When I was in my twenties, newly married and in my teaching career, it seemed like I had my whole life ahead of me. I did. And my life choices showed that belief. For example, instead of going on a European vacation while we were young and both working, my husband and I chose to buy a house with our nest egg. It’s not a regret that I feel for doing so, but it did take us thirty years before we took that European vacation.
As I grow older, the years seem to pass faster. Do they for you? I mean, we celebrated my older son’s birthday this past week: he turned twenty-nine! Where did the years go? I still remember him in his Easter clothes, looking for Easter eggs with that toddler’s stumbling walk. Now he’s poised to become a teacher!
Aging sneaks up on you like the years do. Instead of running to orthodontist appointments and sports practices for our kids, now my husband and I trade off doctor appointments and health insurance presentations. We talk about opposing health plans like younger couples discuss the stats of sports teams. And, don’t get me started on exercise and food!
What once was easy to cut back and lose “a few pounds” has now become excess weight we get used to carrying. Why can’t our appetite decrease along with our ability to exercise strenuously? It takes twice as long to lose weight than it does to put excess pounds on, and you don’t have to eat as much in order to do so. It isn’t fair.
Our doctor once told us that as we grow older, we can still do the pastimes we enjoy, just differently. He used the example of gardening. Instead of kneeling on the ground, we might have to get those little kneeler benches that help a person rise to their feet. Or, walk instead of jog around the neighborhood, to be easier on our knees.
We’ve taken that idea to traveling. Instead of choosing a bunch of places to go to, where we have to check in and out of a ton of hotels, we want to go to one or two places, and tour from there, keeping them as a home base. We also pay a little more for seats with more room on planes, or for direct or almost-direct flights. And, we bought ourselves our first luxury car, with seats that you don’t need a shoe horn to wedge yourself out of!
Yes, there are lots of downsides to growing older. Don’t I know it. But there is a silver lining. You just have to be willing to adapt to the changes in your body, and your lifestyle. And look at each of life’s phases as a new adventure!
What stage of life are you in? Starting out, or clinging to the cliff of middle age? How are you coping?