Getting Old Sucks!
No, I don’t want to hear anyone say, “Sure, but it’s better than the alternative.”
Excuse me, but no one really knows that for sure do they? For all we know the alternative could be Wonkaland or a hut over the water in Bora Bora. Or maybe a massage every day throughout eternity and then a buffet filled with your favorite foods minus calories. Or surrounded by the people you love all the time and they aren’t allowed to criticize you or get on your nerves.
So now that we’ve put the whole best alternative myth to rest let’s get real shall we?
I seem to spend most of my time lately between doctor visits and healing from surgeries to replace broken parts, talking about the past.
Friends and I commiserate about the good old days when childhood was simple, and how we actually walked back and forth to school, alone. In winter we’d wrap up in ten layers of jackets, undershirts (which my father insisted I wear over my bra) then march out into the cold snowy day alongside a friend.
I still have a difficult time reconciling how I walked so much as a kid, even home for lunches, played outside, yet still was fat. What’s up with that? I guess I’m over the exercise-keeps-you-thin theories.
I read a study years ago that because Baby Boomers were so active as kids it is easier for us to get back into shape again, than for our children to get into shape in the first place.
Supposedly our muscle memory is still there waiting in the wings for us to run a marathon or walk miles.
Excuse me? As a friend reminded me when hearing that piece of information, her muscle memory now has dementia. I found it hard to argue with that diagnosis. When I call upon my body to pick its flabby ass up off the couch and walk the miles through Costco, it answers me with some incredibly salty language I choose not to repeat.
“Hello, Norma to muscle memory. Wake up and come on down.”
I never knew a muscle was capable of giving someone the finger.
I totally understand why our memories can instantly remember over fifty years ago yet forget last week. Thinking about the wonderful times with friends and family when we were young in a far easier world is a special kind of comfort. One usually reserved for a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie or that first bite of turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving.
There is definite pleasure in recalling happy moments when we were carefree, and remembering to come in the house when the streetlights came on was our only responsibility.
Of course everyone knows that old age is challenging and some seem to coast through while others have to schlep along. Is the difference good genes, attitude, sheer luck or perhaps something else?
I think it may be a combination of all with a hefty dose of genetics thrown in for good measure.
To me it seems those who truly cope well are those who’ve lightened their load.
No, I don’t mean weight, at least not in the sense you might think.
I’m referring to lightening the heavy burden of regrets, hurts, anger and sadness we all carry with us attached to our hearts in an invisible sack.
Should we, how could we, had we, why didn’t we, are the words that still haunt and drag us down every time we say or think them.
If I had only, how could I have thought, etc. are the banes of our existence when we are older.
So many times we forget what a negative effect they impart, and so many times those negative feelings can actually manifest into actual physical symptoms and illnesses.
We get loaded down and then suddenly the world seems hopeless. Our immune system is crying out for help under the weight of all the useless baggage and life becomes a bit overwhelming and disappointing.
Not all of us give in to those feelings but many do, and they seem to be the ones that suffer most and have less fun.
I have a friend that finds it almost impossible to let go of anything in her closet. Those forty pairs of black pants are an absolute necessity for her.
Too many are the same way with their emotional pants. Letting go is hard whether it be a favorite jacket, an old piece of furniture or the regrets and pain of the past.
Sometimes it’s easier just accepting the impossibility of getting through life without screwing up something somewhere. Yet I wonder what we’d all change if we had the opportunity?
The Butterfly Effect where one change in the past can set a whole different outcome into motion is a powerful deterrent.
I like to think if we look around we can all find at least ten things every day to be grateful for and happy about. Okay so we don’t always look, including me, but we should.
So in the end I guess it’s about focus. Recalling happy times in the past is fun and comforting as long as we spend just as much time enjoying the present. Planning fun and interesting things to do in this moment.
Is it easy to get bored? You bet! Yet with very little effort we can all pull out that bucket list and find something fun we haven’t yet done or accomplished and set out to do it immediately.
I’ve heard so many people say that happiness is a choice and to some extent it is. Sure there are going to be tough times when you can’t fool yourself into thinking there is any way to find any good in your situation.
Perhaps that’s why we must be happy right now, so if the bad times come (hopefully not) at least we know that someday after the bad the good can return once more.
Yep, getting old can suck, but it can also be a pretty great time, even though maybe not all the time.