Don’t Grow Old

My grandmother was one of the few in my family tree to grow old. I think there’s maybe three that lasted past the age of 70. Every now and then, when we’d chat she’d say “Don’t grow old”. At the time, I blew it off. What did I know? I was a dumb kid. I’m not getting old.

Then it happened.

You see the marketing bullshit claiming “50 is the new 30!”

No. It’s not. 50 is 50. 50+ is when you start paying the piper for all the silliness you were part of in the previous half century. For me, it was when shit started to break.

It breaks and it doesn’t come back. Or if it does, it takes a long time and you’re never 100%.

When I was in my 20s, I was soft. Chubby. Around 25, I got serious and got in shape. In my 30s, I was hard. Fit. 40s, I gained weight, but turned into Schrek. I was mighty. I love to read bloggers in my list crowing about their gains at the gym that week. Those gains didn’t reach anywhere near my warmups. One of their posts the dude was proud of a squat – 315lbs – that was my warmup – three sets of 5. I dead-lifted much more. At the time, I weighed 270. I could bench that. Easily.

At 50 I started losing it. I couldn’t run. Years of running ruined my hips. Years of wrecking dirtbikes ruined my shoulders and shins. Years of drinking ruined my guts. Years of working in insulated ceilings (with fiberglass insulation) ruined my lungs. My genetics gifted my with hypertension.

Then I got cancer at 53 and lost it all. In the span of 3 months, I went from curling 70-75 lbs to 5. I used the girly weights and sweated like a champion. I’m better now. Not 100%, but better. I can still shoot, thank God. And I’m meaner than ever. Pain does that, and it’s rare I don’t start my day in pain.

But screw it. I endure. What else can I do?

I have more than a few friends that broke their hips and I wonder…How does that happen? How do you lose it in such a way to create that much damage?

Simple and Stupid, that’s how.

I was walking the dogs along a path I hit nearly every day. My foot hit a crack in the concrete crossing a road, I twisted my ankle and pivoted my left hip out of joint and down I went, like a sack of spuds. I caught my fall with 1/2 my usual sense of agility, but it still sucked. I had a flashback to when my granddaughter was running, face-planted, got up, and kept going. I told her father “Yeah…That’s another thing I can’t do any more”. Falling at 57 hurts. First thing I did, of course, was to look around and see if anyone saw it.They didn’t. My pride intact, I soldiered on and walked the pups the last two miles.

But as I sit here, my neck has seized. After radiation, if I stress my neck, the tendons tighten. It’s super uncomfortable. A massage can help. A massage done wrong hurts and does damage. My shoulders are screaming, and my left hip feels like it’s broken a motor mount. Drugs or Alcohol? Fuggit, I’m drinking wine. I won’t sleep either way tonight. I got 4 hours straight last night and that never happens. I get two at a time. Pain wakes me up. My destroyed throat wakes me up. The #_Q*%# cat wakes me up.

And I have choices; Do I want to take Tylenol, not drink, and maybe have an hour or two pain free? Or take my prescription meds, and endure the inevitable gut aches, switching pain in my shoulder to pain in my guts? Or forgo them all, see what happens, and choose later when I’m not sleeping?

So don’t grow old. It sucks. Trust me. Time to stay fit is in your 30s. Do it.