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Front Page » July 10, 2012 » Opinion » Trials of getting older, and older
Published 865 days ago

Trials of getting older, and older


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By By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

Last week I was working on my wife's ATV in the driveway and I had a choice to make.

I could crawl under the machine with my aching back on the hard asphalt to fix the loose floorboard that was giving her trouble or I could walk over to the glider near the patio and get a cushion pad to lay on. Problem was to do that I had to walk farther on my bad knee on one leg and worn out ankle on the other to get it.

Ah, which to choose.

I finally decided that laying on the hard ground and then having to get up (which in itself brings on pains in other parts of my body) would be the alternative I would not select. I hobbled over, got the pad, threw it on the ground and crawled under the machine.

Then I realized in my haste of getting the pad down, I had left the tools on the seat. I had to get up again and get them.

When I was 20, 30, even 50 I could easily jump under something like that and work on it get up and go at it again.

Now I must plan my every move, and then take Aleve at the end of the day.

People have made lists time and time again about getting older and the things you can't do or no longer do as well, so this is nothing new to anyone reading this. Like everyone I laugh (and relate) to those lists. But, for some reason, they were a lot funnier when I was 35.

My grand kids (bless them) always tell me how young I look and that I am not that old. They secretly, of course, believe that I was around when the Pyramids were built.

Inside I still feel 18 in so many ways, and yet I am a realist and know I no longer can run up and down a basketball court or climb a trail for 30 miles in one day, come back drink a beer and watch television until midnight anymore.

In my life I have known a lot of "old" people and I don't fit in that category (yuk, yuk). I have had people tell me that you are not old until you can't get around by yourself. Well, while I can get around okay, often it is painful, very tiring and disturbing to watch me do it. Does that mean I am half old?

Here are some of the other things that bother me as old man time continues to run the race and is catching up with me every time we pass a mile marker.

•I can't read the phone number on the prescription bottle when I have to order my blood pressure medication, so I have to use a magnifier to see it. You'd think that I could just memorize the number after having used it for so many years, but I forget it, like I seem to forget many things nowadays.

•One day I was having trouble with a vehicle I was in and was looking under the hood. A couple of 20 somethings pulled up and asked if they could help. I told them I could handle it (it was something simple and I had already figured it out). The one young man said "Well I always stop when we see someone elderly having a problem with their car, just to be sure they are okay. I mean I wouldn't want my grandpa stuck out somewhere without anyone to help him."

•I have to be careful with stairs nowadays. I have always had the propensity to fall up stairs because I used to rush up them so fast. My wife said I am the only person she has ever seen that consistently falls up instead of down. Nowadays I have to watch them both ways because going down one knee could easily give out, and going up, well lets just say that their is more weight to carry than there used to be, and the apparatus for carrying it is a little creaky.

•When I was 17 I used to love freaking out older people by playing my hard rock as loud as I could in my car as I drove down the street. Now I play it just as loud, not to freak people out, but so I can hear it.

•When I have to go, I really have to go.

•No one will let me ride anything on two wheels anymore. I would prefer riding a dirt bike to my ATV, but no one in my family will let me buy one. They all think I will fall off and hurt myself (as I did when I was young, but that is beside the point). When I was 5 people all controlled my life. Now. 55 years later is seems they still do.

•People call me sir way too much. That actually started when I was in my 30's and it bothered me then. I know it isn't a term that is actually related to age, but not having been in the military, I only used that term for people that were really old when I was 10 (or course really old was anyone who was mad at me that was over 18).

Okay there are probably a lot more I could list, but suffice it to say that in my book there are way to many drawbacks to getting old. On the other hand there are some things that are good about it too.

Like when I am a grump they now attribute it to age (a natural occurrence) rather than to me (then it's my fault). In fact the grand kids call me "grumpy." So I can be as ornery as I want and it is never my fault now!

I guess that just goes to prove that there is a silver lining to almost everything, even if that lining shows up in the hair on your head.

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July 10, 2012
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