A couple of months ago, I posted a blog called Growing Old Together In The Old South (Growing Old Together In The Old South – Terri LaBonte- Reinventing Myself in Retirement). In that post, I discussed Max and me celebrating our 25th anniversary in Savannah. That was a fun time. Today, I want to address a more sinister topic…. Just plain growing old.
We all understand that aging is a natural process and, unless we die young, old age will have an impact on our bodies. I think I got complacent, though. For years, even though the number in my age increased, I did not feel any different. Aside from a momentary panic upon reaching each milestone birthday, I truly did not feel any older each September 30 when I blew out the candles on my cake.
I think I am being realistic when I say I think I went about 15 or 20 years with no significant aging. Even when I look at home movies and pictures from days gone by, I think I looked pretty much the same from age 35 to age 55. Certainly, there were differences if one looked closely. Still, I think I always looked to be in my late thirties.
Then, sometime around my 60th birthday, nature seemed to catch up with me. It is as if all that aging that should have happened in the first 15 years of the new millennium happened in a matter of two years. My skin is dull. My face has wrinkles, which might be a good thing. Without the wrinkles keeping some of my features in place, my cheeks and jowls might be sagging down to my waist. There is certainly extensive sagging around my previously taut jawline. My back and legs tend to protest more vociferously when overexerted… or, maybe more accurately, exerted at all. My knees, always a weak point, seem to have locked up tighter than a maximum-security prison cell. Picking up items from the floor is suddenly much more difficult. I am surprised it is not an Olympic sport.
It is not that there is anything really wrong with my health. Certainly, no new illness has cropped up in the past couple of years. I am a pretty healthy person. If anything, I am healthier now than I was prior to my descent into agedness. My diet is better than it used to be. I exercise every day. My lab results are excellent. I am fortunate that the only malady that seems to plague me is this mutated version of the normal aging process. I am not complaining. It is just that the suddenness and fierceness of my elderliness is alarming. At this rate, my body will be eighty-five before I am chronologically sixty-five.
Do you think it might have something to do with senior discounts? I did qualify for some discounts when I reached 55, but many did not kick in until age 60. Does every 10% off come with a corresponding hit to my physical being? Or perhaps it is the decades of hair dye. Maybe dying my hair is like donning a pair of Spanx. When I put on Spanx, the fat does not, unfortunately, disappear. The Spanx just shoves it to another location. Maybe coloring my hair does not make me more youthful. Maybe the hair dye just shoves the aging to a different position. The dye covers my gray hair but causes other parts of me to age more. I will have to think about that one. I think I would rather have gray hair than joints that do not cooperate with my inclinations.
My brother and my cousin, bless them, tell me that I look as young as I did in junior high. My brother and my cousin are clearly liars. On the other hand, maybe their assertions bear some consideration. Let us ask ourselves a question. Do any of us really want to look like we did in junior high? I certainly do not.
Maybe aging is not that bad.
Have you aged suddenly or has the process been more of a slow burn for you? What do you to keep healthy and functional as aging starts to catch up with you? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a youthful day!