even worse, as Terry points out, when the doctor asks if I've fallen in the last six months, I'm going to have to respond "yes."

That hurts.

I'm only 53, so it's not like I'm a senior citizen. But what I've noticed so far about the aging process is that you can be going along just fine for months and years at a stretch, confident in the thought that you're doing a good job holding back the tides of time.

Then a whole bunch of things happen in succession, reminding you what they mean when they say Father Time is undefeated.

Of course, 15 years from now I will long to feel 53 again, since this aging thing only tends to go in one direction (and it's not the direction you're hoping for).

The good news is this: So much of how we're going to feel as older adults is under our control now. Proper diet, exercise (including flexibility and balance work), stress management and maintaining social connections can overcome a whole lot of genetic baggage.

Even better is that you can still indulge in the "bad for you" things you love, but it has to be occasional and it has to be controlled.

Those are my only two problems when it comes to, say, eating sweets: "occasional" and "controlled."

Other than that, along with maybe the occasional tumble and an alarming reliance on cheap CVS reading glasses, I think I've got this aging thing under control...mostly.

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