One thing the past few years has taught me is to never say, “never.” Things that I used to vehemently say I would never do, I find myself not only doing now but actually enjoying. It’s aging that changed me. I never wanted to be on any diet that forced me to quit drinking. I’m on a diet where I can drink, but I choose not to most of the time. Maybe an ounce of brandy at night once or twice per week, but that’s all. The sitting around with friends drinking beer? I don’t do it anymore. Do I miss it? I do, of course, I do. But I don’t miss the drinking, I miss the social aspect. I sure don’t miss the hangovers that have gotten unbearable.
I see people wearing Crocs and used to think to myself, “never.” Several years ago, I was diagnosed with Morton’s Neuroma on my right foot. The solution? Comfortable wide toe box shoes. I’ve gone through more pairs of shoes than I can count trying to find a pair that were comfortable but that I would be seen in public wearing. I had two pairs of tennis shoes for a few years, one that was really comfortable, but so goddamned ugly that I refused to leave the house wearing them, and another pair, not as comfortable, but not bright yellow – so I could wear them outside.
Then I found Crocs. I tried on a pair that isn’t the traditional Croc rubber shoe. These are an all black mocassin, but make no mistake, they are Crocs, it says so on the label. They’re the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. I bought four boxes of them because I tend to be the product killer – if I buy something, I can almost guarantee they will stop making it, if I like the product, that is. I’m on my last pair right now, and I fear the worst.
When my wife went in for her hernia surgery, her doctor was wearing a matching pair of blue Crocs to his scrubs. I thought, “OK if a surgeon wears them, I may be off a little.” But they are ugly, right?
My son is under strict commands to never let me wear Crocs. I don’t think he knows the brand of my current shoe.
Aging is a non-stop lesson in humility
So I’ve learned to stop saying things like “I’ll never do X” anymore. It’s like I’ve been issuing challenges to the universe. How arrogant and stupid I’ve been. Now, only to be forced into the one thing I swore I would never do, over and over and over. It’s a humbling experience, to say the least.
But then, aging is humbling, isn’t it? Everything we thought we were is unraveled right in front of us. That is if we could see it, because our eyes are going bad, too. I don’t think I’m aging gracefully. I realize now that I’m far more vain than I ever thought I was. I was raised to be humble and mannered, and I realize that those may have just been shells that my young self hid behind. Nothing humbles you quite like aging.
My wife’s hernia wasn’t from anything we can remember her doing. We had a big dog who had some walking issues, and that must have been what caused it. That, or the 60-lb asshole husky pulling her like he was in the Iditarod.
I woke up one morning with my ankle so sore I couldn’t stand on it. I had walked up and down some stairs the previous day, more than I was used to. I’ve had to nurse myself back from various bouts of tendinitis more times than I care to admit. I have two such issues right now, one in my elbow, and one in my shoulder. My shoulder might just be a rotator cuff, though, not the actual tendon. I had knee surgery two years ago after stepping in a hole and hearing something pop in my left knee. Not a big hole. Maybe a 4-inch hole.
I wonder how I was able to function with 50 extra pounds for all those years. So these days, I fight any tendency to speak too much rhetoric because I know it will come back and bite me on the ass, or the elbow, or the ankle, etc. I try to do everything I can to give my body all the chances it needs to be at it’s best healthy state. I used to hate eating vegetables. I eat them now every day, as much as I can. At least my lab work makes me look healthy.
Even my cars have to be lame now
I love my manual-shift cars, and I think it’s a shame they’re dying out. Of my many cars, only one of them has an automatic transmission. The big truck, a Ford F-350, is an auto because you can’t buy it in a manual. But all the others are stick shift cars. I was lamenting that there aren’t any good sedans left that have manual transmissions. Then I hurt my ankle and had to go all day on a bad ankle, then through three airports to get to my car – a stick shift and drive home 35 miles. This car has the lightest clutch I’ve ever driven, and with the pain in my ankle, I could barely engage the clutch. I thought to myself, somewhere in the back of my mind, “It may be time to have ONE auto car in the fleet.”
I’m actually not sure that was my thought at all. It’s possible these thoughts of ours are not us, but our guardian angels whispering into our ears words of wisdom we need to hear. That one sure was.
Maybe my guardian angel isn’t very good. Maybe the guy or girl, whispering, “Never wear Crocs” was replaced.
Maybe I’m wrong and it wasn’t an angel.
There’s an old saying about wisdom coming with age, and I can see why that’a true. What will be confused as wisdom is only the result of me not wanting to get proven wrong again and again by circumstances beyond my control. Fate, the universe, God, whatever makes you feel better about naming the entity or process. I’m trying to work the word “never” out of my vocabulary once and for all. I hope to NEVER have to backtrack again, but now that I’ve said that, I’ve just set myself up, haven’t I?
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