With my 50th birthday looming large this week, I wanted to spend a little time writing about aging. There are very few kind things I can say about aging. OK, so I’ve gotten wiser because I tend to spend time learning, but other than that, it’s all downhill. Things that came easily to me when I was young are difficult now. Mostly because my eyes are finally going. I have lost weight and that’s made a lot of issues go away. I’m still limber and can move around a lot better now that my BMI is in the normal range.
But I still have those mornings where I’ll wake up and something new hurts. I remember a time when I knew why I hurt. If I had a bruise it was from something I did. Now, I’ll just wake up with pain in various spots. Tendonitis seems to be more frequent, and with less activity. I’m not sure how that works out, it must be that new math.
I have to watch what I eat whereas when I was young, I ate whatever the hell I wanted. I’ve finally got a control over that, but I’d sure like to have a Snickers bar once in a while. That would be super. Or ice cream. Or… damnit.
But the biggest frustration with aging for me lies in hair. It grows where you don’t want it to grow and stops growing where you do want it to grow. How the hell did evolution help that along? At what point was having hairy ears a benefit to survival? Of course, then there’s gray hair. Wiry little effers. Choose any combination of gray and unwanted hair and you have a lost afternoon trying to groom gray hair from various places. I won’t even mention the first time you notice a gray pubic hair. Wait, I just did. That’s a bad day, no matter who you are. Like our private parts need any help in making us more self-conscious, let’s throw the trappings of old age in there.
Just like an infomercial, but wait, there’s more. I can no longer recover from drinking like I used to. When I turned 38, I found that my supposed superpower to function after a night of heavy drinking was gone. I can still drink all night, no problem. I cannot, however, get out of bed the next day, maybe two, depending on how poor my decisions were on mixing alcohols. I just try not to do that anymore.
I do have some good things to say about aging, however. I’m wiser. I’ve learned a lot more lessons that do help me on a daily basis. I learn through the combination of reading and doing, a mixture of theory and practice. So much so that my personality profile is now INxP. The last test I took couldn’t determine whether I was a Logician or Mediator. That actually says a lot to me about my personality. I rarely rely on only one, I usually use both logic and emotion to make decisions. I can’t trust one alone. And that has been a lesson learned more recently, a result of still being alive and aging.
As everyone does, I learn through mistakes. The longer I’m alive, clearly, the more I learn because I make a lot of mistakes. Usually, they involve me and financial decisions. I’m good at making money, not so good at keeping it around. I’m working on that last part now that I’m back in a spot where money is coming in.
Of course, there’s the writing that’s only come to pass this last year, as I steam towards my 50th birthday. Kind of late in life to get started, but not unheard of, either.
My hyper-romantic nature has calmed somewhat as well. That’s a good thing. I no longer expect romance and kindness and all the trappings of a loving relationship like I did when I was younger. OK, what’s changed is I don’t expect it anymore, I’d still love to have all that. So maybe nothing’s changed but my realization of reality. I know that I expect way too much from people, and I’ve finally given up on that. It’s why writing is so great for me, I can do it in isolation and not have to deal with people who will ultimately let me down. I only let myself down a few times a year, and I can always see it coming. Alcohol is usually to blame. But overall, my “desire” is less. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, or indicative of some sort of lowering of hormones, but it’s nice to not get all riled up. It allows me to sleep better, I think.
I’ve grown more these last two years, and I can’t really put a finger on why. I’ve always been restless. But leaving my relatively cushy management job to go back to a startup company definitely reenergized me. My dad passing away did the opposite. It created a hole that can’t be filled. My mom losing her memories has done the same. Watching your parents age gives you a creepy view into your next chapter in life, and it definitely takes the wind out of your sails. I will most likely get dementia in the next 20 years. That looms over me daily and causes some urgency in what I’m doing in life. It’s helped focus me, and it’s probably what caused me to decide to write every day. It’s definitely what’s caused me to stop wasting my time watching TV and playing video games and such.
It’s kind of crazy how fast time flies by. I remember being in my late 30s like it was just last year. I’ve watched countless things happen to my friends and family and it has just flown by at a rate that concerns me. 20 years will go by quickly. I don’t have a lot of time left. On that note, I’ll call out the best thing about aging.
I am still here, still kicking and fighting, and still working towards my goals. I still have a chance. I can still contribute. I still matter, even if I am no longer young and attractive. I lament those last two things, but only because I miss being hit on occasionally. Even the modest still have egos, we just don’t let them run our lives.
Even with all the downsides of living with a failing body (and all the gray hair), I’m still glad to be alive, and happy to be where I am in my life. Now, if I can just keep moving forward.
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