At some point, one has to face the harsh realities of age, when the body just can’t muster the strength to meet the challenges of the day.
You fight it as long as you can but, sooner or later, the ravages of time set in. Your doctor ends every sentence with “for your age.” The waitress at the restaurant doesn’t even ask if you want the senior discount. She just gives it to you. The teenage hardbody who would have sent your harmones raging 40 or so years ago looks at you and says “gee, I didn’t know men’s chest hair turned grey too.”
Age, Satchell Paige once said, is simply a case of mind over matter: “If I dont’ mind, it don’t matter.”
Well it does matter. It matters when a walk up a hill or a short flight of stairs leaves your knees in agony and your lungs gasping for air. It matters when covering a high school football game leaves you sitting on the running board of your Jeep, trying to breathe and wincing in agony. It matters when even mowing your yard in a riding lawn tractor leaves you in pain.
And I do mind. I’ve been active all my life. I’ve climbed mountains, jumped out of perfectly good airplanes, raced stock and sports cars, and thrown myself into a hundred or so situations where my body could always pump out enough adrenaline to save my butt.
But nowadays the body fails more often than not, the sore muscles no longer respond to pain medication or hydrotherapy. They just ache — constantly. Knees buckle and legs cramp. I strap on braces and supports and will the body to make it through the day without failing. I come home and collapse on the couch. Exercise might build muscle strength back up but exercise is impossible when mundane tasks wear you out.
Mickey Mantle borrowed an old quote when he said: “If I knew I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”
Amen Mick. Amen.