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It doesn't take much to make me happy, but then it doesn't take much to annoy me either.

Aging

24 OCT 2020 - I've wanted to create a page about aging for quite a while... ever since I've become "old"... ha!

It has slowly come upon me, this business of getting old. As of this day I'm 62 years old, and consider myself to be unusually fortunate. I have reasonable health, not requiring any medications beyond the occasional Advil. My body is certainly not what it used to be and there are days when I wonder about my mind. But for the most part I'm capable of most activities that I enjoyed in my youth except for running. I cannot, or will not, expose my knees to that abuse - but even in that I count myself fortunate to be able to walk with ease. This is truly a blessing.

But aging does bring with it acquired knowledge thru experience, and as much as it would be great to be young again it would also be unfair to trade the valuable wisdom that has been gained. I've learned a few things.

  1. Exercise - do not neglect this, build the habit when you're young and cling to it no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient. Here's the trick to exercise - it does not take much to gain tremendous benefit. 10 minutes a day will do wonders for both physical as well as mental health.

    P90X has been my tool of choice, but what I found - again thru experience - is doing a little has much greater benefit than over extending yourself to the point of either injury or fatigue. And fatigue comes mainly in the form of boredom or burnout. Avoid that at all costs by doing less than you think you should, but doing something just the same.

    Again, the benefits are huge.

  2. Water - drink some water, then drink some more, then drink some more water. The older I get the more convinced I am that an aging body needs water more than ever before. This may sound a little off putting, but I get the impression body fluids are more concentrated as we age. This can result in more pungent body odors - I know, kind of gross. But consuming regular quantities of water seems to help this.

    Of course consuming more liquids will require extra trips to relieve yourself, but this isn't necessarily bad either - keeps you from sitting too much.

  3. Stretching - it is very true that flexibility grows worse as you age. I've noticed that I can spend 10 or 15 minutes stretching, feel great, and a half hour later I'm beginning to feel stiff again. That would seem to contradict the advice to stretch, but if I neglect this for days or weeks the results are disastrous. You don't realize how much good stretching is until it's neglected and then the fact that you are older is obvious in every motion throughout the day.

    Stretch... you'll feel far better than if you don't.

  4. Small portions - maybe it's because I never had to worry about eating due to a high metabolism. But it has taken years of approaching food as though I were still 18 years old before I recognized that eating too much is simply a painful proposition. Digesting food takes longer, I can go longer without feeling hungry, and it's just good to avoid adding excess weight to my midsection. We're fortunate to live at a time where food is abundant - there will be more food later if hungry, so I find it worthwhile to cut back on portions and take more control over how much I consume.

  5. Indigestion - eating after 8 or 9 at night is no longer advised. It only took a few very uncomfortable heartburn sessions at night to convince me of this discipline.

  6. Discipline - speaking of discipline, when I was younger a lack of discipline was rampant in my life. Not sure why, but as I've become older I have more control over my resolutions. I'm certainly not perfect and still wrestle with bad habits, but I'm finding more success than when younger. I like that.

  7. Patience - I've always been a patient person, but now I have seen that waiting for something isn't as difficult. Maybe it's because time seems to pass faster, but I can now postpone fulfillment knowing that if I simply wait, or even distract myself, then something desired eventually comes about if I don't focus on it.

  8. Sleep - when I was younger I could and would abuse the lack of sleep. 6 hours a night was not uncommon, while attempting to make up for it on weekends. This is just a bad habit to fall into. I think not going to bed earlier was due to knowing I would have to get up and go to work in the morning, so I'd convince myself that if I didn't go to bed then getting up in the morning could be delayed. What foolishness.

    Maybe it's not the best solution, but now if I'm working on 6 hours sleep I'll try to squeeze a nap in before or even after dinner. But without a doubt the ideal is to go to bed at a reasonable hour. It's a testimony to my foolishness that I am only now realizing how much better I am during the day if I have at least 7 hours or more sleep.

  9. Sitting - especially when surfing the internet can consume hours of my time sitting in front of a computer, don't do this. Get up, find something that needs to be done, find any excuse to alter marathon sitting sessions and get up and move. Your back will appreciate this.

  10. Reading - browsing the internet doesn't count. Reading books was a skill that I lost in the middle of my life and only now resurrected. Reading seems to keep my mind sharp, it does wonders for my writing skills, and as shocking as this may be it actually causes me to learn things.

  11. Faith - getting older brings the reality of death so much closer, obviously. With this in mind there's another fatal risk lurking in the background, and that is the mindset that nothing matters because you're going to die anyway. This is disastrous. It robs you of meaning and opens an avenue of depression and nihilism that only gets worse as time passes.

    The mortality of age is very real, grows with each passing day, and can rob you of your remaining days if not countered. And that counter, for me, is faith in God. He allows death as a relief - dragging around an aging decrepit body is no way to live, and very often death is a blessing. Learn to accept it and embrace it, while appreciating your remaining days. God is good, very good - learn to trust Him in this.

 

 

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