Sunday, February 22, 2015
It’s a perfect one-word summary of aging. There aren’t any hard and fast rules, like “at age 60, you will …” and “at age 70, you will …” Instead it’s more of a stutter-step pace. Two steps forward, one step back, three steps forward, two steps back.
Everyone’s pace is different. I’ll tell you about mine.
On the one hand, I can’t do some things the way I once did. Hike in, especially uphill, to a favorite fishing hole. Run or even walk fast. Eat a lot of salt and fat. Drink real coffee. Work in my garden for hours at a time. Watch late-night TV.
On the other, I can still do those things — just differently. Walk, briskly, to drive-up fishing spots. Drink decaf coffee. Eat more veggies, fruit and fish. Work in the garden before 10 a.m. and after 7 p.m. And anyway, phooey. Who can stay up to watch Letterman if you want to be up early to garden?
Prioritize. Some changes I can’t get around, like seeing doctors more often than I used to. Or, nice though they are, than I really want to. Parts of me are wearing out because their warranties aren’t what they used to be. I’m working on learning to lift, carry and pick up things so my knees, shoulders and lower back cooperate.
Worst of all is trying to remember the name of something or someone, and finding a big blank spot inside my head where the answer should be. It’s not that I’ve lost it; I’ve just misplaced it. But if I think about something else instead, the missing word pops up — “George” or “platypus” or whatever.
The good news is that some changes have pointed me in new directions. For example, it was a big surprise that my heart isn’t as reliable as I had thought. Part of the prescribed treatment was to join a cardiac fitness class at The Heart Center of the Rockies. Best thing I’ve done in a long time. I work out twice a week in a supervised program with — the important part — other folks who have similar problems. That means we’re all pretty much in the same boat, so there’s a lot of support and no need to compete. Just chug along as best you can and rejoice over small triumphs.
I’m also no longer a slave to anyone’s alarm clock — husband’s, kids’ or mine. I can do what I want to do pretty much when I want to do it. Since I love to garden and I love to read, volunteering at the Gardens on Spring Creek and The Friends of the Library solved the problem for me of how to use some of that newly discovered spare time.
And, very important, it’s a good time of life to give in to that secret urge to write the great American novel. Or learn how to fly a kite or weld or make bread or … Bottom line, it’s all about living with Ch-ch-ch-changes.