Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Looking for more Candles

How synchronous that in the week in which I am to celebrate my 69th I get prompted to write about Old Age.

I am not sure if 69 is old or not. I mean when I hear something on the news about something or other befalling a 66 year old, in my head I think "That's old." Then I realize that I am that age and older. On the other hand, many people are living and thriving into their 80s or beyond, so against that standard, I'm not yet old.

As I sit here and type this, I don't really feel any different than I ever did. In a very real sense, we don't age inside our heads. Whether I am 18, 25, 32 or 40 in my head, I can't say for sure. But I can say that looking in the mirror can be shocking. And last weekend I had to try twice to get out of a low chair at the cottage and thought to myself, "I didn't think I would feel this old this young."

So there is a bit of an age discrepancy with me anyway, depending on the moment and whether I am being called upon physically or not. I have things going wrong with me in terms of my skeletal framework: knees, shoulders, and that blasted foot, for example. On the other hand, I have had no reports, yet, of things going wrong inside. My blood pressure has always been good, and no one gets too concerned over my triglycerides and such after my annual bloodletting.

Aging is a highly variable thing. My three brothers-in-law have all been fitter than me, at least after my lumbar problems that occurred 22 years past and which limited my physical activities ever since then. But they have all had more significant health problems than I — so far anyway.

Larry, at 4 years older than I, was taken a few years ago at the age of 72 by a genetic blood disorder which caught up with him in older age, Bill, who is my age, is presently being treated for an aggressive brain tumour. Brian, six years younger and extremely fit, has already had a valve replacement. If not for that, I suppose he would have reached his expiry day by now. Instead, due to the miracle of modern science, he is able to run for miles and take on various projects. Meanwhile I, the least fit of the brotherly group, limp (literally) along in life.

The limping comes from a very bad ankle sprain which occurred 30 years ago but then behaved well enough  for the next 20 years. About 10 years ago, however, I started to have problems with that foot, and we discovered that I was missing some cartilage and also had bone chips. They could fuse the joint in question, but I wouldn't then be able to bear weight on that foot for six months. Since I can't imagine hopping around on the one other leg with its wonky knee for much time at all, I decided not to take the surgeon up on his kind offer, especially since it would be difficult to predict whether I would be much better for it.

So, I hobble about, not really as badly or as noticeably as I am making it sound right now, and do my best to take regular walks. But mainly I'm not optimally active, and I also eat too many potato chips, and, consequently, I am anything but fit. It's now time to lose the same 25 lbs that I have lost before. At least, I am not putting on 25 pounds on top of previous, multiple 25 lb gains, so I can take some comfort in that.

The craziest thing, or at least a crazy thing, is looking in the mirror and wondering who is looking back at me. Without being too proud or overstating things, I was not the worst looking fellow on the planet. Now, I see a very bald, somewhat scarred face with drooping eyelids staring back at me through dark circles. I know it's me well enough by now, but it still makes me want to put a paper bag over my head.

I wrote (a little) not too long ago about losing my nouns and fumbling for words. Especially with an introvert's brain where information can be harder to retrieve (or so I think based on things that I have read), I do tend to draw a blank when searching for some words, especially names. Thankfully, they usually if not always come to me within a few seconds, which is something that I find reassuring. Still, it makes me feel like a senile old fool when I stumble audibly during a conversation.

So these have been a few pithy ruminations of old age from the point of one 69 year-old. I expect that everyone has a somewhat different story, and I am still not sure if I am truly old yet.

I do know this, however, I have never been as old as I am right now.

And in the light of all this, please excuse me for being presumptuous and wishing myself a ...

Now I must hunt for 54 more candles.


Ruth said...

Well, happy birthday early! Every age has its own pitfalls but it is unfortunate that wisdom comes along with bad joints and wrinkles. You keep a nice balance in your life (even with potato chips) with your many interests, moderate exercise, and your grandchildren. There is no need to fight age aggressively. You are exactly old enough to become President of the United States.

Ginger said...

A very happy birthday to you, AC, and wishes for good health in the coming year.

Mara said...

A happy birthday to you! Hope you have a grand day with the family and that the coming year will bring nothing but good health and good memory!

Marie Smith said...

Happy birthday, AC. Age is just a number and as one person wrote on my blog recently, the soul does not age. Interesting thought, hey?

I know what you mean about the word loss in conversation. I swear by omega 3 capsules. I know what the research says about those things but I can only speak as I find. I stopped taking them a few years ago and could not retrieve words during conversations again, as I had found before I started taking them. When I took the pills again, the problem disappeared. It may be a psychological thing but whatever works I say. I take one a day and it really helps me. We can't get enough fresh salmon here to replace the pills but I don't like farmed salmon anyway.

Have a stellar birthday week!

TexWisGirl said...

i'm 53 now. i get caught off-guard when glancing in the mirror more and more. a happy birthday to you, mr. a.c.

Kailani said...

Happy birthday, and you are doing great! (sorry about the brother with the tumor.) Many many more happy years to you!

Mage said...

Happy, happy birthday to you.
Yes, they can replace whole ankles now. Haave that other knee fixed and think about it.:)
PS: Yup we are all as old as we think we are.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

What a terrific post!
As I contemplate 60 in Dec., I've been thinking the same thing.
I try to live in the present moment, but then think, 10 years from now could I manage this property? I hope so.
My client is 93, and her neighbour, 77, just died. She said, "She was so young!" I guess when you are 93 everyone is young!

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

Oh, yes. Happy birthday. (Brain fart for me!)

Jim Flack said...

Happy Birthday, AC. At age 71 now, I am in touch with the "in the mirror" feeling. But, keep on keeping on. Age is, after all, just a stage of mind! Like the old song by I can't remember who, "fairy tales can come true, if you're young at heart." And you are!

KGMom said...

Well, yes, happy birthday.
I must say, I counted the candles to make sure your math was correct. It you still have command of some of your grey matter.
Hope you don't mind a bit of light-hearted teasing.

Kay said...

Happy Happy Birthday! I really think it's true that you are only as old as you feel. My uncle is 97 and sharp as a tack. His blood counts are better than all of us. Our tai chi teacher is 90 and still out in the park teaching students almost everyday. On the other hand... sigh...
I'm always taken slightly aback when my nurse practitioner tells me some ailment I have is age related. Sigh... double sigh... And I think you look great! Have a terrific celebration!

Ginnie said...

Well, all I can say is that aging is one of those things that you might as well accept ... I find that humor helps ! Also keeping your mind alert and you do that so well, both with your written words and your amazing photos. I hope we, in the blogger world, will have many more years of your sharing. Happy Birthday, OLD friend.

Vicki Lane said...

Happy Birthday, AC! folks like you make getting older look good.

Mary Gilmour said...

A very belated birthday wish! And you are so right about the joints and the nouns and the black circles (puffy in my case) under the eyes.
So what!
Um, well. One does have to cut the coat to fit the cloth after all. But there is a lot to enjoy even if it is necessary to limp around to get to it. And you do get to it! Looking forward to many more posts and photos, AC.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

A belated very Happy Birthday from Beatrice and Grenville at the Frog & PenguINN blog and also Dorothy & Pat...whew, that's a whole lot of wishes at once, John! Enjoyed this post very much because like you we don't feel older even though the years are adding up, but you have us beat be a couple of years so we know there's hope for aging well! We (all) wish you a wonderful year ahead and keep on celebrating every day!

Donna said...

Happy Belated Birthday friend!!!
69 is young! It's 99 you need to worry about...Hahaaa
I turned 65 in August...but I don't think I mind it so much as I did turning 30. Makes no sense, I know.
Hope the Day was filled with lots of love and song and making merry...