Not Cease from Exploration

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What's the toughest part about getting older?

As I get older I get to experience a number of things that change.  Some are easier to qualify than others.

Physically, I have to work harder now than I ever did in the past.  The good news is that now matter how old you are, you can always be more active.  It really is just as simple as getting up and starting to do something.  I try to stay moving as much as possible during the day.  I hope that helps.  I've also learned over the years that there is a distinct connection between physical activity and mental health, so staying fit isn't just about looking good.

Also in the physical department, some of the senses are starting to dull ever so slightly.  Years of listening to music at deafening levels is starting to have an impact, as I do have to ask people to repeat themselves all the time ("Kay, I didn't hear what you just said...").  As for my eyesight, well the doctor tells me that it hasn't gotten noticeably worse over time, a point that I'm not going to argue (although I don't necessarily agree with it any more).  My senses of taste and touch are in factory new condition, so that's good, and I've always had a very good sense of smell...no doubt made possible by my enormous nose.

Mentally, I think I have one very big challenge in my life:  taking chances.  When I was younger, it seemed easier to be able to take chances, and I'm taking about big chances.  Moving away to school, trying to get that first job out of school, having to decide between two job offers (yes, I got two offers:  Kmart Apparel & Bon Ton; I chose the latter).  Some of those choices were very tough and took a lot to get through; in particular I was relaying to the above referenced the other day Kay just how lonely it felt when I got my first apartment in York PA.  I got through that, but the thoughts and feelings associated with something like that just stick with you.  Flash forward to more of a present time and I can look back at a few different instances where I've made some big changes, but by and large the scope of the change seems to diminish over time.  This leaves me asking one key question:

Am I done being able to make big changes in my life?

God as my witness, I hope the answer is no.

The fact that I even have this debate in my head is telling.  Is it the accumulation of effort & angst over time, like so much road gunk on a 4WD vehicles drive system, such that my ability to make these kinds of changes gets harder and harder?  Am I that battle scarred by it all?  Hell, it's not as if I've spent time fighting the Taliban, so the phrase "battle scarred" probably has no place in this mental dump anyway.
  
Maybe, just maybe, with age comes some insight.  That insight is the little movie that plays in your head before you jump into a big challenge or change.  When you are younger, that movie is relatively short and doesn't contain all that much information.  When you get older, that movie gets longer and more complicated. It's getting past that movie that is the hard part now, at least for me.

2 comments:

Don Williams said...

Right now, taking care of aging parents and watching them slip a little each time I see them is the toughest part of this stage of my life.

Stephen Albert said...

I can understand and relate to that Don. My mother just turned 75 and it starts to hit you that they just will not be around forever.