People have discussed aging since the first cavemen could grunt out complaints about bad teeth. Clearly this isn’t a novel topic. At 45 (coming Thursday) I’ve reached a pretty interesting age. I’m young enough that the finality of death still seems like a long ways off (unless I get hit by lightning of course) and yet I’m old enough to feel as if I’ve been here for quite some time.
I notice that now I play a funny game of trying to convince myself I’m still on the younger side of the half-way point of my life. Last year wasn’t too bad. Making it to 88 isn’t ridiculous especially when I had a grandmother that made it well past 100. But now? 90 is pushing it. I won’t be able to keep up this facade much longer.
Age does funny things to you. First you have to deal with the issue of health. You put on weight with ease. Your hair grays or falls out. Skin does funny things like stop moving the way you expect it to. Pains started in my mid-to-late thirties that have just multiplied or gotten more acute. My blood pressure decided to act up. I have a decently thick medical history now and, for the first time, the doctor has put me on two things that he thinks I’ll need from here on out.
That was quite a shock. I’ve always been wary of one tradition my older family and friends employed and that was the use of a weekly (or bigger) pill dispenser. I remember thinking, “Good God. You need a box to hold all the pills you take each day?” Now it looks like I might finally need one myself. Thankfully it’s not for anything overly serious right now but still, it does work to date oneself.
I’ve also noticed a change in my plumbing. I find I prefer sitting to standing when urinating now. I like the rest. I also find it takes longer to stop going. Likely an enlarging prostate but the doctor doesn’t seem concerned so I’m not yet. I also had to realize that I don’t have the sexual stamina of my youth. Now, if someone coughs, my mind isn’t the only thing that gets distracted. On my recent visit to the doctor (he’s my age) he was more than eager to recommend the wonder drug Cialis to me. He looked like a kid talking about the latest, greatest toy on the market. I also notice that more friends and family have commented about trying one of the big three (Viagra and Levitra being the other two). I tried Cialis and it was certainly interesting but, thankfully, I don’t really require its use yet.
Of course there’s also the disconnect that seems destined to happen when dealing with younger generations. I’ve always been a techie. Even with that I find I’m just not as into things, at least as intently as they are, like Twitter, Facebook, texting, etc.
I even have to watch my analogies and commentaries. When describing “old-school” people I know I often will describe them as being similar to Ozzie and Harriet. More than a few times now the response has been, “You mean Ozzy and Sharon.” Poor Ozzie Nelson would turn over in his grave if he knew that now he’s confused for Ozzy Osbourne.
One thing people talk about is how fast time flies. I used to notice it but of late it seems to have slowed down a bit. Age 25 to 35 was a blur. Since then it’s moved at a nice pedestrian pace.
There is a specific change that I simply cannot ignore. In the past I’ve always been able to pull information from memory with ease. I first noticed that my vocabulary started to slip a bit as I had a harder time pulling out the exact word I wanted to use. This blog also helped highlight the change. I used to write for a living and I had no trouble writing compelling prose. Now much of what I write is fairly dull. Then I noticed other areas where memory isn’t as sharp as it once was. I often could easily name the most obscure actors in second-rate movies. Now I can see their faces but I can’t find their names. It’s a change that is, to be frank, annoying.
The one area where I’ve had my biggest challenge is in day-to-day life. I’m happy to say that from age 5 to about 25 or so I lived a pretty remarkable life. When my brother and I talk to other people here and there we’ve always been struck with how few stories they seem to have by comparison. We’ve come to realize that the majority of people spent much of their youth having a good time but we seem to have gone a bit overboard. I can honestly say we lived every single day of our childhood to the maximum. The result is a myriad of memories and stories that will clearly last us a lifetime.
The challenge is, now that life has slowed a bit, so have the experiences. I’ve spoken with my brother about it and we agree that it’s been harder for us the older we’ve gotten because, by comparison, life the last 20 years hasn’t been as crazy as it was the first 20 years. I’m not complaining. I’ve just had to come to realize that the responsibilities of work, raising a family and just getting older have had an impact. I need to find a way to re-energize and return my youthful exuberance to its rightful place in my life. I’m working on that.