Turning another year older isn't so terrible. As we age, we've got many things to look forward to. Like back pain, feet hurting, getting tired from just standing, getting achy from driving long distances, old person smell, skin growths, wrinkles, forgetting passwords, hemorrhoids, insomnia, colonoscopies, age spots, the ability to remove your teeth, your friends dying, loss of hair, loss of hearing, sunglasses with side panels, eating dinner at 3 in the afternoon, jello, osteoporosis, heart disease, incontinence and adult diapers, driving 15 miles an hour below the speed limit, leaving your left turn signal on for miles, napping in an upright position, senior discounts, hair growth on your nose, chin and ears; medicare, arthritis, weekly trips to the doctor, fascination with the weather channel, not being able to read the menu, listening to the TV really loud, wearing black socks with Jesus sandals, going to bed at dusk then waking up in the middle of the night, getting shorter and an all around excuse for not making any sense.
The funniest jokes are often funnier because they have a grain of truth and as much as I wish I were only joking around with this list, most of these experiences are barreling down the railroad tracks at each of us Baby Boomers and as much as we can delay some of the effects of aging, well, we are all pretty much doomed.
Is it OK for me to have a moment as I turn 52? "Let's not be morbid," you say? I can almost hear you all: "You're still a spring chicken! You look fabulous!" Seize the day. Just Do it. Never give up! Life goes on. Eat, drink and be merry. LOL. ROFL and the ever-popular, "It could be worse."
All things considered, I really am lucky. I know that I seem really young to people triple my kids' age. I know that I am fortunate to even be alive. I really do appreciate my good health. I've been concentrating on "Building Life Satisfaction Through Gratitude" like the folks over at AARP keep recommending, who have been mailing me magazines for a few years now.
And as much as I love preaching about "Just Doing It," the older I get, the more I believe that aging is like the recent government gridlock on Capital Hill: You can ignore corruption, as well as your belly roll, until you can't ignore it anymore. At a certain point, compensatory dressing cannot hide your gut. It is unavoidable and pipers will be paid.
No one wants to read that aging sucks, anymore than we want to face that our government is in the same predicament. Getting older is inevitable and whether you choose to tolerate your wrinkled face or have it surgically pulled tight like a drum pad, just like with the government, we are screwed no matter which option we choose.
People that say, "You're not getting older, you're getting better," are people that are not as old as us. Those of us that are on the back 40 know for a stone-cold fact that we are not getting better, we are getting badder.
Having said all this, still, when we consider the alternative, we ain't dead yet.
I watched Robert Redford in an interview this week. (If you think we aren't all doomed, look at Robert Redford. It struck me as poignant that if the sexiest man alive is losing the battle with his face, then there can't be much hope for the rest of us).
But he said something fascinating about his new movie, All Is Lost.He described his fascination with what humans do in incredible circumstances and when things get dire; When you think all is lost and that the odds are against you. At what point do you keep going while other people quit? Some people continue, if for no other reason than to just keep going, while others give up.
And that, my older readers, is what exercise can teach us about staying as young as possible for as long as possible. We keep fighting, keep exercising, keep trying.
It doesn't matter that it is inevitably a losing battle. Because this is what we non-quitters do. Even if the odds seem insurmountable, the odds do not matter. Think of your family. If one of your kids was diagnosed with a terminal illness and all of the doctors said there was no hope, would you give up hope? Of course not, because giving up would simply not be an option. Not trying is not an option.We keep going. Because that is what we do. The odds are irrelevant.
We consider the alternative.
If we are the lucky ones, we will be able to laugh at ourselves.
And, of course, we Just Do It.
Plus all this health maintenance is something to do.