I saw this chart on Facebook and laughed until my sides hurt. I’m not quite old enough to have undergone all of the listed changes, but I’m slowly moving in that direction. I worry the most about that new hip joint because of my osteoporosis. For the time being I still listen to acid rock while successfully treating my acid reflux with a little pill, and I often joke that if and when I do end up in a wheelchair I will be moving it to the beat of Satisfaction. In fact, I’m going to see the Rolling Stones in concert at the end of this month.
I have to admit to being amused that the members of that rock group are getting so old. I hand it to them for still having enough energy to go on tour, particularly Mick Jagger considering that he recently had open heart surgery. I have always liked his style and now he’s serving as an inspiration for all of us who are tempted to surrender to our aging bodies. If he can strut about for a few hours, then surely we can do those crunches at the gym and push ourselves to keep moving.
I’m happy to report that a cardiologist recently pronounced that he doesn’t think that I will ever need his services. My heart is strong and showing no signs of slowing down. When it comes to hair, however, I seeing major signs of thinning. I actually had someone recently suggest that I use a hair growth shampoo or consider adding some hair extensions or even investing in a wig. The truth is I had no hair when I was born and it took almost two years before I had enough to resemble a girl. I’ve fought and lost the hair battle for most of my life, so nothing is new in that regard. The good news is that even after five months of growth I have so little gray that most people would not even notice it. In that regard I appear to take after the people on my mother’s side of the family. Those women live long and with very few problems, but they usually end up unable to walk.
Recently I went to the nursing home where my one hundred year old aunt now lives. She looks remarkably healthy and has an astounding sense of humor even though she has a difficult time hearing these days. She laughed and joked the whole time I was there and but for the fact that she is wheelchair bound she doesn’t fit in the others who live around her. So many of the other people appear to be completely out of it, unaware of what is actually happening. I doubt that they would be able to hold a coherent conversation much less remember things the way my aunt can.
I suppose that if I am to live as long as the ladies in my family it won’t be so bad if I am as alert as they are. I’d pass my time reading and writing and watching a bit of television. I’d get some good hearing aides from Costco (Yes, I love going there!) and I’d manage to keep my mind busy. On the other hand, I have to admit that I don’t like the idea of being wheelchair bound but most people get there after a certain age. Having to roll around isn’t nearly as bad as losing memories or dealing with dementia. Besides my doctor tells me that some great therapies are on the horizon that will keep most people upright and moving much longer than people now do. He tells me that I may never end up confined to a wheelchair like everyone in my family has done once they reach a certain age.
I also have some of the genetics of my paternal grandfather who was a kind of superman. He lived to one hundred eight years of age and was clear headed and able to care for himself until his last few months. He was hanging wood panelling in his house and reading biographies of Thomas Jefferson well past one hundred. He only stopped driving because he felt that it was the appropriate thing to do. I have some of his same DNA in my body, so it’s likely that I will hang around for a quite a bit longer.
I’m not necessarily of the mind that long life is better. It all depends on what kind of life it becomes. I saw those poor souls sitting all alone in the living room of the nursing home, staring into the air and even making incomprehensible noises. I don’t know if they are suffering or not, but surely it must be difficult for members of their families to see them that way. I know that both my mother and my mother-in-law prayed that they would never have to be confined to months or years of being trapped inside minds unable to fully express themselves, and I have to admit that it seems quite sad when it happens to someone.
I suppose that none of us know how much or how little time we will have on this earth so the old saw that we need to make the most of each day becomes more and more true with each birthday. In 1979 I was thirty one years old and literally at the peak of my intellect, my appearance and my health. I laughed at the very thought of growing old. Now almost forty years later I’m still going fairly strong, so I intend to make the very best of every single moment. I’m taking trips, attending rock concerts, enjoying family and friends. Who knows what the future may hold!