Friday, January 3, 2014

Grading Aging

I've had a problem with aging. Well, maybe it would be more accurate to say I've had a problem coping with aging...
I've had a problem with aging. Well, maybe it would be more accurate to say I've had a problem coping with aging; time continues to pass and I continue to get older with little or no effort at all, so the actual aging part just seems to take care of itself.

Empty-nest syndrome has played a big role in my problem, I believe. It's been three years since both of our boys left home and after the first year I thought I had more-or-less conquered that adjustment. I learned to cook smaller quantities (eating leftovers isn't my favorite thing to do) and the lower utility bills quickly became a very welcome change (heating water for two showers a day uses a lot less gas than four or five or even six a day). However, even though the boys stay in touch regularly, I still miss them and sometimes I miss them terribly. So I give myself only a C+ in coping with my empty nest.

The physical aspect of aging has been a really tough thing to adjust to. My body just isn't as young as it used to be. The little aches and pains added in with the gray hair and the thickening of my measurements around the middle all seem to have come upon me at once. I try not to complain, but my dear husband would tell you that I do. I'll tell you that I don't complain to him nearly as much as I could. Some of it I have brought on myself because I know I'd feel better physically if I would work out regularly, but I don't do it. So, I give myself a C in coping with physical aging. (I could bring that grade up to B+ if I'd just get off my rear and get it in gear.)

They say you're only as old as you feel. Some days I feel in my head that I'm 30 again (30 was much better than 20; I wouldn't want to repeat my 20s) and then other days I look in the mirror and suddenly feel in my head that I must be at least 80. I know I don't look 80, but the changes make me feel like I'd might as well be 80. So I guess the mental grade is the grade I need to work on; sometimes I would definitely give myself a big fat F, then other times I actually almost feel like an A+.

Overall I guess I average out to about a C+, so I suppose high average isn't so bad. And knowing that I could bring that grade up with a few little lifestyle changes, changes in both the mental and the physical areas, actually perks me up a bit and motivates me some. They say that confession is good for the soul, so maybe confessing my shortcomings in the coping arena here will be a good thing in the long run for my body, my mind, and my soul. I hope so, because one thing I do know is that I intend to keep on aging, which certainly does beat the alternative.

(Originally published on my personal blog May 24, 2007)

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  1. Oh I am quite a few years ahead of you in this aging business - and it all gets worse and it all gets better! Old age is a shock to me! and I do not feel prepared for it! Maybe I will write a book that tells the truth about aging! :)
    I can easily say that I have never been more at peace, more in love with my little family, more awestruck with life in general. And that's all good!

  2. […] on topics related in some way to health, wisdom, and wealth. I’ll be talking about aging, sharing some of my thoughts and occasional tidbits of wisdom, and from time to time you’ll […]

  3. I think this aging thing isn't for cowards, that's for sure. I used to work regularly with the elderly and one 90 year-old-man used to greet meet me with "Any day above ground is a good day." He has a point. The only alternative to aging... is well.... dying. I have to say that I'm probably where you are in the grade, however I'd give myself a higher grade in the empty next and a lower grade mentally... it all even's out, I guess. This is one more reason to be true to yourself. If you aren't happy with who you are inside, you won't like what's happening to your outside. I figure the only person I have to get better than, is the person I was yesterday. Striving to be a better person each day gives me a reason to continue the struggle above ground.

  4. What a wonderful way to look at life! Thanks for sharing your wise philosophy on aging, Denise. You've given me some things to think about.

  5. Looking in the mirror, I see my mother looking back at me. Aging is not a lovely thing, no matter what my children, relatives and friends say, when they try to make me feel better. No, I don't like my looks, my lagging abilities, or any of the vagaries of growing old. But when you consider the alternative, dying, I'll take this for now. The advantages of aging include, being free to enjoy more time for myself, for reading, for crocheting, for writing. I can also travel without worrying about something to entertain children. I can go to museums and concerts that kids find boring. If I want to buy something for myself, my only considerations are if I have the money, not whether Billy needs a new pair of shoes first. So, there are advantages to being old, and I'm learning to embrace them, little by little. Maybe I look on the bright side because a few years back I came so close to dying, that it gave me a new appreciation of living. I enjoyed reading this, because it made me think of the reasons life is good.

  6. Great wisdom and insights Joan and Susan. Whichever and whatever way we all accept/deny/fight/accept gracefully the aging process, the overwhelming thought and truism, is that the alternative to growing old is not very nice!

  7. What a thoughtful comment, Nancy. Indeed, life really is good!

  8. Maurie, you're right, so very true!