One of the difficult facts one must face when you grow older: we live in a world shaped and dominated by the young. I’m not mad about this, it’s just a fact. It’s difficult to shield your eyes from beautiful young people everywhere. It’s a reminder of two things: 1) you’re not young anymore, and 2) you’re not young anymore. I was never the “turn heads” stud I secretly wanted to be. I was average looking with decent pecs. I accepted this fact knowing that if I added a bit of charm and a big sincere smile, I could probably nab a beau or two in my lifetime. And I did.
Now if someone looks my way, it’s usually just to make sure I’m still breathing. I jest of course, but the plain truth is, my number in years is rising while my chest, chin, and buttocks, are falling. I can either accept it or call it quits — I think the former is the best option. So what does that mean?
I’ve written about aging before. The older you get, the more you think about it. How can you not think about it?
Truth & Acceptance
Reality sucks. Coming to terms with loss is never easy. Losing one’s youth is no exception. We troubled old folk, go through the stages of grief, and I seem to be stuck on #6. I’ve been working through these feelings for a long time.
The 7 stages of grief (according to Google and who knows better than Google?)
- Shock and denial. This is a state of disbelief and numbed feelings.
- Pain and guilt. …
- Anger and bargaining. …
- Depression. …
- The upward turn. …
- Reconstruction and working through…
- Acceptance and hope.
Some of the Awful Things an Aging Body Experiences (I’ve been spared a few on the following list):
- leakage (I refuse to describe this)
- teeth issues (rotting, staining, infection, loss, Periodontitis, etc.)
- prostate enlargement and cancer
- interrupted sleep
- skin cancer
- excessive and uncontrollable gas
- back pain
- fungus in hard to reach places
- memory loss
Okay, I’ll stop. It’s way too disturbing to continue.
Some Ridiculous Affirmations and Mind Games that Work
Some of these I have done and continue to do in order to feel better and cope:
- The gym makes me feel like I’m doing something about slowing the process.
- Stretching for about 10 minutes helps loosen me up and alleviates some of the arthritis pain.
- I “try” to keep my weight now — a lifelong struggle.
- I tell myself that my body is just a vessel.
- I compensate for certain body issues by covering those parts with clothing (i.e., longer t-shirts, higher waisted pants). I’m not ready for a man bra, but I’m getting there.
- I still get an occasional pimple, therefore, I must still be adolescent, no?
- I tell myself I never liked sports anyway.
- I daydream about the past and then let it go (for that moment)
- I blog. Sometimes (like now), it makes me feel worse.
Can’t Reverse the Process So You Might As Well Make the Best of it
There are a few things that happen as you grow older that are truly wonderful and worth noting. Not that any young person will read this and think, “Oh wow, can’t wait for that to happen.”
- There is a lot of crap you no longer care about. For example, caring about what people think. If you no longer have to worry about job security or a place at your brother-in-law’s Easter table, what certain people say or think becomes insignificant and that feels really good.
- If sweat pants feel good on you, you can live in them.
- Paying off your own college loan debt is no longer worrisome.
- The closer you get to dying, the less you worry about it. Not speaking for everyone here. As the years go on and you experience more and more death, you realize how inevitable it is. You also start to feel your years physically and think at some point I’m going to want to rest . . . eternally.
- Your lifelong friends will pretty much accept any stupid thing that comes out of your mouth and you, them.
- I have read that your taste buds lose their ability to distinguish between certain levels of taste and that this causes a suppressed appetite (not so far, I’m waiting).
- If I want to go to bed at 9:00 a.m., no one can stop me.
- Thankfully, most older folks are not tethered to their cell phones. I say most because I know a few who are.
I’m struggling with coming up with this list. I feel like I’m reaching.
You’re Only As Old As You Feel — Research Says So
I’m waiting for some magic pill that turns you into a twenty-something year old for 24 hours. You can stay awake, feel no pain, wear form-fitting attire, dance the night away, attract others with similar desires, and wake-up without regrets.
Two Things to add to the last blog post publishing:
- You can no longer fly to Toulouse on an EasyJet direct flight from Faro. I’m not sure why or if they’ll ever bring back the route. It’s a hard pill to swallow. Instead, I will be returning to Lyon; a city in France I also love. Side note: I did a search and found this strange airline called Volotea. It’s a low budget Spanish Airline that will fly you to Toulouse for next to nothing and then quadruple the return flight. I won’t even consider using them unless I book a flight without a return.
- I wrapped up my last blog before leaving Toulouse. I wanted to share that I enjoyed a wonderful Easter lunch at Café Maurice in the centre of Toulouse (see photos below). They opened the entire front of the restaurant because the weather was ideal for fresh air and al fresco dining. I sat inside close to the open doors to avoid the smokers. Europeans are still big smokers. Everything about this restaurant is done well.
I also had excellent Korean food in Toulouse; I can’t get Korean in Faro and I don’t see it happening anytime soon.
Traveling to Berlin on the 29th of this month for one week. I’m looking forward to returning to a vibrant, artsy, and fairly close to Faro, city. Amsterdam, Geneva, Milan and a northern Europe cruise after that. And after years of wondering what has happened to detroit, I’ll be going in September (part of a bigger trip to be fleshed out).