• Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Acceptance is The Real Test of Aging

ByBob Lowry

Dec 20, 2022
Acceptance is The Real Test of Aging



Watching (and feeling) my body age is not much fun. Bags, sags, and wrinkles are what I see. A loss of muscle mass means the rear end seems to have left town and the area under the biceps wobbles more than is proper. Thank goodness someone else does the lawn cutting and landscape cleanup.

Even though I go to a gym three days a week, there is no halting the cosmic joke of decay that is my future. Certainly, the time spent in physical activity means that inevitable slippage is occurring a bit more slowly than in someone whose only exercise is using a TV remote. And, for folks with serious medical issues, my complaints seem petty.

But, my point is simple: I must make peace with what is happening. Obsessing about my aging body and erosion of capabilities only leads to frustration or, even worse, resignation. Even if I spent several hours a day on my physical conditioning I may slow the ticking clock a bit, but I am not going to stop it, and certainly not reverse it. 

Recently, Betty was at a physical therapy session. She was wondering if all the work she does with the trainer will have that big an impact. Will she be able to do at least some of what she once did?

I was pleasantly surprised when she reported what the trainer told her: make peace with new limitations and changes in functionality. The twice-a-week PT time plus exercises the other days of the week will not be a magic bullet. As we age we can manage our physical changes so they have less of an impact on our day-to-day. But, it is very important for mental health to accept what you can and cannot do.

That message resonated with both of us. Certainly not giving up, but acceptance of what is possible is one of the keys to aging. Bemoaning the gradual lack of energy and stamina does not help, Make the necessary adjustments and enjoy things as they are, not as you wish them to be. The honesty of the trainer’s words were ones we had to hear. 

The amount of money Americans spends on trying to look young and deny reality is staggering. In 2022 Boomers are expected to spend over $170 billion dollars on anti-aging products and procedures.

We have all seen the older man with a comb-over that starts just above one ear, or the woman with so much plastic surgery her face is tight enough to bounce a quarter. We probably all spend some money on vitamins and supplements that most studies show are unnecessary if we have a decent diet and exercise regime. We join a gym, go for a few months, and then stop for a whole variety of excuses.

My hair is thinning and there is some serious scalp showing on the crown of my head (actually, more than just the top).  In fact, my eyebrows and ears show more aggressive hair growth than my head. This is what I am programmed to look like at this stage of my life, thinning hair and all.

Can I bench press my weight? No. Is there any reason I should aspire to? No.

Can I run a marathon? No. Do I want to run a marathon? No.

Is my pulse, heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol, blood work and lung capacity all good? Yes.

Do I intend to continue to go to the gym for workouts? Yes. It gives me a boost of mid-afternoon energy.

I am learning to accept the reality of the limitations that an aging body imposes on me today. Hopefully, I will be smart enough to do the same as the calendar marches on. 

As Betty’s trainer noted, acceptance of what is and modifying what you attempt is so important. Much like the previous post said, aligning expectations with reality is key.

Wise words.

Just walking the dog is often enough


Image and article originally from satisfyingretirement.blogspot.com. Read the original article here.