Age is an interesting thing. It’s inevitable, but manifests differently for us all.
My grand father was an active man until he passed this fall. Active in the sense of 2 hour daily walks, planting gardens, trimming trees… things that people half his age didn’t do. My father was an all-star athlete is his youth, but that didn’t stick around as he got older, and larger. It’s a weird topic to have with your dad. When my youngest was born, I do recall casually saying it would be nice for them to be able to grow up with him as I did with my grandfather. Since then, he’s pulled a near 180 in terms of overall health and activity.
My father-in-law was also an athlete and his career path was as a tinsmith, and to some degree, a handy man. He hunts, and loves to be outdoors. His self-worth is based on what he can do with his hands. Well, years of that has had a cost, and his back just can’t take it anymore. He’s had surgery. He still thinks he’s 40 years old, acts accordingly, and then his body more or less shuts down for a while. He doesn’t live alone, so that has an impact on the people around him. He’s just not able to accept that he can do less and still have a full life.
My birthday is coming up, and I’m certainly in what folks call middle age. I don’t feel old. There are some things I can’t do today that I was able to do when I was 20. Most of those things just don’t interest me anymore, so it sort of works out I guess. The things that I do enjoy, I can still do well. I don’t feel like I’ve lost a step in any particular field, if anything I feel that things are easier because of experience. Don’t get me wrong, I am finding it painful not being able to play hockey due to the pandemic… as much for the physical aspect as the social. I’m quite antsy for that to come back!
As I’m watching my elders get older, and my kids grow up, I’m coming to terms with the concept of age. As much as I’m my dad’s son, I’m my kids’ father. The expectations are different for each role, yet I’m fortunate enough that my dad has been really good with that evolution. Sure, there’s some deference to him in a few areas, but it’s still adult level conversations and respect. I’m not indebted to him raising me, which I always find a fascinating space for some of my friends.
I’m coming to terms that at some point, I will be less than I was in areas where I take pride. I’m less worried about it on the physical side… or perhaps because it’s physical and we can see it everywhere, it isn’t so much a surprise. Yes, quality of life, but that’s a different topic than just not being able to lift a couch. The stuff that really gets me is the hidden part. My wife’s side has a fair amount of dementia. Seeing a fully able person lose their mind is a terrifying prospect! I’m overly fortunate that this is not something on my side of the family, so less of a concern I guess. And yet… my mind is what makes me, me. So I can’t mow the lawn, big deal. If I can’t read, or remember what happened yesterday, there isn’t someone else that can do that for me. It’s the most isolating of all things.
This is a really off topic post, but my thoughts of late are really focusing on my centre self, my purpose, goals, and fears. Changing jobs often triggers this reaction in me, because it’s such a LARGE impact. This blog gives me the ability to put words to ideas, to digest concepts, and to move forward. It’s an interesting concept…publicly writing personal thoughts. A sort of side appreciation to it all I suppose. A cathartic act. A much needed one at that.