Like screen legend Bette Davis once said, Old age aint no place for sissies. Of course, Bette might have had an easier time of it if she hadnt continued to chain smoke into her nineties. Likewise, if I hadnt spent 20 years carrying around an extra eighth-grader on my midsection, I would be a little less achy myself at the ripe old age of 46. I actually think I feel much better now than when I started harping on my age in my Turning 40 article. Nevertheless, there are still many unavoidable downsides of aging six more years that weight loss alone cant counter.
For instance, I have less patience. (Incidentally, this article was originally going to be about impatience, but I couldnt come up with ideas quickly enough.) As bad as it sounds to say, the people Im least patient with are my parents who, for obvious reasons, are older than I am. Its not so much the irritation but the concern that I may ultimately inherit the wrong combination of traits from them. Dad cant hear so well anymore. Mom lost the ability to navigate the TV remote years ago. If my hearing goes, the inability to turn up the volume on the TV could be a problem. Im not married and I have no children. This means that there will be no one to press the up/down button for me.
Seeing the TV hopefully wont be an issue. Im still able to see most things without glasses. However, Im finding that reading is getting a little less pleasant without my computer glasses. The good news is that my arm is still long enough to hold most printed material at a reasonable distance to sort of read every other word. As numerous Facebook brainteaser eye charts have proven, as long as you can make out every other word, your brain will automatically fill in the rest. The only real concern I have is that its taking a much stronger light for me to see well enough to pluck that irritating chin hair. (Yeah, another sure sign of aging is pretending that its even remotely accurate to say chin hair like theres only one.)
When Im inclined to get depressed at the sight of gray hairs on my head, I cheer up a little bit when I realize that, for 46, I dont really have much gray hair. But then Im quickly depressed again at the thought that Im old enough to consider myself lucky that I dont have more gray hair. Its kind of like swimming in the ocean and getting caught in a riptide. As youre about to drown, you consider yourself lucky that you arent being attacked by a shark. Hopefully aging wont diminish my ability to rationalize.
One thing that has definitely diminished is my ability to move freely unless I stretch a lot. Its not that stretching is a problem. I love to stretch. I just wish I could do the downward facing positions without feeling the sensation of my facial skin sliding forward. I suspect this is one reason why they dont put mirrors on the floor at the gym. Have you ever bent over and looked at your face in the mirror? Dont. Seriously. As much as you may be tempted to succumb to the power of suggestion dont.
Another thing I have serious reservations about doing is a full body scan to check for any changes in my body. Even despite the family history of skin cancer, I just cant bring myself to do that. Aside from the aforementioned inability to contort myself sufficiently to do such a thing, Im too scared to do it. Its not because Im afraid of finding any lumps or troublesome moles. I just really cant take finding yet another hair sprouting from an area where no hair should be sprouting. Im a little gun-shy after finding an errant strand cascading from that little knobby thing on my ear.
In such a small space I cant really expand too much on the process of aging. But if I had to sum it up in one sentence it would be, wait a minute, what did I get up for again? Seriously though, not everything about aging is necessarily negative. With age comes experience and wisdom. Maybe its more rationalizing, but I like to think that 46 years of knowledge coupled with that one strange ear hair gives me kind of a Yoda-like quality. Wouldnt it be great if I could just remember anything I knew?