Bridging the Divided

Aging Is Not For The Faint Of Heart…..

An acquaintance once told me that aging happens overnight. I was in my 30s at the time. She went on to say we wake up one morning and realize we are old. I nodded my head as if I understood. 

Here I am nearly six months into my 60th year. I now understand.  As part of my job, I give a PowerPoint presentation to all new employees on the aging process. Ironic, isn’t it? I don’t need the PowerPoint; I’m living the PowerPoint. The presentation would be much quicker if I simply gave a narrative of my daily life.

The funny thing is one’s brain doesn’t seem to age along with the rest of the body. Our brains still think young, it’s our bodies that betray us. The brain says, “Hey, you haven’t skated in a while. Remember how much fun you had?” The body, sounding very much like Eeyore, of Winnie the Pooh fame, says, “I told you so, but you wouldn’t listen.” after one falls and shatters the tailbone. 

Recently, I suffered a few days with sciatic and piriformis muscle pain. I hobbled around the house like a woman twice my age. For those of us who didn’t do well in math, that would equal 120 years old. I checked it on my large LCD display calculator. Believe me, I felt every bit of 120. Heat seemed to help, so my young brain encouraged me to take a hot, soaking bath. My husband was at work. Second red flag, quickly raised after the first red flag proudly waving in the breeze that a hot soaking bath was a good idea. I ran a tub of steamy water, shed my clothes, and stepped in. Ahhhhh, the water felt so good as I lowered myself into the tub and laid back letting the rising steam envelope me. The muscle started to relax. Deep sigh of relief. 

Soon the water cooled and my thoughts turned to getting back out of the tub. My strength, however, seemed to have dissipated into the bathwater along with the pain. The thought, “What if I can’t get out of the bathtub?” tripped across my brain cells. It was a legitimate thought, rapidly turning into a fear. Four Yorkie faces looked at me over the tub wall. “How do you plan to get out of there, mom?”, their collective thought evident in four sets of brown eyes. Quickly thumbing through the Rolodex in my brain (yes, before the digital age, we used a Rolodex – Google it), I ran through my options and came up with only one viable option and three possible outcomes. I could attempt to get out, in which case I would either fail and need to call EMS for lift assistance, wait until my husband got home from work several hours later, or drown myself before either happened so that I would be safely tucked away in the afterlife when my overweight, (I prefer the term fluffy) pruney-skinned body was found. None of the options presented a local news headline I was comfortable with so I decided to drape myself over the tub wall and slither out onto the floor. That sounded surprisingly agile and even a little sexy, except I envisioned it more like a bloated python slithering into the water from the banks of the Amazon after swallowing a Water Buffalo. Slither it would be. 

Another cruelty perpetrated on the aging is that one’s metabolism slows to a snail’s pace and losing weight becomes a losing battle. Not that many years ago – I know, because I still remember – I could drop ten pounds by cutting out a few calories and jumping on the exercise bike. Not so, these days. Aging isn’t pretty or sexy, but what’s the alternative?

Proverbs 16:31 tells us, “White hair is a crown of honor obtained by righteous living.” (The Complete Jewish Bible) Really? What if we didn’t live all that righteously? You will end up with white hair and slitering out of the bathtub like a bloated python…..

Laughter is good for the soul!

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