Fish: Despite the pain, I won't let age win
They say getting old ain't for the faint at heart.
I'm 51, though I act like I am 15 and I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life, so why does everything hurt, all the time? I creek, I pop, I snap, I click, and that's just blinking! If I sit for longer than 30 minutes and then stand up, over the course of the next 15 steps I walk the entire evolutionary chart. Well maybe not the entire chart but certainly starting with early Homo Sapiens, straight through Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon before reaching whatever spot on the chart we fill today (Homoidioius perhaps).
My father had a dear friend who always used to say old age is a curse. He would look at me and yell at me: "You don't know how good you got it!" and "You have no idea what it feels like to wake up every day and be me!" and "You wait, when you're my age you'll understand and then you'll look back to this point in time and wish you could grab it back!" I honestly can't remember, but I'm pretty sure he was older than I am now when he was saying those things. Nonetheless, I sort of get what he was saying. Basically (and angrily) he was telling me to appreciate the ability to spring off the couch without having to plan some sort of an exit strategy just to stand up.
I also think that he was a fairly sedentary man. He worked hard and nobody gave him anything; he was also the kind of guy that would get really mad if he had to walk across the kitchen to light a cigarette. Yeah, he was cranky and dwelled in the past instead of living in the moment. But I never forget the "Old age is a curse" thing. If you stop and think about it, it really can be if you let it. Sure, everything becomes harder to do — lose weight, move, see, hear, remember, sleep — it all becomes somewhat laborious. But you can't let age win, you can't let those things define you.
I went to the eye doctor a while back for a routine examine. He told me that I needed progressive lenses. I told them I prefer to have two pair, one for night driving and one for daytime and athletics. After they were done scratching their heads they told me a progressive lens would give me the ability to both read and see distance.
"Oh," I said. "Those are called bifocals, you can't stick a fancy name on them now and slide them past me."
See, I wasn't going to wear them because I really view those (as stupid as my belief system is on this) for 80-year-olds (not that there's anything wrong with 80-year-olds). So I didn't get them, but, I wish I had at this point. My eyesight has really slipped in the past year and it's really difficult to see anything without readers and my normal prescription glasses. Hence ... old age is a curse.
So I have to limp a little when I get up, I have to squint so much to see that I pull a ligament in my eye. So what? I refuse to give in, I refuse to let age win. I'll just keep moving forward and defying my age for as long as I'm able. Now mind you, I'll try not to be stupid about it. If you are injured you need to heal, but as soon as you are healed up, you gotta pop right back up and pick up where you left off.
But at what point do you have to say you're old? Here's the metric I use: Old age is always 15 years older than you actually are. What the Hell is up with that?
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.