The Realities of Aging

APRIL 26, 2016
Some generations are thriving, while others are declining.
 
For the past 5 years, I’ve noticeably been in the declining group. Things don’t work as well as they used to, or they just hurt more.
 
Just about every joint in my body cracks on occasion, my knees hurt for no apparent reason, my cholesterol was an appalling 220 at a recent appointment with my physician, my muscle tone has beyond atrophied, I can’t see without glasses, and if I tried to sleep more than 8 hours, I’d have to do laundry. Those aged 1 to 3 decades older than me say to wait and see what else happens, as this is just the beginning.
 
I’ll be 45 years old in August. If I’m lucky, this is only half time.
 
My grandfather lived a terrific 87 years, but if I go by my parents’ aging skills, I’m in trouble. My dad died before age 70 and my mom is 73. Although she’s much better than she was a year ago, she’s still pretty limited in her ability to walk even a medium distance.
 
One time, I ran 56 miles in a day and could have kept going, but I was at my destination. Being reduced to a quarter mile strikes fear deep in my heart.
 
Speaking of hearts, I have to worry about how I live my life in order to protect mine. I truly don’t feel like having atrial fibrillation and undergoing a subsequent valve repair in my early 70s. That’s still young in my book.
 
The 70s are a strange age. Some individuals go about the business they’ve been conducting for decades, while others are in failing health. I prefer the former to the latter, but I believe it all depends on my diet.
 
The fact is that I love to eat. I recently went out to my favorite haunt with my wife and 2 friends and ordered my usual appetizer, entree, side, and dessert. After watching what I mowed down for dinner, the couple laughed in disbelief as I ate the dessert. They didn’t even see the bowl of cereal I ate when I got home.
 
My weight is stapled in the low 240s, and it’s my own fault. I’m not exercising nearly enough to keep up with my caloric load.
 
With the weather getting warmer, I have no excuse. I need to at least take a good hike every day I’m off. I enjoy doing my thing once I’m moving, but lacing the sneakers and turning the doorknob seem like Herculean tasks some days.
 
Thankfully, the grass needs to be mowed 2 to 3 days a week this time of the year. That’s 2 hours of walking and pushing something heavy at a clip.
 
Time truly seems to go by faster as I get older, and before I know it, I’ll be dead. How old I’ll grow and how good I’ll look in the casket is all up to me.
 
Jay Sochoka, RPh, wants to be called an old man someday.

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