On Aging

I chuckled a bit to myself this evening when taking a break and partook in my love/hate relationship with Facebook, noticing the ads and “group” posts: Men’s Health is dominant (in all of “health’s” facets…); Dad Jokes (group); multiple career related groups; and on and on.

I’m not a kid anymore, am I?

I seek out dad jokes on Facebook and have basically perfected the art of telling them (something my kids mock, making me relish in it all the more, truth be told…).

I have ED medicine, from Roman to Hims, shoved down my throat constantly (any visual images just projected were entirely unintended, as was my projectile pun…).

I spend most of my time reviewing the group posts of strangers discussing air conditioners and electrical panels.

What I emit are ramblings that seem inspired by Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino. Get off my lawn!

Yay me?

How does this happen? When? It seems like yesterday my Facebook feed and “ad experience” was rife with rock bands, guitars, skateboards, and the like. And one day… it was dad jokes and prostrate cancer warnings!

The truth is that I feel it too.

It isn’t simply Facebook reminding me that I am as close to 60 now as I am to 20; my body says the same thing. My upper neck hurts constantly. I’ve had lower back, pelvis, herniated disc and sciatic issues for years now and I don’t even remember what it is like to not be in pain and experiencing dysfunction. My knees, fingers and joints ache. I can’t throw a baseball hard more than a couple times without elbow pain, yet I used to excel in all sports. I even skateboarded and biked—I’ve fallen down flights of stairs and other heights, yet I’ve never broken a bone. And yet the prospect of jumping off my tailgate onto the ground below is met with mental projections of pain or injury. My mind does indeed feel like I’m 15-20, and yet my body is losing its ability to respond to what is in my head.

Not all is lost though as I enter my “middle ages”.

My mind is sharp. I think more clearly than I did 20 years ago. I have learned to value experience, now realizing why I would have dismissed its tutelage back then: because I had no experience, and had no idea what was missing. The merger of knowledge and experience is, in many respects, when one becomes wise. I’m wiser. Oddly enough, I am more comfortable in my own skin than I was back then. I may have been hardheaded and bold—vastly more than I am now—but I was still so “becoming” in my life. How can this not be true? I was yet to be married. Yet to have children. Yet to be divorced. Yet to have a career; still in college. I was barely out of high school and out from under my parent’s wings. Frankly, I didn’t realize how uncomfortable I really was back then, despite the comfort I had or seemed to. When life throws you as many hard balls and curveballs as it has me, it forces you to change. Hopefully for the better. Sometimes not. But it is the clash of ideology and experience that should hopefully lead to a net gain and, thereby, a greater comfort with who we are as individuals. It should also strip of us of our idealism, bringing us to a greater awareness of ourselves and reality.

Good things.

I miss the innocence of idealism, stripped of all experience. I miss the innocence of thinking that all that one needed was the right thought and the right conclusion—experience be damned! I miss what it feels like to not be in pain, or the confidence that I can, yes, jump off that cliff into that water below and be fine. There is something to be missed as these parts decidedly rest in my past.

I’ll still take the older me. Along with Facebook’s Men’s Health ads. If there must be a trade, then I think it’s a fair one.

+J.

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