First of all, I want to thank everyone who either emailed me privately with good wishes or who commented on my recent post about the age thing. And, as is so often the case, while I spent some time thinking that I was the only one with those doubts and concerns, it seems that I’m not the only blogger who has been whacked by the wand of the birthday fairy when he wasn’t looking.
I’m really trying not to dwell on this. Really. Actually, that post was the first time I’d even discussed it anywhere, mainly because it takes me so damn long to figure out:
a) that something is bothering me, and
b) what that something really is.
Two months to figure this out, right? “Yeah, Tom writes some neat little stories once in a while. Too bad he’s so slow on the uptake…”
Kind of like my bitingly sarcastic retorts… the ones that I think up at 2:30 in the morning.
So, while I’m not dwelling on the subject, I was reading over the comments – and thank you again, everyone, for your support and good wishes – and Aradia’s jumped out at me: “I know what it’s like to feel depressed about feeling old.” This one niggled at me a bit, and I realized that I don’t worry about being old, or even getting old. Rather, my concern is more akin to the joke about falling out of an airplane – it’s not the height that kills you, it’s the sudden stop.
See, I’m not worried about getting older; rather, it only became clear to me that I might not.
I belong to a local civic group that has a number of active members in their late 50s and also in their late 20s. Even though I’m physically closer to the former group, I more often find myself socializing with the latter group; not out of any intentional reasons, but simply because that’s where I “see” myself. And while I think of myself as about 28 mentally, I do realize that I’m not physically 28. That is, I don’t make a fool of myself by, say, trying to outdrink any of the guys who are actually 28, or challenge them to arm wrestling, or to pull an all-nighter. I know that my body doesn’t bounce back like it did 20 years ago, and I (usually) remember that if I do any heavy labor that I’m going to be pretty sore the next morning. In short, I don’t try to act like an overgrown college student.
(Insert comment about piercing my nether regions here. Go ahead, you know you want to.)
So, spending several hours in a hospital ER has made me examine this mental / physical thing that I have blithely carried around with me. I wrote that this was the first time I’ve had to face the growing discrepancy between the age that I feel mentally, and the age that my body has become. I’ve been fortunate enough to be pretty healthy. My eyesight is good, my dexterity is good, and while a bad flu will knock me out for a few days, it doesn’t happen very often. I’ve put on a few pounds, but it hasn’t seemed to affect much except that I can’t fit into my leather pants from 20 years ago anymore.
No, I don’t have any pics of me in leather pants. Or me when I was 28. At least, not in digital format.
Anyway, I’ve realized that what’s bothering me is not the aging thing itself; Perhaps, because I’ve never had any health issues until now I’ve suddenly been shocked into looking at it from a completely different perspective. I’ve always known I was going to get old, but my conception of “getting old” has been analogous to a clock running down. That is, I have always figured that I’d simply get slower and slower and gradually run down until finally – after a long while – there wouldn’t be anything left.
The idea that the mainspring would suddenly break or a gear would jam and suddenly stop everything just never occurred to me.
Like I said, sometimes I’m slow on the uptake.
But as I get over this little bump, I’m being thankful that it turns out that there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong physically. I’ve had several tests for which the results were “perfectly normal” and if the upshot is only that I’ve started on blood pressure and cholesterol meds now, instead of after something serious, then I guess I’m ahead, right? Venting about this here has helped, too. It’s good for me to see that I wasn’t alone in my thinking, and that what I’ve been going through is, like my health, perfectly normal. Again, my thanks for those of you who wrote.
Oh, and I’ve noticed that my libido has returned; Mrs. Edge thanks you as well.