Saturday, December 21, 2019

What Do I Think About Aging

Welcome again to Aging - My Thoughts.

Part of what I want to do with the time that I have left (no I am not planning on dying anytime soon), but I do want to write about my experiences, thoughts, and ideas on living while I have the privilege of getting old.

Life is a lot like this road, a bit slippery, with a few hills, but if you are careful passable.

Yes, aging or should I say getting to be considered old is a privilege and while it ain't for sissy's, it is a privilege that many do not get to enjoy.

I do not have any fancy initials after my name and the only claim to expertise I have about getting old is that I am currently doing it. I do have a few ideas, thoughts, philosophies and opinions about aging that I will be writing more in-depth on in the months and hopefully years to come. However, I believe it is important to write down what I am thinking about aging now, so when I look back and reflect on my life in the future, I can see if I have grown and if any of my perspectives or observation change as I learn more and gain experience in the aging process.

That actually getting old thing.

Living Well

First off, I plan to live well for as long as I can.

Don’t we all?

Yeah, but so many of us are unwilling, unable or just too damn busy surviving to live our lives well. We forget that living well is more than sitting on the couch, rocking chair or looking at a screen. Living well is having a life, doing stuff, getting outside, being with and actually talking with people - not to or at them, smiling, laughing, pushing your body to do more than you believe it could, challenging your brain to think, learn new things, but most of all to enjoy the life that you have.

If it is not the life you want, then it is up to you to do what you can to make it better.

Life is about the small daily things that we all do, the so-called boring parts of life that we do without really thinking about them. The parts of our lives that are the real-life us, that we gloss over, forget how wonderful many parts of them really are and how we need to stop, look around us to see things from the perspective of “look at all that I do have” versus the all too common “look at all that I don’t have”

We are all experiments of one, with different interests, backgrounds, lifestyles, and goals moving forward. So what works for me, may not work for you and what works for you may not work for me as we all get older.

The quality of my life is a big deal to me and I strongly believe that we can do more to maintain and even improve the quality of our lives as we get older, despite what many believe or that today's society expects from us once we get to a "certain" age.

However, we have to take responsibility for doing the things necessary to living well. No one can do them for you and if you believe they will, I tend to believe that your quality of life will suffer.

Health

I believe that I am responsible for my own health, not my doctors, not my wife, not the government, not some faceless, nameless entity on the Internet and certainly not some robotic creation. No one else can do all the things necessary to keep me healthy, but me, myself and I. All those sources can provide recommendations, ideas, studies, papers, articles, etc. on things I can or should do to be healthy, but it is up to me to choose what I actually do to stay healthy.

Relationships with other people - Yeah, this is at the top of my health list of subgroups. Without healthy relationships in your life, you cannot be healthy. It is that simple. I will not be writing a lot about this area, but you will see glimpses of how I get along and relate to others around me in my writing.

Medical - Based on my current experiences, I go to the doctors for my annual physical exam, take no medications (other than Vitamin D), and only get the vaccinations that I am required to have, otherwise unless I have a medical emergency I avoid the medical community and their tendency to solve most medical issues with pharmaceuticals versus lifestyle changes. This outlook has served me fairly well for the last eight years and I will continue to do this until it no longer works. Will I get into this portion of aging very often - I doubt it because I really do believe that this particular area is very person-specific and with the liability issues that it might bring - I want to stay a long ways away from any indication of offering medical advice, which I am in no way, shape or form offering. If I do write on this subject it will be very me specific.

Diet - The Standard American Diet doesn't work, just look around you or even in the mirror for proof of that. It scares me more than a little that on the news the other night there was a study that predicted that more than 50% of the U.S. population will be obese in the next 10 years. It doesn't help that there are so many different do this, don't do that diets out there that so-called experts are promoting. It is no wonder we are so confused about what we should be eating. What I do is nothing extreme, I eat meat, plants, avoid boxes, bags, attempt to use organic when possible, but I still have chips and deserts in moderation. Is it the perfect diet - no. I need to cut down on my sugar intake even more and do better on the organics. I will write a bit about eating better and how it affects me, but I am not an R.D. so I will not get too much into the weeds on this subject.

Exercise - Moving your body at any age is important, but it becomes even more important the older you get. No, it is not easy to find time and energy to actually get off your arse and do it, but it is something we all need to do. I attempt to run 30-40 miles most weeks, walk the dog three or more times a day for another 3-5 miles of walking, do stuff around the house and just be active. I should lift weights more and probably do more with the prehab/rehab portion of my running, but I am not a professional runner (or even a very good one) and just don't find time to do those things as often as I should. Be prepared to read a lot about my daily running exploits and how it impacts my health.

Sex - Yep and that is about all I am going to write about that subject. That is something that others can write about because I ain't going to.

Mental Health - This is something that we all encounter as we age, especially the real fears that we face with regard to dementia or other mental health issues. Again this is a serious subject and while I don't have the initials after my name to provide any expertise, I still can see me writing a little on this subject.

Pets - I put this here because I believe that our pets are a part of us being healthy. We have a dog and two cats that are spoiled rotten and are a part of our family. You will get to meet them and listen to their adventures on more than a couple of occasions I am sure.

Death - Yeah, this very difficult subject that most people seem to be afraid to talk about. I do and while I have no inclination to find out any time soon what is on the other side of life, I do know that at some point I will die. I can see more than a few posts on this subject.

The bottom line is that if you do not have your health, aging is going to suck. My wife and I both work hard at staying healthy and while it is not a guarantee that we will remain healthy, it does help with our quality of life.

Retirement

What a scary word, it means a complete change in lifestyle, income level, responsibilities, or goals and I have struggled with it a couple of times. You go from being whatever profession you are involved with to struggling with what you were versus where you are. Retirement for me now is where I want to be, I have no one telling me what I need to do (well the wife might think differently), my schedule is fluid and flexible and I get to choose the things that I want to accomplish. Retirement is all about how you choose to utilize your time. Yeah, there are few posts coming on this subject.

Technology 

I have used computers and technology for most of my life. I started on computers with the old Commodore Vic 20 and Windows 1.0 and kept pretty current throughout my life. At various points, I have been a systems administrator, power user, programmer, and professional blogger. However, now I am just an end-user and my technology needs are changing compared to where I was in the past. I will be writing about the changes in my use of technology and how it affects me going forward.

Finance

Unfortunately or fortunately, as we get older our finances are usually pretty much settled. We have either been fortunate or lucky enough to have made good choices over the years and are in a decent position to reach what is considered retirement age. If not then we have to remain in the workforce, endure the considerable ageism that does take place there, until we are forced out by our waning health or company policies.

I am fortunate, I retired from the military many years ago, have lived fairly frugally since then and while we will never be considered well off or rich, as long as we continue to live frugally, we will be comfortable. This is a subject that I won't write about except in general terms and let the financial wizards manage this topic.

Housing

As we age, do we need as much house as we did when the kids were still with us? When was the last time we fixed things up around the old place, will where we are currently living to be the best choice for us if mobility becomes an issue at some point? This is one that I will discuss a little because it is something we are currently addressing with the idea of looking ahead to see how we can be proactive about some of the issues we may face.

Politics and Religion

Nope, you have your beliefs and I have mine. I will probably write a few things here or there, but most likely will not turn on the comments section for those. I have learned the hard way over the years that I have blogged that the trolls come out in droves on those subjects.

The reality is that

Aging is a process and as I enter into the part that most people do not look forward to, strangely enough, I am excited by what the years ahead hold for me. However, I am not looking at life through rose-colored glasses, but at the same time, I believe that getting older is something that is a good thing.

It sure beats the alternative.

I have a feeling that I will enjoy the variety of writing opportunities that my new blog's focus will provide to me. Aging is a process and the changes that occur in our lives as a result of this process can be profound, irritating or a challenge to be met, depending upon your mindset and health.

I do not have any of the answers - at least I don't think I do, but I believe that sharing my experiences, a few of my thoughts and things I learn going forward are worth writing about. Plus the act of seeking answers to some of the questions I have about aging and being old is part of the answer.

I hope you enjoy this journey as much as I believe I am going to.

Originally posted for and on One Foot In Reality by Harold L. Shaw.

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