Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The Realities of Getting Older

There are many truths that we cannot learn, until we are living those realities themselves.  For example, it was easy for me as a former Evangelical to condemn those that got divorced, until I was in a toxic marriage.  It was easy for me as a former Republican to believe those that were poor and on Food Stamps were lazy, until our family ran into physical and family issues that limited our ability to hold a full time job outside of the house.  Most of society ignores those things that they want to ignore.

One of those ignored realities is that the body decays, as it ages.  We don't like to think of ourselves as mortal, so we just call those facing it "old" and strive to stay "young" as long as we can.  However, age catches up to everyone, and it is a hard truth to accept, when it happens.

For example, I have spent the last several years trying to get BACK into shape.  Just a few years ago, I would finish my work day and go out for a run, and I would run 3-5 miles, every time.  It took a year to get to that point, but once I was there, it was easy to "stay in shape"...until I couldn't. 

Over the course of a year, a few years ago, I went from running 5k with every run to struggling to do a mile and a half.  I took a  few months off running over a winter, and I found it very difficult to get back up to a mile.  After that, no matter how much I ran, I would not get back up to 2 miles, without sustaining a long lasting injury.

And, that is my next point....the body stops bouncing back, like it used to do.  It is common to every runner to have aches and pains.  A few years ago, that would mean a day of rest and stretching and MORE RUNNING as the solution.  The last year, I have learned the hard way that my body no longer recovers like that.  If I run on an injury, NOW, it will cause longer lasting damage, and it always seems that there is SOME injury I am feeling.

However, this is not just a physical problem but mental, as well.  I find I am no longer as sharp and quick in thoughts, as I used to be.  Now, I find myself staring at the computer...not because I forgot what I was doing but because I find it difficult to put concentrated thought or stress into things, anymore.  This is joined with a life-learned cynicism of how little ANYTHING really matters in the grand scheme of things.

There is a lot of talk about reducing discrimination of the elderly in the workplace, but I am here to tell you that those getting older are TIRED of working and probably not going to do a good job, anyway...definitely not like we used to.  Instead of allowing the elderly to painfully struggle through tasks that are not done that well, maybe we should show the same compassion for the elderly that we do to children and as a society fund their rest, after a life well lived.

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