The Other I

December 31, 2010

New Year’s resolution

Filed under: Growing Old — theotheri @ 2:47 pm

Today is the last day of the first decade of the second millennium CE or AD, whichever system one prefers.  I can’t speak personally about the millennia, but this decade seems to have shot past.   Another entire decade of each of our lives has been lived.  Given that even the most fortunate don’t get many more than ten of those, it’s a big chunk of life for each of us.  

I’m standing here on this pinnacle of 2011, wondering what beginning to feel the increasing effects of growing old will be like in the next decade, and what kind of “old” person I want to be.  Already, I can see that my mental abilities are slower than they used to be.  I have to concentrate more and can’t “multi-task” as easily as I used to.  When I’m driving, I often have to stop talking or risk not being sufficiently aware of the road.  I can’t do mental arithmetic as fast any more, and I’m tempted to over-organize and over-control.  Even I sometimes find myself annoying.

What I do hope I don’t become – what I am going to try very hard not to become – is one of those old people who think that because they’ve been around longer than everybody else that they know best.  That infuriating kind of arrogance is no more valid and even less appealing in old people than it is in youth.  Except that perhaps by the time we are old, we really should know better.

So how does an old person avoid becoming a know-it-all?  The only safeguard I can think is to keep being interested, to keep asking, to keep being unsatisfied with what I already think I know.  About people, about the universe, about how to live.

I hope I do not become an old person who suffers from dementia (as opposed to forgetting words, which is already a lost cause).  There is only so much I can do about that possibility.  I suspect that the most important thing I can do to cushion getting old is getting a good solid dose of exercise every day.  I wish I could say I thought it was nutrition, which is mostly more fun than exercise.  But though I think what we eat and drink matters, I don’t have to work at that very hard because it’s easy.

So I guess my New Year’s resolutions are to keep up a regime of serious daily exercise.  And to stay involved in the world out there.

And if I do start babbling incoherently, well, as Bette Midler once said

“Oh please don’t let anybody notice.

“But if they do notice, please don’t let them say anything.”

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2 Comments »

  1. The way I know I am growing old is I count the number of times I have typed a couple of paragraphs, pushed the wrong button, and lost what I already regarded as the best, most clever, most original words ever written. That said, I will attempt to recap, knowing that I can never again match the original!

    First I reminded you of the studies done with basketball players, who were divided into two or three groups: one played basketball and one only thought about playing basketball (I’m not sure about the third). The difference in improvement was statistically insignificant between the two groups. (Insert your funniest joke here)

    Second, I suggested that since the differences were insignificant, maybe you would be better off finding a comfortable chair where you can put your feet up, eat a few bonbons, drink a little hot chocolate, and only think about each exercise. Thirty minutes a day should do the trick. (No joke, and still a little dry in the presentation)

    Last, I reminded you of an old mantra (probably older than either of us): “How we feel is a Choice.” It’s a little simplistic, but it has gotten me through some tough times. I should also say that none of this is meant to be a serious treatise on enduring aging; mostly, I want to be sure you don’t forget to take care of yourself first, no matter what those pesky doctors say. (I know that the last thing mine will say to my corps is, “Mr Graham, you need to lose 15 pounds.” To which I will reply, “Give it a week or so,I think I’m on a roll.”

    Tad

    Like

    Comment by Graham — December 31, 2010 @ 8:02 pm | Reply

    • Tad – Thank you so much for such an enjoyable – and supportive – comment. And oh, do I know what you mean when you describe the experience of pushing the wrong button and erasing ones own brilliance. *You mean there’s no “undo” button!?* * * Yes, how we feel is a Choice. I couldn’t agree more. But the choice doesn’t stop with a mental process. I know, for instance, that more than one gin and tonic makes me tired and depressed. I can’t choose to drink two or three on a go and still not be tired and depressed.

      For better and for worse, I have discovered the same thing in relation to exercise. I simply feel better if I exercise. But I seem to have to remind myself of that fact on a daily basis. Because it somehow never becomes more fun.

      Mostly I treat medical research as an “informed hypothesis” about what might work for me. Because as you know, a significant statistical difference doesn’t apply to every single individual. It merely means that the two groups as a whole are different. In some cases I might be one in a thousand that is different from the group I’m in. After all, we are all unique.

      And those “pesky doctors”! I’m lucky enough now to have a GP who is quite happy being my consultant whose job it is to inform me about my decisions rather than my father who tells me what to do. He is also aware that doctors are not all-powerful and can’t fix everything with a pill or operation. I’m glad the medical profession is there, but they aren’t a god substitute, are they?

      I guess by now the entire world has entered into 2011. Very best wishes for you and those you love for all the new year.

      Like

      Comment by theotheri — January 1, 2011 @ 12:41 pm | Reply


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