Wednesday, October 19, 2016

On Aging Or Just Growing Old

When I was younger I wondered what it would be like to be older. Different thoughts at different ages of youth. Some of the earliest remembrances of this go back to when I was eight or nine and I wondered if I would ever get to high school. Imagine! A teenager! A chance to break away from home, the tyranny of Mom and Pop. A chance to smoke or drink some cheap wine or guzzle a beer. The world was all ahead of me.

I finally got to high school. I still think that was the best or one of the best four years of my life. As a pre-teenager I was Mr. Five by Five, five feet tall and five feet wide. I got pushed around and I wondered what it would be like to push back. In high school I grew and helped by weight lifting got to be stronger than most so I pushed back and lived a pretty free life. There were those like "Crazy George" and his ilk I avoided because my pre-teen experience taught me how to survive.

All of male high schoolers had to contemplate what getting a little older might bring, a job yes but more important service in one of our country's armed forces. Never thought about college that was for the bookworms not for me. I got a job, got acquainted with the gal who would be the love of my life forever, and finally got conscripted into the US Army.

Life was good, full of love passion and accepting responsibilities while keeping a passion for living life to the fullest. I had enough going on right "now".  Still I wondered what it would be like when I got older. People would say age is just a number and I would laughing agree. We were wrong! Age is more than a number it is a body getting older and not being able to function the way it used to function. Age is accepting limitations but learning to do things within the limitations each of us old timers might have. More than anything getting older is realizing you have limited time to enjoy the good things life has to offer. Again each one of old timers is limited to doing what the physical and mental health of each one of is.

The fact is each of old timers are restricted by what the younger among us expect of us, demand of us because of our age. Of course the youngest do not pay attention to us since they are building their own life with the building blocks of personal experience. The old ones, say 55, 60 and up have their ideas about what we should and should not do.  So they put limits on things like driving, going out on dates, actions that they consider belonging to the younger groups.

If one should get into a relationship with a younger person then that person has all the time in their mind to figure out where the relationship is going if in fact it is going anywhere. So the older one is not supposed to want or need passion, or look to spending time on long vacations or just doing what people do in relationships. The younger person can figure all that out when they retire but then the older one might have run out of time and will be dealing with the problems that come up with severe aging like a broken body and mind.

So as we get into growing old the biggest problem is the limited time we have left to enjoy life before we either get ill and/or die. We old timers have to figure out how to handle the good times we have left before that time runs out. Living in the "now" is the best way to do this but we are sharing the "now" with everybody whose "now" isn't the same as ours. The answer isn't to live then with only people of the same age because that means shutting off change, shutting off all the colors of the rainbow. For me the answer is to look for new opportunities to enjoy life, maybe new projects maybe new loves, all are limited but that's the fun, accept the limitations and live joyfully within them.  
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