Tuesday, March 4, 2014

On the subject of old age

You can't possibly know how much it galls me to say this, but the signs of old age are really creeping in, and I hate it. Really, really hate it. I've never thought of myself as bullet-proof, have always known old age would happen (assuming I lived that long). I know illness and death are also inevitable, and I'm prepared for both, although in an unconventional sense.

But lately -- the reality is happening. I can accept and deal using my Buddhist philosophies and methods, but it's still happening.

Little things -- looking for words more often, remembering someone's name that I don't hear often, a certain slowness to mental processes -- are creeping up and proliferating. Doesn't really impact my life, but because I'm such a strong observer of my mind and body (Buddhist teachings), I can't help but see the changes, and know the strength of the changes.

In a similar way, body weaknesses are creeping up. For example, I've been using (and really enjoying!) the sauna at the gym where I work out. There are two seating tiers, and since this sauna is not on all the time I have to turn it on when I arrive, and even after 45 minutes the only place really hot enough for me is on the top tier nearest the burner. I struggle to step up onto the first tier so I can reach the second. In fact, I've learned to avoid stepping altogether, getting on with the knees first, then standing. This is unbelievably galling. Getting down is also difficult, and both should be so easy. Would have been, in the past. And it's not because my legs are weak -- my legs have been and still are the strongest part of my body. Not as strong as they once were, of course, but still quite strong.

And I struggle with simple things that require use of the hands -- for example, removing a knee brace this morning after some cycling, over my thick socks.  How could that be a struggle? The knee brace is a new addition, protective of some issues with one knee that seem to stem from the fall I took some months ago, where I landed on the knees and elbows, hard. All the cardio and leg work seems to have further irritated it, thus the caution with the knee brace. Don't want serious knee issues!

I do good, serious workouts at the gym, spot-exercising specific muscle sets on specific days, nothing neglected. These aren't particularly difficult, so why do I struggle with such simple things? Goodness knows, my nutrition is good. I don't have a lot of energy right now, but I put that down to being in an insomnia swing.

Seems to me these are simply inevitable signs of age creeping up. One can be healthy and fit and still be subject to the reality that the body changes as it grows old. That doesn't mean we have to like it.

I know I'm not the only person to ever face this -- I have friends who face it and who find it equally galling. I can and will and do accept it. I won't cling to it, but since I see it daily I just wanted to let it out here as I do so much else. One whine, and I'm done.

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