Monday, July 25, 2016
On getting older
Some might think I'm well-adjusted to aging. Nope, I don't think so, I'm just stoic about things that I don't have much power to alter. Fighting it seems like such a waste of what time I've got left. If my parents and grandparents are any measure of my possible longevity, I have about 30 years left. That's a whole 'nother lifetime spread out before me! It's not as long as I've lived, but it's still a pretty good chunk left. I know anything could happen and I might not get any of those years, or all of them, so with that in mind, I'm trying to plan for this future.
I am getting weaker as I age, and my three times a week weight-lifting and aerobic workouts are helping me maintain some muscle strength, but muscle deterioration is inevitable. Now, I'm not some hunched-over, decrepit old woman, but I can't lift and move furniture like I once could and I get exhausted from physical labor much quicker than I used to. This is my body saying 'you're not a Spring chicken anymore,' and I continue to work, lift, pull, push, and say, 'too bad, this work has to get done.' So as a result, I'm in much better shape than my mother was at this age. This is the best that I can do right now, given my busy schedule. Maybe when I retire I can become a body builder or long-distance runner again, maybe not.
The thing is, I really believe "use it or lose it" is true. I can see others my age who aren't as flexible or as strong as me. I don't want to be stuck in a body that doesn't work for me, so I need to keep this one working as well as possible for as long as possible. There will be time for sitting around later. Right now, I need to continue to live, continue to move, grow, and push myself. That's the physical side of it.
The other side of aging is, 'okay, what have I accomplished in this life?' Is there anything I still want to do, and better do before I'm no longer physically able to do that? Is there anything I still want to accomplish? Anywhere I want to go? So I find myself thinking along the lines that, I need to finish my genealogy for my kids. I need to preserve some of the stories of my family. I need to make sure my mother's handmade blankets are passed down. And as I work on my genealogy, and I wonder about my ancestors, what they thought and felt during their lives, I think I should write something so my descendants will know who I was, what made me happy, what injustices bothered me, or why I made the choices I did. I feel the need to leave something behind.
I have thousands of poems from a lifetime of writing. Only a few are just above ordinary, but there is that. I have short stories, a screenplay, and a nearly finished novel. I have newspaper columns I used to write and years worth of daily life stories on this blog, that I need to transfer into another form, off the computer for safe keeping. So I think if I preserve some of these things, my descendants will know I was a writer. I liked building and salvaging things. I was a lifelong tinkerer, always trying to improve my own little corner of the world. Did I discover a cure for cancer, climb Everest, or go to the moon? No, mine has been an ordinary life, but an enjoyable one. I still think there's an opportunity for me to do something more, but like many people, I don't know quite what that more is. So I keep living. I keep doing what is important to me and makes me happy, and maybe before my time is up, I'll have a little bit more interesting life story for my descendants to inherit.
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