I feel old.
Yes, I know I am only 32 years old, but I feel old. I don’t think I am, I just feel it.
The question is, how do we define ‘old’? Is someone old only because they have reached a high age? Is someone old because they have a, let’s call it ‘conservative’ mental attitude? Is someone old simply because they physically feel less able to energetically charge through life than in the past?
I have the privilege of knowing someone who will be celebrating his 100th birthday in a few months time. Reaching a whole century of age is pretty amazing. Yes, he is numerically old, and very much looks it physically, but even now, speaking to him you would not think you had a nearly-centenarian in front of you. At the remarkable age range of being well in his 90’s he was using mobile phones, digital cameras, the internet and even online banking. Up until recently he was also a member on Facebook!! Unfortunately due to his almost completely deteriorated eyesight he has had to give up these pleasures. He was living independently until he was 96, after which he decided that it was probably time to move into a sheltered housing scheme – on the grounds that he may well find himself in a situation where quick medical assistance was necessary.
I frequently think back to a situation he told me about on one of my visits where he felt the need to leave his table of regulars at a pub close to him, because he couldn’t face weekly talks on illness and ailments. Quote: “I want to talk about politics and current affairs, I am not interested in people’s incontinence problems!!” I have to mention that apparently everyone at these frequent gatherings were around 70. He prefers talking with young people, people my age to stay up to date with the latest things. Oh, he does do a lot of talking about his past as well. Personally I find it fascinating listening to it. He is one of the very few remaining contemporary witnesses, so you learn about history from a completely different perspective. I look at him in amazement. Growing old like that, with his wit and zest for life is a blessing, and most likely also due to a pretty ‘young‘ mind set.
Now, my mum is just about 40 years younger than aforementioned Methuselah, yet I personally find her mind set rather conservative. She is liberal in that she is not anti-most things such as gender- or race-related issues or. But, whenever confronted with situations that challenge her general conservative way of thinking she will brush it of with a simple ‘Oh I am too old for that’. Take technology. Now, where that field is concerned, I am certainly not the sharpest tool in the shed. I can turn on a computer, check my emails and social networks, use the internet and that’s about it. And admittedly in the past it has always taken me a bit longer than the average technical freak to warm to the new additions to telecommunications (may I say here I absolutely LOVE my smartphone – don’t know how we ever managed without one…… 🙂 ), but I can see the advantages of these things, and the necessity in this day and age. However, the mind set my mother has, all I ever hear from her when speaking about these things is ‘I haven’t needed it up to now, why should I need it in the future? Leave me alone with it all‘. And this is never just the case with computer related devices. The majority of her mind set is ‘I am too old for this and that and the other’. Which, in my personal opinion is a shame, because 60 is no age today. You tend to be in your prime, able to enjoy life in a completely different way than even the generation before them. But, that’s my mum. A bit of an “old” way of thinking, but it leaves me smiling nonetheless.
Now, why do I feel old? I feel old because I used to be this energetic busy-body, not able to sit still for more than two minutes at a time, always thinking about needing to sort this or take care of that. The ironic thing was, whenever people spoke to me about how they would love to just be lazy but feel guilty doing it I used to say ‘There is nothing wrong with sitting down and being lazy. Just take your time and treat yourself to sitting on a comfy sofa doing nothing’. I never felt guilty about sitting down and doing nothing. I just never knew how to do it. I guess being a full time working single parent makes you forget how to take those few minutes to just unwind (and that’s why I go running – some way to relax 🙂 )
Since the LTR I have been kind of all over the place with everything. Emotionally things are picking up now. I still have difficulties with my current voice though I think I am more able to make light of it. At least wherever possible. Generally physically I have recovered fairly well I think. The scars on my neck are healing very well and in a few months will hardly be visible. But what I am noticing is that my body is forcing me to slow down. At least that’s what it feels like. I more often than not feel the need of just sitting or lying down, resting and recovering. Or am I just subconsciously using all this as a kind of excuse to be lazy? Though saying that, I don’t think so, because it frustrates me that I in this kind of decreased energetic state. I can stem a for me normally structured day quite well, though I notice by the end of it, particularly by the end of the week how wiped out I (still) am. I am really not used to this and honestly, I have no idea what to make of, nor how to handle it. I guess all I can do at the moment is let it be. What I do dislike about it is, it gives me this feeling of being old – not mentally but definitely physically. I am hoping with time I will be able to shake that last remnant of my most recent medical odyssey.