Courage and Aging
If you live long enough and are not picked off by the indiscretions of youth, eventually you encounter the indignities of aging. Around sixty you just aren’t as cute, smart, agile, quick, focused — not as healthy as you used to be, and no amount of compensation hides it. You have conditions no one talks about: hemorrhoids, constipation — farting. We aren’t called “old farts” without reason. You can’t eat the things that you used to love, go all of the places you want to go, and suddenly your body starts to make it hard to walk, much less run, dip and dive, and dance. You have to ask for help, humiliating in its own way. You feel yourself starting to wear out and, of course, you up the vitamins, start the therapies, and still begin to wind down.
Then one day you face the thing that is going to kill you and you see your future. When this happens you reach a point of resistance AND of acceptance that younger people cannot really understand. And they shouldn’t. If you are facing this young it is a tragedy beyond words.
Whether it be cancer, COPD/emphysema, AFib and heart problems or something else, you now are on a timer and if nothing else intervenes you know how you are going to die. Most of my friends are facing this and many are facing it alone and know exactly what this entails. It can consume you, or it can empower you, and every day it is a new chance to decide which it will do.
Now you start to laugh and talk about the little stuff, the embarrassing stuff that means you are surviving. You look down the tunnel of the abyss at the monster and you say,
“Someday you are going to kill me but — NOT today.”
Mari Sloan 7-19-2021