I've had it with "You know you are getting old when" jokes. For a while I good naturedly accepted such attempts at humor, but lately they are hitting just a little to close to home. Which, I guess, means only one thing.
I think it is only natural to let certain things bother us as we get older. It is part of the process. This morning, for instance, I was feeling kind of blue and really didn't know why. After a bit of soul-searching, I came to the conclusion that I was concerning myself with age-related matters and water-under-the-bridge issues and that if I wasn't careful I could very easily make myself sick.
I realized that I had a choice. I could stay in my current frame of mind and drift further into isolation, bitterness and a sense of meaningless, or I could do something to snap myself out of the depressive state. I decided I had a number of chores that needed doing and I'd better get busy doing them, right now.
It was not really a big deal. I just got in my car and took off with my honey-do list in hand. It was a beautiful fresh day outside, crisp and bright, and in no time at all I had depleted my list of things to do. Ninety minutes later I pulled back into my driveway felling pretty good about myself and what I had accomplished. "Hey, I feel much better, refreshed almost," I thought as I unloaded a couple of bags of shopping from the trunk of my car.
I tried to think about what had been bothering me a few hours earlier and, know what, I could not come up with one single thing. Lesson learned?...Keep busy, mentally and physically! When you are feeling down in the dumps, come up swinging! Get out, do something!
We really do have to learn to understand the fact that as we age, our bodies and minds are doing things in a different way and to accept and adapt -- even enjoy -- the changes. In reflection we can continue to learn about what is important to us and to proceed as gracefully as possible. We cannot undo the past, but we can do something with our future.
And maybe, just maybe, I can learn to enjoy the "You know you are getting old when..." jokes again. After all, ya gotta have a sense of humor.
As Mark Twain once put it: "Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you do not mind, it does not matter."