Or should I call it the pain of aging? In either case getting older isn’t nearly as easy as you think it will be when you’re young. If you knew what becoming sixty felt like when you were twenty you might jump out of a window to your demise before twentyone, but nature plays this little trick on us in a lot of different ways. I’m not saying sixty is horrible and many people feel very youthful at sixty and well beyond, but a few things are just unavoidable. We slow down, our bodies begin to break down, hair turns gray, teeth often fall out and arthritis begins to set in to most of us by sixty.
Nature in it’s infinite wisdom gives the ability to have children in large part to the young even if men technically case still sire children into old age, but how many young, beautiful women want to have kids with elderly men? I’m guessing not many even if there are a few exceptions to the rule. Those men are usually well off. Most old men don’t end up so wealthy that they can attract young women like they might when they were in their twenties. For women the rules are even stricter with age limitations imposed by menopause and other physical and mental characteristics.
As I’ve aged arthritis has hit me harder at certain times, a little less at others. I also have to take into account the fact that as a young man I failed to realize that as I aged the stupid things I did back then would eventually catch up. Little things like sports even catch up, falling down to make a catch, getting hit by fastballs playing baseball, football, wrestling and so on. Those old injuries usually rear their ugly heads on down the pike. That’s not to mention the bar room brawls and other fights that felt perfectly normal in my twenties now would scare the living bejesus out of me. At sixty I’m simply too slow and weak to keep up with the unruly kids and even if I could I would no longer want to. Fighting kind of loses its luster at a certain age. I’m sure that age varies from individual to individual. Over the time I’ve been working on writing this piece I’ve developed a nasty amount of spasms in my left shoulder, back and neck. I have no idea where it came from or why, but the worst of it began three days ago when I woke up and couldn’t straighten up to save my life. I was stuck in a forward, left kind of stance with a lot of burning sensation and over the day it began loosening up, but it’s still very painful at times three days later. I’d love to be able to pinpoint it back to a certain epoch, but nothing is coming to mind. I do, however have little doubt it’s the result of some past sin or screw up of mine.
I suppose no writing about the pain of aging would be sufficient without also mentioning heredity and all the junk given to us by our ancestors, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and so on back in time. Who knows which slices of DNA were made goofy by someone in the family tree all those years past? Some of it can be traced back, but perhaps some long lost great, great, great uncle dipped his fruit of his loins in the wrong well only to suddenly and without warning pop up someday in the emergency room. Fun to think about, eh? No? Well, it’s still possible I suppose. I’m certainly no expert on these matters so perhaps I’m just blowing smoke to make you worry needlessly. Just take comfort in the possible fact that I might not know what the hell I’m rambling on about here.
Of course these are all physical problems, but there’s also all the mental junk we accumulate over the course of our lives which has to include the emotional crap we could probably have lived without had we made different choices and some we never chose to begin with. Very few people wake up one day to say, “Gee, I sure wish my parents had been drunken, amoral, drug addicted criminals so fertile they popped out babies every year like clockwork.” Some of you might even have been born into such lives. You have my full sympathy. But, most is just mundane things we try to forget like the former spouse you’d pay hard currency to completely erase from your memory if you could. Maybe you spent far to much time in your youth tempting fate with too many nights bowing to the porcelain throne. I know I did. Lucky for me I’ve managed to forget a lot of those alleged fun times, but I’m still living with the results of some of them. New junk pops up periodically as well. We all have our own mental junk lurking. Some of us manage it well while others just can’t let go of even the least worrisome of mental issues.
As I’ve aged, and not very well I might add I’ve found that pain comes in just too many forms I’ve lost count. (Not that I ever really bothered to count in the first place) Some forms seem less bothersome than others and some seem to overwhelm us. Some forms are easily treated with pain killers while others don’t seem to have any treatment at all and yet others I wouldn’t trust anyone else to treat even if they could. Some pain is just there never to disappear and occasionally I feel a certain pain that over time feels almost enjoyable. I once had a pain in my knee that once it disappeared I kind of missed it. Well, it’s back now and I now remember why I should have never missed it in the first place. It hurts!
Welcome to the age of pain and the pain of aging. It’s probably not going to go away just because you want it to go away. Some pain won’t go away until YOU go away. I’ll let you decide what that means.