It’s a devious process that creeps and crawls, moving in fits and starts when you aren’t looking, stealing life and energy and gradually but unrelentingly replacing vigor and strength with sloth and infirmity. Worst of all it introduces pain into your life as a constant companion. No wonder no one ever talks about it.
I’s practical to be philosophical about aging. You can’t stop it or slow it down. You can mask it’s effects with creams and chemicals. You can mitigate the damage with exercise. You can confuse it with drugs. In truth, however, it makes you mad because it’s a death sentence. No matter what you do (or don’t do) aging just keeps rolling along and finally carries you off. You die. In the meantime you have to manage its consequences during all those years of decline. It is 40 years of denial.
Society plays along with the fantasy of those ‘Golden Years’ full of happy youthful and active senior citizens living a fantasy life of old age bliss. The reality is better depicted in the TV drug ads targeting a multitude of debilitating conditions and in those ads you never see old people. The ads imply that everything that comes with aging is merely a treatable condition. Any one might need these drugs and if you find yourself needing them, it’s just a normal thing. It has nothing to do with your age. Drugs are the key to a healthy life. What a load of crap!
The fantasy of youthful and active old age is a dreadful lie. Nobody faces the truth about aging because the truth is just too hard to take. Those of us past the age of denial aren’t talking. We are too busy pretending that we are still 40. Aging is a relentless enemy and whatever you do, it will win.
Let’s just call a spade, a spade. Aging isn’t pretty and no one in their right mind would chose to be 60 over 20. Once you hit 30 the evidence of your impending decline begins to accumulate. You finally have to accept that each day your body will decline. At first it is too gradual to notice. The human body at its peak is so magnificent that it take’s years for the decline to register. The first signs are cosmetic. Lines begin to show on your face. Muscles sag. Hair falls out or turns gray.
We try to manage these changes, spending money on treatments and programs that only mask the process. Aging continues its relentless march. We adjust more by accepting our more mature bodies dressing to disguise the damages of time and stepping up the exercise program. The denial enters a new phase. Then things get even worse. The pain starts.
Like all the other effects of aging, it’s a gradual process. It starts so gradually that it becomes part of your life and you stop thinking about it. It’s hard to remember waking up and bounding out of bed full of energy and pain-free. Your new reality is lying in bed bracing yourself to swing your aching legs over the side and hoping that you won’t fall on your face as you rise to face the day.
So I say ‘Down with Aging’ and down with the pain that comes along with it. I’m through with smiling and pretending to be the cute, happy old guy, doddering and wobbling around town looking eagerly for a rail to steady my steps and a bench to rest my weary bones. Aging is no picnic as the rest of you will soon discover. I’ll try to play the game. I’ll do my best to grin and bear it but I have to say that I’m near my limit.