When I turned 40 I made up a joke. “What’s the difference between being under 40 and over 40? When you are under 40 and something goes wrong with your body, you know you will get better. When you are over 40, you aren’t sure.”
When I turned 60 I added another question to the joke. “What’s the difference between being under 60 and over 60? When you are under 60 and something goes wrong with your body, you wonder if you will bet better. When you are over 60, you know for sure you won’t get better.”
At 65 I’m learning that there are a lot of things that can go wrong with a body, even if you are healthy. I’m amazed that no one seems to talk about a lot of this stuff. For example, I’ve known for a long time that my hearing will slowly get worse, but I didn’t know that it is perfectly normal for the ringing in my ears to increase. Is there a cure, or do I just have to learn to live with it?
Just lately the skin on the bottom of my feet feels thicker than before. It’s not painful, but I can tell there is a little bit of numbness there. Meanwhile, the rest of my skin seems to be getting thinner. I’m now more likely now to get a cut or a scratch when I work in the garden or reach for something on a shelf.
I sometimes find it harder to remember a name or think of just the right word. But I’m only 65. With each of these “senior moments,” I worry about dementia. I watched my father lose his memories and skills, and now I’m watching my step mom go through the same process.
Even with exercising 5 or 6 days a week, my balance isn’t what it used to be. I’m not as flexible. It’s getting a little harder to pick things up off the floor. Just lately I learned that I can expect my sense of smell to slowly degrade. And my heart is doing funny things (AF or Atrial Fibrillation).
How many more old age surprises have I yet to discover? Is there a way to solve some of these problems? Is there a way to grow old well?
These are some of the questions I am hoping to write about and discuss with you. Feel free to add your comments as I add posts. Maybe together we can find some answers. Pete