Aging

You never think it’s going to happen to you, but it does. I mean, you know it will in some sort of subliminal way, but not really. You know, even when you’re young, that this is the progression of life. It’s going to happen, but it’s so far off that it’s not really a perceptual reality. Until it happens.

I was twenty the other day, or so it seems, and now I’m fifty-four. College doesn’t seem like it was thirty plus years ago. It was. I think about this on an almost daily basis. It’s like the years just evaporated into some kind of ether. I often wish I knew what I know now as a young man. There’s a lot of truth to the statement that youth is wasted on the young. I sometimes wish I could go back in time—before shoulder and back problems and aches and pains. Back to the good old days, when the main concern was where I would go on a Saturday night; back to the days when you really wouldn’t die of something that ailed you.

I often wonder as I look up at the stars on a clear night as to where I am and why I’m here, or whether some of those stars even exist anymore. What’s the purpose and how did I get here and what am I supposed to do? Shouldn’t I have that all figured out by now? What does it really all mean?

Sitting in a fixed position in my chair seems to be a contributing cause for my body aches. The other cause I know—too many years of weight lifting to supposedly stay fit.

I recently realized that we have X amount of gas in the tank in this life, and you can expend it fast or slow– I’m talking body wise now. Mentally, we are unlimited as long as our brain is intact. Our tendons and joints can only sustain so much. That’s why so many old people get knee and hip replacements. We were simply not designed to live as long as people are currently living. Thanks to modern medicine, we can. But there’s also quality vs quantity.

My take is that it’s best to do everything in moderation. That includes eating, drinking, exercising. I’ve learned that too much of anything is no good. Work should be balanced with leisure. The mind must be worked on as hard as the body. Too many people focus on one versus the other. I’m wondering as I write this that maybe if I hadn’t done so much bench and military pressing in my younger days that maybe my right shoulder and arm wouldn’t be killing me right now; it sucks to be in pain every day.

I know people who are fat, sedentary and never exercise who don’t have any of the physical pain that I now have. I mean, this is narcotic worthy, but I don’t even take an aspirin for some reason. I just don’t like meds.

Binging booze sessions on the weekend now take days to recover from. All types of food causes bloatation, and exercise sessions have to be done far more restrictively and cautiously.

Many of my movie heroes are still two decades plus older than me and I wonder how they do it. How does Stallone keep going? Is Van damme in pain when he throws a side kick? I know I’m in mental pain when he makes yet another pathetic straight-to-video movie. How does Mick Jagger have all this energy to keep touring and running all those miles? I recently read that he clocks something like ten miles during a concert with all that running around. How is Keith Richards even alive? When was the last time Chuck Norris threw a legit side kick? I miss seeing him since he pretty much disappeared years ago. How fat will Steven Seagal get?

Sometimes I’m at the supermarket, the bagel store, or anywhere really and I see old people—messed up old people. Some are walking hunched over with a walker. Others are being wheeled around in a wheelchair. Some are just shuffling slowly. Some are annoying me while they take ten minutes to count out their change in front of me at CVS. Others are causing traffic jams on the expressway because they’re driving in the fast lane at forty miles per hour. Is this what the future holds? I wonder. Too much wondering can make you depressed, however. So, be careful what you wonder. Change it up.

Fortunately, I seem to have good family genes, with many family members living long and healthy lives. You’re going to get old, but it’s up to you (to a large degree) how you do it. If you want to be depressed and think that it’s all bad, then that’s probably how it’s going to go. If you think about it as the natural course of life and that it’s not only happening to you but to everyone, then it’s a different perspective. This is the way life is. You can give up and sit down or you can keep going and do your best at everything that you do. Your brain should be more evolved and better now. You can do what you want to do, probably more so than someone who is twenty, because you’ve learned a lot of things. The moment you sit down mentally, it’s over. The mental is what controls everything.

So, get off your butt, think straight, don’t wonder about the future too much (in a negative way), think it, plan it and do it. Live in the moment and do it now. Think and look up, not down, because you owe it to yourself. Exercise around the pain, eat better, be social, be positive, believe you can do it and you will. People overcome incredible obstacles when they want to.

We’re all just passing through. Make it the best journey you can—for yourself, for your family, for your friends and for total strangers. Wish yourself and the planet better and things will get better for you.

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