I guess I’m old now. Or at least I will be tomorrow.
There’s a new study out that found that Americans start to feel the effects of aging at 47 years old. I reach that milestone on Monday, so I guess I better live it up while I still can.
Based on the survey questions, I’ve apparently been old for a while now. My teenaged daughter would probably agree with that assessment. She frequently describes adults she meets as “old, like you,” which I’ve found can be anywhere from 30 to 90. So maybe I’m not that old after all?
Some of the survey questions had to do with the physical effects of aging, something I’ve become plenty familiar with. I had knee surgery for a torn meniscus at age 34, at which point I was told I should take care of my knees “like fine china.” I got glasses around the same time, when I realized (or finally admitted) that I was having trouble reading street signs. My 40th birthday was spent recovering from a hernia repair. The hair is getting gray, the blood pressure is a little high, and the list goes on.
Heck, the fact that I’m sharing way more than you ever wanted to know about my health history is a stereotypical old guy thing to do, isn’t it?
The study also found that many people are more concerned about their mental aging, with 25 percent of respondents reporting that they lose their train of thought at least once per day. I can definitely relate; “What was I saying?” is a regular part of most of my conversations.
All that said, I actually feel pretty good. Maybe a better word for “aging” would be “maturing.” Physically, I’m OK with not being as fast or as strong as I once was. I’ve found plenty of activities that don’t pound my “fine china” knees. On long mountain bike rides, I take breaks to stop and smell the flowers or listen to the birds — or, as was the case on a ride up to Lost Lake a couple years ago, picking blueberries. I’ll leave the “fastest known times” and Strava “King of the Mountain” segments to those who are not yet mature enough to know better.
As for the mental side of things, I’m not too worried about losing my train of thought — I usually seem to be able to find it again, though it sometimes takes a while. But that’s OK; when you’re stopping to pick blueberries, you have time to gather your thoughts, too.
They say that age is just a number, and that you’re only as old as you feel. I actually feel pretty good. Sure, I could stand to lose a few pounds, but otherwise, I don’t feel any worse for wear than I did back when my knees first became “fine china.” In fact, I’m in better shape now than I was at 35.
Then again, maybe you should ask me tomorrow.
Will Morrow lives in Kenai. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.