‘Don’t Get Old’

It’s a crazy thing to say, but several times recently I’ve heard it said by people clearly carrying bad experiences of age. Sympathetic noises, no doubt from people of similar condition, but impossible advice for younger people. It’s going to happen! There’s nothing we can do about ageing and even those who struggle with the less pleasant consequences of age, are unlikely to be anything more than stoical about it most of the time, although exasperation or anger helps to relieve the pressure sometimes.

But it is a mysterious business. Things happen to you, and the control and power you once had over your life has gone or is going. Twice recently I have tripped and fallen in the street. I blame Bath’s uneven pavements but I know that isn’t the whole story. Aware for some time that I walk with less balance than I used to, these minor accidents confirm that in future I must walk with more care. I used to let my feet get on with it without thought. Destination was more important than process.

Now it needs to be more a conscious exercise rather than an instinctive habit. I read somewhere that the healthy way to walk is to put the heel down first and then the toes. I must try it.

It’s true of many other things. One does actually have to live in a different way, almost as a different person. Outwardly to other people you are much the same as you have always been I suppose, apart from the signs of evident hair and teeth loss, and a slowdown in mobility and mental agility. But inwardly it can be a bit of a struggle just to keep going, and to keep intact without fraying at the edges.

Today I opened a cupboard in the kitchen to put something away, did the same in another cupboard below, and got up and hit my head on the door I hadn’t shut. It still hurts. Continuity of thought is what I need to work on, instead of going for the next thing without properly ending the previous one.

Necessary, but not easy. A slower pace.

It’s all an adventure. You can’t stop getting old, but it does need managing!

Bryan