Coming from someone who has handled the aging process about as well as a chicken about to be thrown into a jet turbine to test its ability to vaporize it without stalling, you will disintegrate to one degree or another no matter how much you spend, how much you do, or how much genetics are in your camp.
Live the perfect stress-free life, visit Aspen every 5 minutes, get daily massages, mud packs, holistic body treatments, facial fillers, Botox injections, face lifts, collagen, but no matter what you do, you can’t beat the shit out of time.
The best you can do is look better than your neighbors, which is something you can always count on at HOA meetings no matter how depressed you are about everything else.
Aside from the aforementioned obvious, there is a deeply psychological consequence of aging in we men that involves our primal role as protectors.
In short [because I know you don’t want to read a psych lecture], when men begin to feel physically challenged, their self-esteem hits the floor. And even when we are in exemplary condition for our age, we are always and forever looking back at where we once were. It’s inevitable. We all do it. And we all feel like crap about it no matter how much we are still able to do.
But there are a few things we can do to put an end to the misery, or, at least, hold it in abeyance while we get back into therapy.
Here they are:
1] Try to feel optimistic about aging.
Yea, right. There is nothing to look forward to about aging. Nothing. You’re just here. The best you can do is make the most of what’s left. So no, I’m not a fan of being older.
Is there any good news?
There is some:
a] You get into fewer fistfights because younger men don’t consider you an equal match anymore than they do women.
b] You have more money, so you can buy women who would not otherwise date you.
c] People hold the door for you unlike the old days when they let it slam you in the face.
d] There are planned communities filled with people your age, and with beach views.
e] You get prescription drug discounts.
f] People tell you how great you look when it’s not true.
g] Young people look at you like you’re completely insane when you talk to them, but they still allow you to do it because they’re no longer afraid of you.
h] The first person police question are the young adults.
i] Nobody expects much of you in the gym, so when you are reasonably competitive you get more kudos than you can count.
j] Forgetting your own phone number is considered normal, and therefore, will not affect you job prospects since you’re not applying.
2] Avoid “senior moment” traps at all cost.
Never discuss your minor health issues to anyone but your physician or personal trainer. No one else your age wants to be reminded of where they are, and younger people dismiss you as irrelevant. It’s their way of squashing what they consider to be an existential threat, mainly because it is.
Instead, allude to what you’ve accomplished in your life and what your next adventure will be.
3] Have your affairs in order, but don’t bring this up in casual conversation under any circumstances, including all of them.
One guy in my gym started talking about his living will and suddenly he had no one to talk to. Still doesn’t.
4] Understand and embrace technology.
Frankly, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t understand technology other than people in their 80’s. This is an even greater reason to make sure you are still of this world.
5] Ignore people will call you out on your age.
You’re going to get this at some point or another — the ribbing about where you are versus where you once were. Ignore it. Move on.
Getting upset about it will validate everything they just said.
Their time is coming.
6] There’s a “fountain of youth” clinic on every street corner [you best avoid].
You’re vulnerable, too hopeful for your own good. And for every soft target there are predators waiting to pounce on your insecurities.
My advice is to find a great Internist, stay in the best shape of your life, and keep your expectations in check.
If you check too many boxes you’ll start experiencing life through the eyes of a once great athlete who thinks he has another season in him, even if no one else thinks so, including his coaches and physicians.
when i allow it to be
there’s no control over me
i have my fears
but they do not have me
Peter Gabriel, Darkness