It’s All Maintenance from Here

 

I figured I’d be at least 90 years old before I made this discouraging comment about getting old. My older friends have said that they have already set limits on how much time they allow for groups they visit to complain about their aches and pains, their doctors, their hospitals, their nurses, pulled muscles, raging allergies—well, you get the picture. If you’re not careful as you get older, your entire conversation can be dominated with mumblings and grumblings, punctuated with the comment, “Getting old isn’t for sissies.”

Well, I’m trying to nip this personality modification and distortion in the bud. Yes, my elbow hurts, my right quad is aching, my body is stiff when I first wake up, my wrinkles are getting wrinkles (notice how I snuck all that in there!) but I’m taking charge of my internal dialogue and my conversations with friends.

It is all maintenance from here. And frankly, that’s how G-d intended life to be. But by gosh, I’m alive! And I can still think for myself (mostly) and take brisk walks on the days I don’t work out. And when I do work out, I work my upper and lower body, every other day—a three-pound weight in each hand. And people still “like” my funny comments here on Ricochet—whether that’s out of pity or amusement!

The challenge is not giving in to “the lamentations.” First of all, it’s boring. Second, it’s boring. Third, it’s boring. And more than that, it’s like a bad rash that spreads and you can’t get rid of it. Did I say it was boring?

So, my aches and pains will be transformed into reminders of my maturity. My ideas will remind me that I still have some wisdom to share. Even my sad days can remind me to take time for reflection and serve as a reminder of my blessings.

*     *     *     *

Where did all this navel-gazing come from? I think it started after we visited BJ’s and did our usual stock-up on bulk goods. I couldn’t help but notice the price tag after a fairly modest shopping trip. But the shelves were full, except for the pop-up tissue boxes. Then again, BJ’s doesn’t promise always having the same products, all the time.

But I thought about the weeks and months ahead. Eventually, there will be shortages. Prices will continue to rise. And I will periodically grumble about missing some of my favorite products. I may even indulge in an occasional rant.

But I won’t let the shortages consume me.

I grew up in a family where we had leftovers as often as we had fresh meals. A big chuck steak thrown on the barbecue was a big deal. Picking up freshly picked corn on Highway 39 and eating it as a main course was a luxury. We were never hungry.

And I live in the most abundant nation in the world.

I plan to make sure that I recognize that there will be some things I can’t control. I will miss some things. I may not be able to maintain my usual lifestyle, but I can strive to maintain my point of view.

In some ways, for now, it will all be maintenance from here. And it’s all good.

[photo by Maria Lin Kim at unsplash.com]

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  1. Clavius Thatcher
    Clavius
    @Clavius

    Yes, it is all good.  Thank you for the needed reminder!

    • #1
  2. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Amen. 

    • #2
  3. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Bravo!

    I’d add only, take joy in small wonders that present themselves in your life.  There I was, trudging around the other day, constructing my latest farm project, a set of gates to replace the very inferior ones that got squashed by a tree that fell during a freak storm in late Spring:

    When I spotted a small smudge of purple in the grass, in a shady little area.  I bent down.  It was a violet!  In the middle of October!  I’ve never seen one anything like this late around here, and the sight of it completely changed my rather grumpy frame of mind, and pleased me for hours.  I didn’t have my phone on me, otherwise I’d have taken a photo, but perhaps it’s better just that I remember it the way it was–beautiful and perfect.

    PS:  Yes, I ache too.

    PPS:  I’m striving for the “Dowager Countess” affect/effect in my old age:

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    She (View Comment):

    Bravo!

    I’d add only, take joy in small wonders that present themselves in your life. There I was, trudging around the other day, constructing my latest farm project, a set of gates to replace the very inferior ones that got squashed by a tree that fell during a freak storm in late Spring:

    When I spotted a small smudge of purple in the grass, in a shady little area. I bent down. It was a violet! In the middle of October! I’ve never seen one anything like this late around here, and the sight of it completely changed my rather grumpy frame of mind, and pleased me for hours. I didn’t have my phone on me, otherwise I’d have taken a photo, but perhaps it’s better just that I remember it the way it was.–beautiful and perfect.

    PS: Yes, I ache too.

    PPS: I’m striving for the “Dowager Countess” affect/effect in my old age:

     

    Absolutely! And how could I forget the small beauties! If anyone else wants to add those little blessings that abound, when we pay attention, go for it! Not as amazing as your little violet, but my purple orchids are so beautiful. And the cardinal I saw this morning!

    • #4
  5. David Carroll Thatcher
    David Carroll
    @DavidCarroll

    Keeping it positive is part, a big part, of the road to happiness or perhaps, more accurately, contentment.

    • #5
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    David Carroll (View Comment):

    Keeping it positive is part, a big part, of the road to happiness or perhaps, more accurately, contentment.

    Excellent point, David; contentment is quite different than happiness, although I think most people don’t make that important distinction.

    • #6
  7. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Susan Quinn: The challenge is not giving in to “the lamentations.” First of all, it’s boring. Second, it’s boring. Third, it’s boring. And more than that, it’s like a bad rash that spreads and you can’t get rid of it. Did I say it was boring?

    Does that make it boring, repetitive, and tense?

    • #7
  8. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    My mother is over eighty and has no pain. When the world ends, it will come down to her and Keith Richards.

    • #8
  9. DonG (CAGW is a hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a hoax)
    @DonG

    That said, my sister-in-law (in her 60’s) has fully embraced the power of “I am too old for this sh!t”.   Age should bring privilege. 

    • #9
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    DonG (CAGW is a hoax) (View Comment):

    That said, my sister-in-law (in her 60’s) has fully embraced the power of “I am too old for this sh!t”. Age should bring privilege.

    I agree! But we have no kids to baby us, and my husband is older than I am. So we’re stuck with each other! ;-)

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Arahant (View Comment):

    My mother is over eighty and has no pain. When the world ends, it will come down to her and Keith Richards.

    She must have a magic elixir. Or be bionic.

    • #11
  12. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    She (View Comment):

    Bravo!

    I’d add only, take joy in small wonders that present themselves in your life. There I was, trudging around the other day, constructing my latest farm project, a set of gates to replace the very inferior ones that got squashed by a tree that fell during a freak storm in late Spring:

    When I spotted a small smudge of purple in the grass, in a shady little area. I bent down. It was a violet! In the middle of October! I’ve never seen one anything like this late around here, and the sight of it completely changed my rather grumpy frame of mind, and pleased me for hours. I didn’t have my phone on me, otherwise I’d have taken a photo, but perhaps it’s better just that I remember it the way it was–beautiful and perfect.

    PS: Yes, I ache too.

    PPS: I’m striving for the “Dowager Countess” affect/effect in my old age:

    That’s a good looking gate you built there!

    I speak from experience. A favorite activity back when I kept horses was building and repairing fences and corral. I found it very satisfying, for some reason that I still don’t understand.

    • #12
  13. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    She must have a magic elixir.

    Yep.

    • #13
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):
    I speak from experience. A favorite activity back when I kept horses was building and repairing fences and corral. I found it very satisfying, for some reason that I still don’t understand.

    That sounds wonderful! I’m sure @she would identify with that. Anything we make with our hands is an act of creation and we are not only serving ourselves but serving Him. 

    • #14
  15. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Susan,

    Babies raised together sometimes seem to communicate via a secret language. Perhaps, closer to the other end of life, something similar happens. Does our slowly narrowing range of physical capacities join us in a loose but sympathetic society? It seems so, when we joke about our aches and pains, our fading night vision, our diminished hearing.

    I concluded several years ago that one’s age translates directly into the percentage of time one spends thinking about digestion. I’m 60; my relatives in their 80s assure me that I’m approximately correct.

    Sixty isn’t really very old, any more. It used to be, if movies from the mid-20th century are to be believed; people aged quickly back then. I’ve always been physically strong and I still lift weights, but five years ago I decided that I simply couldn’t afford an injury, and so set an upper limit and decided that I’d never try to exceed my personal best (which I hit when I was 53). I know I won’t recover like I once did, so I’m more careful.

    That was the second time I consciously changed my physical behavior based on my age. The first was just a year or two earlier, when I started throwing a football underhand when playing with my sons.

    I have little to complain about. Yes, I hurt every morning, and the first hour of the day is a race to get enough caffeine in me to clear the cobwebs. I like need bright lights and large type, but that’s been going on for a couple of decades. I don’t hear worth a bean, but blame that more on motorcycles and other loud youthful indulgences (ignoring the fact that deafness seems to run on both sides of my family).

    In compensation — and I suspect, Susan, that you find this true as well — I feel like my perspective has been wonderfully clarified and focused. With each passing year, the things that seem important seem more clear, the things that are chaotic distractions more obviously so. Part of it is probably the realization that I simply have less time to chase squirrels. But I think it’s more than that. I suspect that I probably don’t think as fast as I once did, but at the same time it feels as if fruitful lines of thought are laid out more clearly. Experience — no, let’s be optimistic and call it “wisdom” — compensating for the raw cognitive decline that, to be honest, probably starts by the time we’re 30.

    Anyway, that’s what I’m going with.

    Be well,
    H.

    • #15
  16. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    There are many good things about old age, and one of them is not giving a fig about a whole lot of stuff.  There is a reality behind the image of the old lady waving her cane at all that nonsense.  I suggest that, along with toddlers, the elderly who are not imprisoned by their bodies are the freest among us and deserving of envy.  

    • #16
  17. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    We told our kids when we  start to obsess about our bowels they are to put us on an ice flow.

    • #17
  18. Clavius Thatcher
    Clavius
    @Clavius

    Kozak (View Comment):

    We told our kids when we start to obsess about our bowels they are to put us on an ice flow.

    This made me laugh out loud.

    • #18
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    In compensation — and I suspect, Susan, that you find this true as well — I feel like my perspective has been wonderfully clarified and focused. With each passing year, the things that seem important seem more clear, the things that are chaotic distractions more obviously so. Part of it is probably the realization that I simply have less time to chase squirrels. But I think it’s more than that. I suspect that I probably don’t think as fast as I once did, but at the same time it feels as if fruitful lines of thought are laid out more clearly. Experience — no, let’s be optimistic and call it “wisdom” — compensating for the raw cognitive decline that, to be honest, probably starts by the time we’re 30.

    Anyway, that’s what I’m going with.

    Thanks so much, Hank. What a wonderful sharing! I especially liked the paragraph I added here– I don’t believe there is any other way to acquire this kind of understanding without fully engaging life.

    • #19
  20. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):
    That’s a good looking gate you built there!

    @she  I concur with Jim’s assessment.  Is that constructed with Amish rough cut hardwood? 

    • #20
  21. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    My mother is over eighty and has no pain. When the world ends, it will come down to her and Keith Richards.

    She must have a magic elixir. Or be bionic.

    Mr. She used to refer to my family as The Dunedain, the extraordinarily long-lived “Men of the West” from Tolkien’s epic trilogy.  (That I ‘got’ that–and its reference to my origins in what is, unarguably, Tolkien country–is probably one of the reasons our relationship survived as long as it did.)

    I figure I’ve got another 35 years (at least) to go, if I’m not to let the side down.  I’m 67.

    • #21
  22. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):
    That’s a good looking gate you built there!

    @ she I concur with Jim’s assessment. Is that constructed with Amish rough cut hardwood?

    No.  Rough-sawn 1×6 poplar (dimensional, not nominal) from the fence material supplier, same as what was used for the fence.  Not wishing to go on at length on Susan’s thread, more info can be found on blog post here, where I sometimes prose on at length about matters rural and matters personal to an extent that I don’t think Ricochet could tolerate.  

    Thank you!

    • #22
  23. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    She (View Comment):

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):
    That’s a good looking gate you built there!

    @ she I concur with Jim’s assessment. Is that constructed with Amish rough cut hardwood?

    No. Rough-sawn 1×6 poplar (dimensional, not nominal) from the fence material supplier, same as what was used for the fence. Not wishing to go on at length on Susan’s thread, more info can be found on blog post here, where I sometimes prose on at length about matters rural and matters personal to an extent that I don’t think Ricochet could tolerate.

    Thank you!

    Thank you for the reminder about your blog. I had it bookmarked, two computers ago.

    “All purls. No swine.”

    That’s almost physically painful.

    • #23
  24. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    That’s a good looking gate you built there!

    Thanks!

    I speak from experience. A favorite activity back when I kept horses was building and repairing fences and corral. I found it very satisfying, for some reason that I still don’t understand.

    I think there’s a marvelously satisfying aspect to working with one’s hands.  It is, perhaps, what kept me sane during my IT career, knowing that I could come home and actually “do” something, versus banging my head against the wall, trying to get “technology” to respond to reason–something I spent most of my working life doing, and which did not always yield measurable results.

    Just being able to see some results:  “Well, OK.  The sheep used to be able to get into the spinach field, and now they can’t,” was–for me, at least, huge.

    • #24
  25. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    She (View Comment):

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    That’s a good looking gate you built there!

    Thanks!

    I speak from experience. A favorite activity back when I kept horses was building and repairing fences and corral. I found it very satisfying, for some reason that I still don’t understand.

    I think there’s a marvelously satisfying aspect to working with one’s hands. It is, perhaps, what kept me sane during my IT career, knowing that I could come home and actually “do” something, versus banging my head against the wall, trying to get “technology” to respond to reason–something I spent most of my working life doing, and which did not always yield measurable results.

    Just being able to see some results: “Well, OK. The sheep used to be able to get into the spinach field, and now they can’t,” was–for me, at least, huge.

    The sheep eat spinach? Why is there never a sheep around when you need one?

    • #25
  26. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Percival (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    That’s a good looking gate you built there!

    Thanks!

    I speak from experience. A favorite activity back when I kept horses was building and repairing fences and corral. I found it very satisfying, for some reason that I still don’t understand.

    I think there’s a marvelously satisfying aspect to working with one’s hands. It is, perhaps, what kept me sane during my IT career, knowing that I could come home and actually “do” something, versus banging my head against the wall, trying to get “technology” to respond to reason–something I spent most of my working life doing, and which did not always yield measurable results.

    Just being able to see some results: “Well, OK. The sheep used to be able to get into the spinach field, and now they can’t,” was–for me, at least, huge.

    The sheep eat spinach? Why is there never a sheep around when you need one?

    Sheep aren’t too smart about what they eat. Eventually, if you’re not careful, you end up with a trocar and wonder why you ever thought owning ungulates was a good idea. (It was goats in my case, but the principle is the same.)

    • #26
  27. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Yeah, yeah Susan, just wait a few more years! 

    But most of our associations are with folks as old or older than we and we spend very little time talking about illness and pain. I surely don’t want to talk about my cancer because it doesn’t define me. If we find a new treatment or drug we spend maybe five minutes then we’re done. On to politics! And food!

    (BTW, I’ve had great results from laser ablation for my stenosis.) 😄

    • #27
  28. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Susan Quinn: The challenge is not giving in to “the lamentations.” First of all, it’s boring. Second, it’s boring. Third, it’s boring. And more than that, it’s like a bad rash that spreads and you can’t get rid of it. Did I say it was boring?

    Sorry, but that’s just repetitious.

    And tense.

    • #28
  29. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    I had to laugh at myself a couple of days ago.  I had a friend trying to turn me on to some crap I never heard of, and I flatly told him, “I’m old.  I don’t like new crap.”  I realized that I meant it both ironically and seriously.

    I told my wife.  She said “You never liked new crap,” but I could tell she was trying to let me down easy.

    • #29
  30. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    •  
    •  

    Search for:

    She (View Comment):

    Bravo!

    I’d add only, take joy in small wonders that present themselves in your life. There I was, trudging around the other day, constructing my latest farm project, a set of gates to replace the very inferior ones that got squashed by a tree that fell during a freak storm in late Spring:

    When I spotted a small smudge of purple in the grass, in a shady little area. I bent down. It was a violet! In the middle of October! I’ve never seen one anything like this late around here, and the sight of it completely changed my rather grumpy frame of mind, and pleased me for hours. I didn’t have my phone on me, otherwise I’d have taken a photo, but perhaps it’s better just that I remember it the way it was–beautiful and perfect.

    PS: Yes, I ache too.

    PPS: I’m striving for the “Dowager Countess” affect/effect in my old age:

    I prefer her this way.

    • #30