The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Growing old ungracefully

There are any number of reasons why aging gracefully is difficult to do. Most of them involve denial, I think. I look in the mirror and, though I am sure these register somewhere deep within my brain, I see no flab, no love handles, no sagging belly. I somehow only acknowledge that 19 year old I once was.

Snap! Crackle! Pop!

That used to be the sound of a certain cereal. Still is. Rice Krispies. Now it's the sound of my ankles and knees. No pain, just the noise. They sound very loud. Faye can hear them. There are my footsteps and these sounds are the background noise between each step. It is a signal of problems to come, I am sure.

When I was in my pre-teens and teens, I cracked my knuckles. Just because I could. Now I don't. I was told, back then, that cracking my knuckles would lead to arthritis. Didn't happen. At least, not yet. I suspected it was a myth. Like smoking would stunt one's growth. Or eating sweets or greasy food gave one acne. Since I ate a lot of greasy food and sweets and never got more than two pimples at a time, I easily learned that was a myth. And I was grateful. Like all teens, I spent a lot of time looking in the mirror, examining my face for zits. But I was fortunate. My voice changed smoothly, too.

I thought I would age that way. Smoothly, slowly, so I could adapt to it.


Old age isn't creeping up slowly. It's making leaps and bounds. I can't stretch as far, bend as well, or even look over a shoulder as easily as I once did. And these came on suddenly.

Oh, sure, the stiffness might have come on slowly and steadily if I had stretched and bent, and twisted my head on a regular basis. And I would have absorbed it, adapted to it. But I didn't. Instead, I fell into that trap of "improving efficiency." Some people call it "expanding laziness."

As we age, I think we learn to do things more efficiently. Or, as we used to say, "Work smarter, not harder." I took that to heart. And I tried to attain the ultimate... no work at all. I use remote control devices. I don't lift with my knees, I get someone else to lift whatever needs lifting whenever I can.

And now? Now I can't do deep knee bends unless it's to touch my toes.

1 comment:

Kate Murray said...

Ah, everybody's got arthritis whether they crack their knuckles or not -- the question is just how you work with it. And it's never too late to stop being so efficient. I have an 87 year old client who got religious about daily exercise classes after her second knee replacement. She already stands an inch taller and walks with an almost unhampered gait.