I just turned fifty. When I was a teenager, that seemed like the very definition of old. Back then, fifty year olds were slow, grumpy and usually retired. It seemed like they were just waiting for their lives to end. This may be a dramatic interpretation of what fifty was when I was a teen, but the perception was real.
Now that I am fifty, I feel like I’m just getting warmed up. My mind is convinced that I am still young. My body is less convinced, but generally agrees. I still do all the things I enjoyed in my youth, but now I must be aware of the consequences. Those consequences had no relevance in my younger days, but now, they demand some attention.
Fitness and Diet
Where I notice the slow creep of age is largely due to fitness and diet. When I was younger, I could eat whatever I wanted with seemingly little effect. I also had a baseline fitness level that just seemed to part of who I was. Now, I must watch what I eat and commit to consistent exercise. When I don’t, it doesn’t take long for my body to soften, my energy levels to wane and my sex drive to weaken.
The biggest culprit seems to be diet, and when I say diet, I mean food and alcohol. When I drink too much alcohol and couple that with eating poorly, I experience my age in a more dramatic fashion. In my twenties, I could drink all night, wake up early, down a couple of aspirin with a glass of water and I was good to go again. Now, if I drink more than a couple glasses of wine, I might feel it for a couple of days.
When I eat too much fat, not enough protein and not enough vegetables, I also find myself lethargic. The days of eating fast food and only caring about taste and cost are gone. I have to be very deliberate in my choices. I used to eat at hamburger and taco joints with impunity. I would order the most food I could afford and eat it all. Most of it was low-quality, greasy, fatty foods wrapped in processed breads and shells.
I’d smother it all in hot sauce and go about my business like I had eaten only superfoods. Now, such a diet would not only invoke suffering, but I would complain about it to anyone who’ll listen. Nonetheless, I maintain my perception that I am still young.
Delusions of Youth
A few things help me keep my self delusion that I am still young. First of all, I have enough wisdom now to do the things that work, e.g. diet and exercise. I commit to these things. Occasionally, I have stretch of inactivity due to circumstance, or the encroachment of holiday eating and drinking, Mostly, though, I know that I must stay on top to the situation. Additionally, I have come to accept that it is okay to supplement my life with beneficial chemistry. Sometimes that means vitamins. Sometimes that means caffeine and occasionally that means medication.
I came to this understanding when I was being treated for BPH or benign enlargement of the prostate and pulmonary arterial hypertension. This is fairly common in middle aged me, especially those who drink alcohol. What I discovered was that my medication had spicy side effects. Suddenly my love life had more, let’s say, enthusiasm. You can find coupons for cialis all over the internet.
When this happened, I opened my mind up to other forms of medication that I had previously avoided. I’m not some pill popping junkie. However, I now take my BPH medication as well as a few medications to keep my blood pressure at appropriate levels. I use the time when I swallow my pills every morning to remind myself of the need to eat right and exercise.
I shop mindfully for foods that support my health. I not only do the activities I’ve always enjoyed and go to the gym, I’ve set up a little gym in my home. It’s not elaborate, but if I can’t seem to get myself to drive, I can simply hit the rowing machine and swing some dumbbells in my former guest bedroom.
This year I will need to get a colonoscopy. My joints tell me when the weather is changing. If I am going to party all night I have to schedule two days of couch time with dull pain and suffering. Regardless of all of that, I still feel spirited and young. I definitely don’t feel like the old man I associated with the age of 50 when I was a teen. I am not hunched over, decaying and waiting do fall into my grave. But I am not immune to the influence of father time.
Aging can be a dreadful prospect, but if we change our mindsets, rid ourselves of delusions about aging, and make healthy choices, we can stay healthier, longer.
What ways have you found helpful in combating the effects of aging? Leave us a comment in the section below.