Growing Old Can Suck But It Doesn’t Have To

When you get older, there are so many little issues that pop up on a regular basis that make you say “what the hell?!” As a matter of fact, I have a little poem that sums it up quite nicely.

When you’re young, you wake up and nothing hurts

When you’re middle aged, you wake up and ask, “What hurts today?”

When you’re old, you wake up and ask, “What doesn’t hurt today?”

I take six pills daily.

It used to be eight, but I recently lost 35 pounds, making my blood sugar and blood pressure closer to normal. I remember I used to marvel at the number of pill bottles that were in my grandparent’s medicine cabinet. Now, that cabinet is mine. The good news: You’ll know so much about drugs that you can advise friends and family if you need to.

Why is it hard to tie my shoes the older I get?

Bending over and tying them actually makes me lose my breath, and I have to hurry to get them tied before I suffocate. When I’m done I’m huffing and puffing like I ran a mile. I now know why old people wear loafers. The good news: Think how much time you’ll save! You’ll never again struggle to untie a knot.

I see my doctor a lot more than I used to.

I’ve always had trouble with a docter holding my privates and asking me to cough. My doctor has probably given the test thousands of times, and she probably doesn’t really care anymore, but it still seems like I should have taken her out to dinner first.

And prostate exams are a joy. I hear that glove snap and I clench tighter than I would to hold onto my phone in a public place.

My physicals also have more tests than they used to.

For example, I have learned the wonders of getting a colonoscopy. First they make you drink a huge bottle of horrible tasting snot which keeps you on the throne for hours. This is followed the next day by a camera that rides along the Hershey highway. I’ve done this test twice. The first time I slept through it, the second time I was awake enough to see the journey on the big screen.

Next month you can stream it on Netflix.

The good news: Hmm. I’m not sure there is any here.

Who is that?

One of the other peculiar issues of getting old is recognizing yourself in the mirror. I look at photos from when I was young, and I no longer see that person in my reflection. Instead I see a stranger. I have no idea if I have “aged well.” I’ve seen former classmates’ photos on social media, and some of them look great, while others look like they’ve had a hard life. Which do I look like? And would anyone I ask tell me the truth? The toughest part of looking at the old guy in the mirror is that my mind still thinks I’m 25. The good news:

And when did using technology become a struggle?

Every day at my job I deal with other seniors who are absolutely terrified of their phones, even though we’ve had computers in our homes since the ‘80’s. Usually their kids or grandkids bought the phone for them, hoping to get grandma and grandpa to text. But the difference between the old and the young is that old people want to know what a button does before they press it, while young people just push buttons to see what they do. By the way, if you do buy grandma a phone, take the time to teach her to use it. To people afraid of technology, it is NOT easy or intuitive. The good news: If you love technology and have the patience to learn, there are devices that will do some fantastic things, including reminding you to take your pills, and telling you who’s calling before you answer it.

Is there more good news?

Absolutely.

Feeling content seems easier because I’ve learned a lot of crap is less important than I thought. Over the years my bullshit detector has become more refined. I’ve developed a taste for good wine and better food. I have friends I’ve known for decades, and we laugh easier and give each other better advice. I’m more curious about the world and the wonders in it, instead of worrying about my job.

Most important, I’m still here, able to stand and take nourishment. I still feel like a productive member of society, and I imagine I will for a few more years. I work with a lot of millennials, and I’m told my maturity and wisdom is of great help to them since I’m open to hearing about their problems. For some reason if advice comes from me instead of their parents, they’re more willing to listen.

Enjoy your youth

Even though it is, indeed, completely wasted on you. Spend less time worrying about what others think of you, and a lot more time chasing your dreams and doing things you think are important. Try to take better care of yourself when you’re young, because those snowboard injuries and the other risky stuff you do will add up later. Learn about money now, especially the idea of compund interest. And don’t worry about getting old. You’ll get there sooner than you think, but you may find it’s the best time of your life.

Plus you get discounts.

-

Want a chuckle and maybe something to think about a couple of times a week? Then click here.

I’m a writer, photographer, artist, musician and cleaner of litter boxes who focuses on the quirks in life.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store