When I was young, around 10 I believe, I didn’t think I would live to be 20. Don’t ask me why because I couldn’t tell you. Now, that I am 47, 20 seems like an eternity ago, and I guess it was. How the hell did this happen? It must be the aging process.
One of my BGF’s is Cliff. He is a 71-year-old man who I have known for 18 or 19 years now. You would never guess him to be 71, and most people don’t believe it either. Last year he and I took ballroom dancing classes together, and it was a lot of fun. Even though he said his hips would hurt after a class, he had no problem keeping up with the youngins.
Back in 1994 I had gone running after the sun had set. The subdivision we lived in was relatively new and there were many vacant streets. On this particular night I was running down the sidewalk when a long weed brushed across my leg. It scared the crap out of me, and I decided to run in the street. A little further down the road I stepped in a pot hole and hyper extended my knee. I had to hobble the last 1.5 miles to the house. My knee swelled up like a mushy grapefruit and I finally went to the doctor after 3 months of dealing with the pain. After he examined me, he said, “I hate you damn runners! What took you so long to come in?” To which I retorted, “Because I hate you damn doctors!” He smiled at me and said, “Touché”. After a couple of months of therapy, I was told my running days were probably over. I thought, “Yea, right. Doctors told me after my car wreck when I was 18 that I would never walk again either.” Once again, don’t tell me that I can’t do something. “Can’t was killed in the battle of try.”
My best friend Quynh got me back into running. I would get up at 4:13 and meet her for a run. The first couple of times were kind of tough, but I quickly remembered how much I loved to run. Last year I ran my one and only 5k and pretty much stopped running again. My knees just didn’t appreciate it as much as I did. I have been told by a few of my older friends to stop running. The damage from the constant pounding on the pavement would cause a lot of irreversible damage and I would end up needing surgery. I would rather not run and not be cut on.
I don’t believe in being sedentary, and I 100% believe being active is the key to staying young. As I have aged I have noticed a few aches and pains that were not there 10 years ago, and I guess you just get use to it. For me, it is a reminder that I am not 18 anymore, (even though I act 12 half the time). My joints have started to hurt a little when I jump out of bed in the morning and it kind of shocks me every morning. This last move took a considerable toll on me, and I am grateful the move into the RV will be a breeze.
I am noticing more and more gray hairs, and I shouldn’t complain. I have friends that are 10 years younger than me that are covered in gray hair. I believe the biggest shock of how old I truly am came to me a couple of years ago. My friend Betsey and I were at the pool talking to Little Dave and Big Dave when the subject of age came up. Little Dave guessed I was 40 because of my neck. “My neck? What are you talking about?” I asked. He said my neck looked wrinkly. I had no idea what he was talking about. I had never noticed it before. I notice it now. Trust me! My youngest son pointed it out to me the other day. Yea, yea, yea! I know I’m not 20 anymore! Damnit! I don’t feel this old!
I do enjoy spending time with older people, and they will be the focus of my journey. A lot can be learned from our elders, and we need to listen more to what they have to say. I plan on growing old gracefully, and I won’t fight it. It is a right of passage, and I feel those that get all the surgery to stay young-looking end up looking like freaks. My Grandmother died with a beautiful, barely wrinkled face. I will join her on that one.
This is my journey…