Is Aging Really All That Bad

Yeah, my 57th birthday is this week and while it isn’t one of those milestone years – it does mean that I am that much closer to being 60 than 50.

Sure on my birthday I will enjoy the attention, presents (more running stuff), gift cardss (even more running stuff), a chance to carb load (cake, ice cream, etc.) and everything else that goes along with aging another year.

However, it ain’t all peaches and cream.

Getting older after a certain age no matter how you look at it – sucks…

aging changes your life and what you can do.

Although aging/getting older sure as hell is better than being dead, getting old is not always easy or for wimps.

This is not a post where I whine, piss, moan and groan about the vagaries of getting old (oh I might a little) – I am just going to talk about the realities of some things I have experienced as a result of my aging. Hopefully, you chuckle or nod your head along the way.

Affects of Aging

At some point in everyone’s life getting older does not mean you are getting better, it means this:

Affects of Aging Mind Map
Affects of Aging Mind Map

Yep, a frigging mind map – believe it or not, this is how I think.

Lots of things all convoluted around one central thought and if I don’t put it in something I can visualize, I go off on tangents and down more than a few rabbit holes.

Oh yea – getting back to Aging and getting older – see what I mean, my focus is easily changed, distracted, but that doesn’t have a lot to do with aging, that has more to do with how I have always been.

Physical

The physical changes are the biggest and hardest things for me to accept as I age. You know the gray hair, jowls, more aches and pains that never go away, stamina – what to hell is that – is that something from another world, taking longer to recover from both workouts and injuries and everything just seems to be harder to do or doesn’t work like it used to. Resting more and naps have become something that is a regular activity instead of a four-letter word.

For crying out loud and a lot of other lots nastier words – I look like my father. It is a good thing he is an extremely handsome man, but damn I am starting to look like him more and more 😉 , which means that I have to be getting old too. It just ain’t  right.

Training

This is where I really am starting – Harold get real, where I am noticing the biggest differences when it comes to my running as I get older.

For me to run faster, I have to work a lot harder to get there – a LOT HARDER.

That extra perceived effort thing sucks donkey balls and even when I am giving it this old body all it has, I am still a damn sight slower than I used to be.

Comparing myself to what I used to be able to do without a problem, is now impossible for me to do and something that most of us do – daily.

That AAS (Aging Athlete Syndrome) thing, I want to hang on to being able to do as much as I used to, but this aging/getting freaking old ain’t letting that happen. As you can see in the mind map there too many things that I have to live with that screw-up my ability to train and run the way that I want to.

If I want to run faster further, I have to be able to run faster and further in training and I have lost that ability to train as hard as I need to run as fast and as far as I want to.

Accept Limitations

and then there is a thing called reality.

This is something that I really suck at!

I HATE, HATE, HATE, not being able to do every thing the way I want.

Limitations are for other people – right, especially when it comes to running.

Unfortunately, I am learning the hard way that I have to accept the fact, yes that I am mortal, am getting older and have more limitations than I used to.

 

Terms like age group, rest more, reset personal records and all those other concessions to aging have been added to my vocabulary.

No, I do not have as many as limitations that others my age might have. I have worked hard to slow the effects of aging as much as I can and would like to believe that I have aged better than many (not bragging, but when I look around me, I know it is true) of my cohort, but I am finding more and more limitations each year, despite my best efforts.

This is the part that really sucks, acknowledging and then accepting those damned limitations.

I have found more and more, that at some point giving in to reality is smarter than beating my head against a stone wall.

Mental

As I have aged there has been a definite decline in my ability to remember things, you know that thing that the medical professionals, friends and family say about you behind your back – that you have a bad case of CRS (Can’t Remember Shit).

In other words, I have a paper memory…if I don’t write it down, put it on my calendar (electronic or PNP) or some “Note” software/my Moleskine, I ain’t gonna remember what it is I was planning to do. Yep, I have a bad case of CRS and have gone back to a paper calendar and lists, it just works better for me, there is something about physically writing something down that makes it more memorable than simply typing it on a screen.

This is probably the most frustrating part of getting older, the inability to quickly retrieve a name, place, an important concept or idea. Fortunately, I am still enjoying learning new things and have learned strategies to help me remember thee stuff I need to know – the combo of a Moleskine, PNP planner and smart phone are a wonderful thing 🙂 .

The reality is

that even though I don’t feel all that old and push like a son of gun against being that stereotypical old weird guy up the road.

I am…in spite of all my efforts becoming the old fart up the road

Yeah, in spite of my best efforts, I am still aging, getting older and all the stuff I whined about above – is happening irregardless of what I think about it.

So…

what does it really mean to me?

Am I really whining about aging, getting older and all that other stuff…mmmmmm yep.

I ain’t gonna lie  the changes that go along with aging are frustrating and many of them really do suck.

However, at the same time and I am being completely honest, I am probably as happy as I have ever been in my life.

WTF – after all that whining, pissing and moaning about the negative shit that is happening to you as you age, you go ahead and say:

I am probably as happy as I have ever been in my life.

You really are a crazy old fart!

Maybe?

However, despite, in spite or possible because of all the changes in my life, I am happy in my skin and satisfied with the direction I am going.

I have finally been able to put my life into its proper perspective, there are many people and even people who are much younger than I am – who would love to be able to do the things that I can still do physically and mentally.

My life is not perfect, but it is a good life and I am happy with it and while it might be frustrating at times I can still do a lot more than I thought/think I can.

I will explore the reasons for my happiness in another post someday, but for now it is enough to know that I have a good life.

What do you see as the most frustrating thing about aging (whatever your age) and what are you doing about it?

12 thoughts on “Is Aging Really All That Bad

  1. Great article! And SO timely for me. I do that “comparing myself to my younger self” all the time, especially when it comes to running! And I love the mind map!! It’s perfect!

    1. Thanks Charmaine – that is the trap I fall into far too often and it is what gets me in the most trouble 25 years ago I was able to run x time, so now I should still be able to run that time, wrong answer, but it is what I do :-). Letting go of what used to be is one of the toughest things in this getting older thing.

    1. Thanks Nicki – yeah those days of just going and running hard for a lot of days in a row are in the past, but I am going to stay positive and hope that my training will keep me more injury free in the future 🙂 Maybe some smahtah training would do me good hehehhhe

  2. Happy Birthday Harold.
    I’m just turning 50 and I feel the fatigue, the forgetfulness, longer to recover/heal stuff also. Even my hands have wrinkles.
    When I look at my peers I know I am aging better than most of them. I recently lost a HS friend at 50, so I feel very fortunate to be as trouble free as I am.
    Life is good. Someday it will suck, but I’m trying to live in the present and not worry about Depends at 80.
    Cheers – Andy

    1. Thank you Andy – Life is good and I believe we are working at making it suck less or at least as less as possible.

      I am just trying to live the best I can today, work a little towards tomorrow and if I have to wear depends, as long as I can get out and move, i will wear them. Or else just be like the elites and wear black shorts and hope no one notices they are a little damper than just sweating does 🙂 hehehehehe

  3. Happy Birthday Harold. I wish I was an aging athlete. Instead, I tried to pick up running at age 54 and never been an athlete in my life. It’s very frustrating to make such slow progress. I love it, but very frustrated. I can only dream of running like you do, I doubt that will ever happen.

    1. Cynthia – Thank you :-). You are a runner. The speed/pace doesn’t matter, what matters is that you are out there doing it, being active and refusing to give in or give up. Besides since you started running later in life it means that your running is all the more special and you do it because it is something that you want to do, not just something you have always done 🙂

  4. I love this – and how did I just end up as the youngest person in the comment chain at 48!?! haha

    But I see more aging effects with my wife – she has arthritis, definitely slowed recovery times, ever-encroaching food allergies and intolerance … but also an indomitable spirit. As she says though, we don’t ‘bounce’ like we used to, which is so true.

    For me it is a bit different because I am now in the best shape of my life, and so when I am looking back in a decade, it won’t be at myself in my 30s or 20s, but my 40s.

    ANd I think like you say, getting through the mental part is key – we are all seeing more and more friends with cancer, or passing away from a variety of reasons, or really looking very old … and it is a sad reminder that we aren’t kids anymore.

    Thanks for sharing … and happy birthday you old fart! 🙂

    1. Mike you are just a young whippersnapper that’s all hehehehe. The we don’t bounce like we used to is true, I heard my grandfather say that back when I was a teenager and didn’t understand what in the world he was talking about. Now that I am older than he was then, I understand exactly what he was saying :-). Mike you are one of the lucky ones and I am jealous of your abilities to just keep going – like the proverbial energizer rabbit and I have a feeling that we will be having this same conversation about how great your 50’s will be/were.

      It is the mental part of aging that get so many of our cohorts – once they reach a certain age, they have already decided what they can and what they will not do, even if they “know” they can do more. Those are the ones that I do not understand and never will – they are giving up on life, when there is so much more life to live. It just means getting up and becoming a participant and getting into the arena and getting dirty and maybe even a little bloodied in the process, instead of just being a spectator who watches life go by, but has so many negative comments for those who are out there doing things.

      Ooopppss sorry about the mini-rant, but this is something that has been on my mind for a while and it is something I am a little frustrated about with some people I know :-).

      1. Totally with you on the mini-rant … my wife’s dad basically gave up when diagnosed with leukemia. Stopped traveling to see grandkids (no good reason), never took advantage of pain management … just waited for his miserable death. Really sad to see someone do something like that to themselves.

  5. I think I may be the oldest to comment (63), and I’m a “newbie master” as I only started running 6 years ago. So, you guys, I feel great, and set both 5K and 1/2 marathon prs in June. I’ll bet that every one of you has some great runs in your futures. My only advice is to not try to burn up the asphalt every run. I get out and run comfortably, and if I feel good after 2-3 miles I might go faster.

    I just ran into this comment from another “aging runner” — I think that she says it very well.

    http://running.competitor.com/2014/08/news/qa-joan-benoit-samuelson-30-years-gold_110219

Leave a Reply, but I moderate all comments

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.