Tag Archives: aging

How I Die a Little Each Time Someone Says “For Your Age”

I always appreciate the kindness and generosity of spirit when someone sends a compliment my way or I get a good news from a medical check-up. But there is no faster way to turn my smile upside down than to pause and conclude the statement with “… for a guy your age.”

“You look great… for a guy your age.”

“Your test results are great… for a guy your age.”

“Your eyesight is good… for a guy your age.”

What does “for your age” mean exactly? “For your age bracket you are doing well, but when compared to the overall population, you suck?” Well that’s certainly a feel-good moment, isn’t it?

When exactly did I get old enough to earn the qualifier “for your age” and why do I hear a roar of horror movie sound effects whenever someone says it?

I know that I will probably never have the same constitution as I did when I was 20. Back then, I burned up calories faster than I could consume them. I could work out every day and rarely feel the burn the next day. When I wasn’t so kind to my body, I could get by on 4 hours sleep, I smoked, and my diet rarely included leafy greens. Yet somehow, I still functioned reasonably well.

Things are different now for this quinquagenarian. One salty meal and I puff up like the Pillsbury Dough Boy, and “feeling the burn” the next day is often the result of something as challenging as opening a jar with a tight lid. Significant adjustments were needed out of necessity. Continue reading

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When Things Are Oversealed for Your Protection

A couple of months ago, I was home from work with a bad case of bronchitis. Not only was my breathing affected, but the body aches and the rapid swings between feeling hot and cold had me running through wardrobe changes faster than Cher at her Farewell Tour.

At one point, I was feeling so crummy, I was taking the maximum daily dosage of pain reliever. In doing so, I quickly depleted my supply and needed to open a new bottle. Little did I know the ordeal that was lying ahead:

The box was “sealed for my protection”. I understood why. I believe many of us can remember the events of 1982 that led to the reason why medication packages are designed and secured in the way that they are.
Check out this link for a refresher: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/tylenol-murders-1982

But despite the multiple attempts, with the “brute force” I was putting into it – maybe it was my weakened state – I just couldn’t tear through the simple plastic seal on the cardboard box, no matter how hard I tried. The packaging was visibly mangled, but I just couldn’t break in. Continue reading

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Where Did My “Get Up and Go” Go?

Get Up and Go It didn’t seem that long ago that it didn’t matter what day of the week it was, I could put in a full day at school or work, do something during the evening, even if it meant hanging out with friends until after midnight, and still get up the next day, bright eyed and bushy tailed, to grab the bull by the horns, to turn over a new leaf, and to move mountains.

What happened?

I realize that the responsibilities of being an adult do consume a fair bit of time and energy. However, my responsibilities at work translate to food on the table, my mortgage and bills are covered and that I have the means to enjoy fun experiences in my down time.

But lately, a typical Friday night consists of picking up my groceries on the way home, then a reasonable facsimile of a meal for dinner, a glass of wine, watch the news, maybe one prime time show and then I am pretty much ready to call it a night.

When it comes to going out, there have been times that on the way back after an eventful evening, I see carloads of folks half my age headed in the opposite direction on their way out to party. Then I wonder what went wrong. That used to be me… “Where did my get up and go” go?

Worse yet is to wake up one morning and to be hit with the old familiar feeling: every classic symptom of a hangover. Then in thinking back, realizing that the night before was an evening on the couch with the cat, a ginger ale and Netflix. Sigh!

It should come as no surprise that my running joke about having a caffeine I.V. through the day seems to come up more and more often these days. Continue reading

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I Should Have Wished for Longer Arms

Eye GlassesWhen I was told to make a wish before blowing out the candles on the cake for my 50th birthday, I have to admit that nothing ran through my mind at the time. I am very lucky in so many respects and have so much for which to be grateful. What could I possibly wish for that I did not have already?

The answer came a few days later: longer arms!

When it comes to my eyesight, here is the long and the short of it: while I can really see fine (without glasses) for a three to four foot radius, anything beyond that, I turn into Mr. Magoo and require glasses. This has been the case since around Grade 10, and with the exception of a token increase in my glasses prescription every few years, there has not been much change there.

The winds of change started blowing about 6 years ago, as the gap between my short range and long range vision started getting wider. My ophthalmologist couldn’t have been sweeter or more sensitive in gently discussing the “B” word (…bifocals) or the “P” word (…progressives) without ever shocking me into realizing that I wasn’t 21 anymore. She dropped hints and explained the options, never forcing the issue on me and she always concluded our little chat about the facts of life with, “You’ll know when it is a problem and you need that correction.”

Up until now, it really has not been a bother. If I wanted to read, or do something on the iPad or iPhone, I would usually just flip my glasses up on top of my head and do what I needed, and flip the glasses back down onto my nose when I was done.

Also, because the frames on my last few pair of glasses were a bit smaller, I got used to cheating a little and just looking down, below the frame. It worked, especially for quick little things like signing a document or looking at the time.

However, last year, Continue reading

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Digital Amnesia

It was perhaps just one month ago that I heard the expression “digital amnesia” for the first time. Well, there is a chance I may have read about it or heard about it before, but I probably forgot.

After a bit of digital research, it would seem that digital amnesia can be interpreted four ways:
– Forgetting things that used to get committed to memory, such as telephone numbers, when technology removes the need for us to remember and use them on a regular basis;
– An increasing challenge in performing functions that technology can do for us more efficiently but that were previously done manually, such as math;
– Not relying or trusting our memory and reaching for the phone to remember or prove something; or
– Forgetfulness when it comes to details, due to the constant influx of information from so many sources that our brains do not have enough time to process, digest and retain.

While I quite appreciate the idea of the unlimited potential of the brain and the theory that we are only harnessing a fraction of what it is capable of doing, it does seem like a bit of a departure from conventional thinking to consider that the brain does have its limits and that we are there when it comes to information overload.

For example, when it comes to details, I cannot tell you how many times I have found myself in a conversation and stumbling to try to accurately quote something I heard on TV, on the radio, or through one of the social media platforms I read regularly. When combined with the flood of emails I receive daily at work and in my personal accounts, as well as my friends’ Facebook posts and tweets from my fellow writers and runners, it’s a wonder that with that quantity of factoids in my head I am able to recall anything.

Or worse yet, God forbid I should start mixing up stories such as things I read about products to keep the cat off my kitchen counter with solutions to help deal with unwanted body hair. That could be disastrous on many levels.

At first, I just thought that Continue reading

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The Joys of Getting Older

Getting_Older

A few weeks ago, I published a blog post called The Fears of Getting Older. Thanks for all of the positive feedback folks, it was very nice to hear how that one resonated with so many of you!
Among the feedback I received, one of my friends challenged me to writing its antithesis. It didn’t take long that the ideas started flowing. So here you have it, Gilles & friends… The Joys of Getting Older!

– Little to no risk of getting chosen last for any team.
– In the adult world, spending “recess” alone is not a bad thing.
– Reading a book for the fun of it and savouring every word rather than rushing through it because of a book report or test.
– Homework doesn’t happen often and when it does, it is usually called “overtime” which usually means there’s money attached to it. Continue reading

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The Fears of Getting Older

ElderlySignAt 48, which some might call “middle aged” (just not my Mom though – she has banned the use of that expression as the idea that she has a middle aged son freaks her out), it is a strange time for reflection since your career is still in full swing but you know retirement is potentially not far off. It is a time when planning and reflecting actively co-exist.

It’s that middle ground that can be a little weird sometimes… it is not the transition itself, it is the REALIZATION that you are transitioning from one part of your life to another that can be a little scary… and funny at the same time:

– I fear that there are some foods I just won’t eat, not because I don’t like them, but because they don’t agree with me. I used to have a stomach of steel! What happened?
– I fear the day that my favourite tunes of the 80’s which are now considered “retro” will one day become considered “oldies”.
– I fear the day that a fashion I sported in “my day” is back in fashion… again… for the 3rd or 4th time and becomes unquestionably “age inappropriate” for me to wear.
– I fear the realization of the change in wording from “when I grow up” to “when I retire”. Continue reading

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