Have you given much thought to aging and growing old? Have you thought about what your days will be like if God grants you a long life? Will living into your 80’s, 90’s and beyond be a blessing or a curse? Only time will tell. And believe me, it will be here before you know it.
Our most precious gift of time is fleeting. It’s like being on a runaway train, once your on board the life express there’s no stopping it until it runs out of fuel. I remember when I was a teen I thought 30 was old. Then suddenly I turned 30 and realized its not so old after all, and so 60 became the new old. Well now I’m 60 and guess what? I don’t think it’s that old either. I read somewhere that 50 is the new 30 and if that’s the case then 60 must be the new 40! It must be true, because I don’t feel all that different from when I was 40. I don’t think there’s that much that I did at 40 that I can’t do today, but 20 years does make a difference and I can’t do those things nearly as long or as well as I did then, and in some cases I pay the price the following day for even trying, oh yeah do I pay for it!
At 60 I now see 85 and above as being old. I suppose, depending on health and other factors old can happen sooner, but having my dad live with us this past six months has given me some insight into aging. He’s 88 and has slowed down significantly the last few years. Until last October he was still able to live on his own and drive,since then he can’t do either. He is now completely reliant on his walker and has constant pain in his knees. It’s tough seeing him this way. His long career as a lumber truck driver has taken it’s toll on his knees and shoulders, all those years of tossing chains and ropes to secure loads and climbing on and off of his rig have taken their toll. Thankfully he still has his mind. He spends his days reading and watching TV and occasionally breaking the rules.
Yeah, we had a little ‘dad’ incident on Friday that could have been really bad. My dad pretty much has the run of the house but chooses to stay in his room most of the time. With a comfortable recliner, plenty of reading material and a 42 inch flat screen I might do the same. The only thing we ask of my dad is that he not shower unless someone is at home, it’s simply a matter of safety. Well Friday around 1:30pm he was home alone and decided “rules be damned, I’m taking a shower!”
Everything was going fine he had the hot water going, and was just about to step in when he slipped or lost his balance or both and went down like a ton of bricks. And there he remained for nearly two hours. He has an “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” Life Alert, but he lost it earlier in the week. My wife had just ordered him a new one that morning. His cell phone was up on the counter and it took him nearly the whole time to finally get to it. By the time he called me I was only about a block from home. When I went in he was on the floor directly in front of the door. Until a couple of months ago the bathroom door used to swing inward, but I reversed the hinges so it would open outward to make it easier for him to come into the bathroom with his walker. Changing it was a stroke of luck, if I hadn’t there would have been no way I could have gotten to him. I would have had to break or cut it open.
Fortunately dad didn’t break any bones. It could have really been bad. yeah he’s one lucky man. I will tell you I had a hell of a time getting him up. He was exhausted from trying to get himself up and reaching for his cell phone so it was like lifting dead weight. Hopefully he has learned from this experience and won’t try showering when he’s home alone again. My son and I started working to “papa proof” the bathroom and entry to the shower so he doesn’t fall again. Funny thing though, after I helped him up and got him seated in his walker he was more concerned that the shower had been on for such a long time than anything else. His comment to me was “Sorry, you’re gonna have one hell of a water bill!” Leave it to my pops!
So what do you think the future holds for you? Think about it some time. Will the golden years truly be golden? Will you be one of the lucky ones who grow old graciously and retain all your mental faculties or will you be a blithering idiot who cant remember a damn thing and just sit around vegged out? Hey I know it sounds cruel, but I’m not trying to be mean or poke fun at the elderly, God knows each and everyone of us is on our way there, I’m just being a realist. The prospect of getting old can be scary. With all the talk in the news of Alzheimer’s, dementia, rheumatoid arthritis, and other crippling ailments, you can’t help but worry about what the future may have in store. Maybe God will smile favorably on you and you’re health and mind will not fail you. You’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime take good care of yourself, you may have a long road ahead.