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On Aging

Camera Shy Madonna

On Aging

It happens to the best of us – and thankfully the worst as well.   No one escapes the ravages of the aging process.   Nearing my fifty ninth year on planet earth, my sister asked how I felt while offering one of those worthless platitudes along the lines of “you're only as old as you feel”.   It turns out that it's a bit more complicated than that for me, and in a search for objective criteria to use as a metric for how old you are that would complement your chronological age, I started to compile a few thoughts on the topic.   It would have been easier if I still had the capability of linear thinking that I was blessed with in my youth.   Now I just butterfly from one thought to another in such a fashion that it's amazing I am able to finish anything at all.   But somehow I was able to finish the tome that follows.

One easy to remember metric to tell how old you are in the US, is to count the number of prescription pills you take through-out the day.   Based on that, I am still fairly young, but I don't feel young inside.   I feel about as old on the inside as I probably look on the outside.   In fact, as I write this, I feel like fifty 'friggin' 9 inside and out.   The really good news along those lines, is that the chronic indigestion that plagued me from birth and eventually led my aunt Harriet to visit for an extended stay so my mother could focus on putting weight on me due to my propensity for barfing every thing she tried to pour down my throat, was finally fixed when I was about 42.   Although that was way late, it was still a major step forward along the path of helping the feeling on the inside regardless of what's happening on the outside.

What makes me feel fifty nine++?   Let me iterate the many ways...  

  • I'm wet where I used to be dry and dry where I used to be wet.  

  • I'm bald where I used to be hairy and hairy where I used to be bald.  

  • I tire easily.  

  • I walk like  Grandpa McCoy   when I get up in the morning.  

  • Can't focus like I used to - and it's the ability to focus that made me such a good engineer.  

  • I knew or knew by reputation a lot of people who are now dead.  

  • "Long term" for me is now about 5 years.   I remember my dad telling me that one.

  • I've become painfully aware of the hordes among the population who are so superstitious (and just plain ignorant) in the world, and who seemingly have no shame regarding taking their superstitions and ignorance public.  

  • The sails on Ketch 22 ( main and mizzen) are almost too heavy for me to raise, even with a mechanical advantage (Can an electric winch be far away?).  

  • Stress on my joints is frequently annoyingly painful.  

  • The ringing in my ears is starting to sound like a never ending concert at Dayton Ohio's own  Deeds Carillon bell   tower.

  • The skin on my chin is creeping on it's way toward my waist under the influence of gravitational forces.  

  • I've got a bad case of CRS, and the one that any guy with a prostate issue will appreciate is, I can't pee as far as I used to be able to pee.   CRS you ask?   What's that?   It's an acronym for Can't Remember Stuff ( or something like that ), but it's only partially true.   I still remember 'stuff', it's just that the memory is so annoyingly slow, that it's frequently of no value to a conversation.

That's the downside to 59.   The upside is a shorter list, but still I'll take what I can get when I can.  

  • For instance, I can take a nap at the drop of a dime.  

  • Don't have to worry about the "long term" anymore, since I probably won't be around to appreciate it anyway.  

  • Economic and stock market cycles aren't so inscrutable anymore.  

  • Politicians and other such scoundrels have become totally transparent.  

  • And the one that is still on an improvement cycle, my kids aren't so stupid anymore.

I guess aging is a mixed bag...