IT HELPS to have a sense of humour about getting older. The process can seem both gradual and rapid – at least in my experience. With each passing year, certain changes become quite noticeable. Others are more insidious.
Health is a major preoccupation for people in my age bracket. As such, I try to live as healthy a lifestyle as my budget allows. Additionally, I've long since given up debauched pleasures that smoothed out the rough edges of life – a drink or 12, fast food, political debates, etc. Still, the cumulative effects of such amusements must come due.
At times I sit up on the edge of my bed clutching my chest. I've read gas pains often mimic cardiac-associated spasms. Still, I've been told by doctors (who are yet to realise anyone can be a doctor now thanks to WebMD) that chest pain isn't some mere trifle. I do take it seriously; I'm just not sure I want to rush all the way to the “hospital” only to be more flatulent than my columns.
Then there's the P-word. I'm well past the age the prostate essentially becomes an IED. As for getting regular prostate examinations...to quote Tony Soprano, I don't even let anybody wag their finger in my face. I've been waiting for technology to make the digital exam actually become digital – but that's not likely to happen in the time I need it to, so I'll have to clench up soon enough.
Notwithstanding lifestyle adjustments, it's inevitable that with advancing years, as the saying goes, you feel the teeth marks of time.
A lifetime of staring into a computer has done my eyesight no favours. The other day I went to the grocery to pick up some chicken samosas. I came back with vegetarian imposters. The packaging should have eye-chart-sized large font on them that reads "flaky disappointment pastries."
Just last week I only narrowly escaped brushing my teeth with Bengay instead of toothpaste. It's probably a good idea to put some distance between my ointments and the Crest before the inevitable comes to pass.
It's funny, but whenever I brush my teeth some new quirk of ageing materialises in the mirror. An overnight mole. More crow's feet. Eyebrows I'd never have given a thought to have become unruly Brillo pads. How did I come to have eyebrows like Sam the eagle?
And what is it about the body's operating system that says, OK it's time to trigger the needless overgrowth of nostril hairs?
Never one for vanity, I've been cutting my own hair for years. The clipper setting is always the same – bald. As it happens, that's where I'm headed anyway. Now I have to attend to errant nose hairs and steel-brush 'brows.
Again, I make my peace with change and do what I can to at least avoid looking absolutely feral on the rare occasions I venture out of my musty cave.
It's truly a marvel how quickly the mileposts of ageing manifest themselves. The staircase in my home suddenly feels like the staircase at Macqueripe Bay – which is one of the reasons I've not been to that beach in years. Getting downstairs in my home only to forget why I came down in the first place usually feels more tragic than it should.
Hey, did you know weight training is said to slow the descent in older people? Research shows exercise with weights builds or sustains muscle mass and strength. This facilitates better mobility, mental sharpness and metabolic function. Well, I'm in then! Except, a 20-pound dumbbell I managed with ease just last year is like Thor's hammer in 2021. What the hell is going on?
Still, I could be taking ageing worse. I'm trying to see getting on in years as shifting gears rather than decline – evolution rather than a diminution of abilities.
I have grown into the grumpiness that seemed out of character for someone in their 20s and 30s, so that's a plus. Moreover, age has given me clarity on my purpose and whittled away insecurities that hobbled my ambitions.
With seniority comes an enhanced appreciation for matters and people actually worth your time. As time appears more fleeting, less of it is given over to pointless pursuits like arguments with cemented minds of others. I am both older and remade.
There aren't any young people reading this column. They're all over on the TikTok, so let us raise a glass to ageing disgracefully – even if that glass is filled with Ensure.