Thursday, April 28, 2016

With Age Comes (Some) Wisdom

I am a clumsy man.

Not two days pass in my life in which I don't find myself in excruciating self-inflicted pain.

I stub my toes. Regularly.

Sometimes while I'm walking, my natural motion will just see me just whack my hand into something like a desk or a counter. I think I'm thinner than I am so I often walk into walls when taking a corner.
That's the Combo#4 at 'Smithfield Chicken & BBQ.' It's got
two pieces of fried chicken, BBQ pork, potato salad, slaw and
fried hush puppies. One of many meals I used to enjoy that
would today leave me eating Tums for a week straight.

I stub my toes. Regularly.

Sometimes when I run upstairs, my foot slips off the top step and I stumble forward into the wall.

I fumble around in the dark with the best of them. And did I mention I stub my toes regularly? Oh yeah, and of course I regularly drop things on my feet, which are tender from all the stubbing.

When natural predispositions don't lead me into pain, I'm often guilty of outright sabotaging myself. I've got two bags of golf clubs that hang from the rafters in my garage. They dangle about six feet off the ground. I'm just a bit under 6 feet 3 inches tall so you do the math on that equation.

Apparently, the threat of this pain is never enough to actually get me to move, get my drill, get on my ladder and make a new spot from which to hang the bags.

I say all of this because I had a birthday last week and I'm now firmly on the wrong side of my mid 30s and staring squarely at 40.

Accordingly, I'm finally coming to terms with some things about life at this age. The fact that I'm clumsy is just one of them. The fact that I'm too lazy to re-hang the golf bags even when they present a clear threat, is another.

Another fact is that I'm now more predisposed to be hurt by food.

Pasta sauce isn't the reliable meal ingredient it once was. However, the persistent heart-burning sensation it leaves in its wake is totally consistent.

Pulled pork (not that I should be eating it anyways) should be permanently stricken from my menu. Likewise for ice cream, dark beer, most brown liquors, potato chips and just about every other food and drink that you enjoy but, of course, should not be eating or drinking.

The body has a none-too-subtle way of steering you away from the bad things and, as you age, that guidance becomes evermore pronounced.

Another beautiful beer not available in five packs. 
"My head is banging. I can't put a coherent thought together and I don't remember the last two hours I was awake last night. That'll teach me to drink five IPAs again." (That's not a typo by the way. One recent evening I had five beers — after we put the kids to sleep — and I couldn't remember anything without being reminded by Mrs. Blackwell who, naturally, has zero interest in helping me paste that time back together again.)

So enjoyment of food and drink are in the process of being redefined.

Unexplained aches and pains are part of life now too, though they're mercifully short lived. As a borderline hypochondriac, unexplained pains are particularly bothersome. A cough can become strep throat in no time and shoulder aches easily evolve into a torn labrum.

Last week, the day before my birthday to be precise, I was having some pain in my lower-left back. In defiance of what any thinking person knows not to do and, because I wanted to be confronted with the worst-case scenario, I went to the internet for medical information.

The early returns were typically grim.

Kidney infection. Shingles. Sciatica. Pregnancy (at least there was one I knew I was clear from.) Prolapsed disc.

Mingled with this list of dour possibilities was one that stood out: "Aging Body." 

Me and the newest Blackwell upgrade. 
And there it was: the cold, hard truth. It wasn't fun to read that and while I'm still relatively young, there's no escaping reality. 

Knowing all this is one thing; experiencing it is quite another. 

This little epiphany of that which I already knew, led to another insight: you can control only so much, even when it comes to YOU. Yep, I'm getting old and who knows what else is going to happen? 

Who knows what other foods will soon be removed from my menu?  What other beers will have to be taken off my list because consuming three of them reduces me to a sophomore after his third keg stand? 

These things are all beyond my control. As is my clumsiness. At this age, I am who I am in many respects. 

As these thoughts plodded through my brain, another one emerged and crystallized. And, once it did, I knew what I had to do. 

I got off my ass, went out to the garage, got my drill and re-hung the golf clubs. 

No comments: