Age is just a number …
I had a dream several years ago that I had lost my memory.
I didn’t know my name, or my age, or where I came from or who my family and friends were. It was really strange and I don’t suggest you try to have that same dream, so don’t think about it before you go to bed tonight.
Well, I shouldn’t have said that because now you’ll think about it, sorry. The fact that I felt really lost in that dream was the bad part; however, it did teach me something about my age. When I tried to figure that out I asked myself how I felt, how old I felt. At the time I was in my mid-50s and felt really great.
Not knowing my real age I told myself I was probably in my 30s, which made sense at that time because my body felt pretty good. The more I thought about the dream the more I realized that how your body feels is a pretty good clue to your age. When I was in my early 60s I still felt about the same, so even though I knew how old I was, my body still felt like I was in my late 30s.
Here it comes, pay attention — when I hit 70 I started to realize that my body had jumped from somewhere in the 30s to somewhere in the late 50s and I wasn’t quite as nimble as I once was. OK, I can live with that, how lucky I have been to still feel younger than I really was.
Now, somewhere in my 70s I feel like my doctor “Chuck” has slapped me on the back of my head and said, “OK, wake up and act your age!” I don’t want to act my age and I don’t want my body to feel as old as I really am. It’s really hard to accept that when you go to bed feeling like you’re 20 years younger and wake up feeling like you closer to being your actual age, with a few more aches and pains, all in one night. It just isn’t fair. I’ve also learned that in many cases when you try to ignore your stiff, uncomfortable feelings, they may just work themselves out but don’t take that to the bank. You have to find that middle ground where you can do as much as you can, but try not to give in to the aches and pains and enjoy your life the best you can.
OK, that’s enough harping about your aches and pains; let’s talk about being happy. We all live in different circumstances; we all have had events that hurt us deeply. We all have fears about the future, with a special thanks to the current election process, but the truth is that we all have days, months and years to live, we should enjoy our life in a positive mode while we have it.
As for me, so far no new hips or knees are in my future and if I really try I can keep up with my wife’s fancy footsteps on the dance floor even though she can always outlast me. Of course she’s a year younger, which seems to make all the difference in the world. Not that I can testify, but exercise seems to really help. Unfortunely, you have to develop the mind-set that you’re really going to make the effort to help your body be healthy. Tomorrow I’m going to make an effort to eat the foods that are good for my body and exercise to encourage my body to prevent aches and pains — yeah right. I think I have made that same speech to myself way too many times. So, I’m going to actually read this article to myself and make myself feel guilty about my lifestyle, which is fun but not exactly super healthy.
My wife Marge and I love to travel because we always learn something new when we’re on the road. Sometimes, at our ages, we learn some things all over again, funny how that works.
It’s time to get off this computer, I’m starting to get a little pain in my fingers, better tell my mom — at 99 she’ll know what to do and she’s always been right.
Jim McCauley is a retired Oxford resident. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.