2009.09.13 Oldness - Part 37

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Apparently I've been annoying the wife with grumblings about how old I'm getting. And it's true; much of my thinking as this birthday approached dwelt on several mortality-related considerations. I present them to you now, as a testament to my neuroses.

5 - Ugly Bits

Been looking at our electronic collection of pictures often lately (thanks to using it as a screen saver on the TV in the living room). Has that stupid infection scar below my jaw really been around for a couple years now? And my self-conception seems to better match the gangling awkward stick-figure of my early 20's than the gangling awkward stick figure with slightly squidgy bits I seem to wear lately.

I still like my ugly gigantic nose, though. It's a proud nose (despite being slightly broken), and I like the way it wrinkles up when I sneer.

4 - Achy Bits

There are, in fact, more parts of me that ache with phantom twinges of discomfort than I ever recall before. Yeah, the clavicle I broke when I was 6 often ached throughout my life, especially when running. But now the myriad of other fractures all speak up with random reminders about how the old skeleton is carrying around more weight than it used to. Plus my major joints have all had a turn one at a time aching without good cause. The ulcer I earned in university still threatens to skewer me whenever I eat poorly and/or indulge in too much stress. I even seem to be more able to inflict eyestrain on myself, despite keeping my lens prescription at (or better than) 20/20 vision.

Also, I worry that I'm getting whiny-er. Ahem.

3 - Design Life

In my best estimation, human males are designed to live active existences for about three decades, and then meet a grisly end. Since our original designed ending usually involved being eaten, not a lot of evolutionary consideration was given to longevity past the age of being able to brachiate away from smilodons. So, while I flatter myself by thinking that I'm in pretty good shape, I have to face the fact that this is also probably the best shape I can be in from now on. The most I can realistically do is slow my body's deterioration and try to maintain my conditioning.

Sure, it is true that I could still improve my muscle mass by weight lifting or improve my endurance, but now this will likely be at the cost of the longevity of my joints. And I'm not sure I want to make that trade. Plus, if I push it, I might injure myself and never recover back to this level of health and fitness again.

2 - Actuarial Tables

40.6 years left, according to my demographic. The wife likes to point out that this necessarily includes terribly unhealthy people too, which she hopes I should outlive. On the other hand, I do have something of a risk-taking streak in me...

Is getting old a reward for denying myself a motorcycle? Or is feeling old the punishment for denying myself a motorcycle?

1 - Replication

Really, though, the main reason why this birthday has been more of a stare into the abyss to come than a reflection of the climb so far... is Simon.

There's the strange sense that I am ten years older when becoming a father then my own father was. It's strange because, until I became a father, I sort of felt like I was too young to be a father, and by proxy I was still technically younger than my own father ever was in my existence. Yeah, I know that doesn't make sense. But there it is.

Somehow I feel like I've been catapulted from the mystical realm of ageless adulthood into the age I remember my father being when I was 10. And he was, you know, ancient. Which is all sorts of weird, because I have vivid memories of being a little kid. Hell, I'm still mostly just that little kid much of the time. But now I look at my son, and know that he's the one who gets to be the little kid, and I have to be the, you know, ancient source of wisdom and tauntings. (Sweetie, if you're reading this, please replace "tauntings" with "loving kindness".) Plus I contemplate his life to come, and it eats out huge chunks of my own rapidly-diminishing lifetime.

And university tuition - let's just ignore that for now.

0 - Nothingness

So, I went through the ritual. My personal ritual of being by myself, alone for a drive in my car, and bent my mind around my life to contemplate it. A single truth was sifted from the wrestling with the twisty road:

I'm an idiot.

I'm happy.
I feel good.
I love my wife.
I love my son.
I even love my stressful reduced-pay job.
I get to play.
To keen away at decades-distant vague worries and minor superficial disappointments is idiotic. So I'm stopping. Finito.

Instead, I should remind myself of the things I want to do that are as yet unaccomplished.

  • pilot's license
  • publish a book
  • five point palm exploding heart technique

Now, time for bed. Because I'm old and need my rest.