Sunday, April 7, 2013

Not as Young as I Used to Be: And Never Was

Tomorrow it will be two weeks since I started having trouble using my left fingers and thumb: again.

It's happened before, and probably will again. By paying very careful attention to posture I can often get more than a handful of sentences keyed in before having to stop. High-strength non-prescription painkillers help. I plan to see a chiropractor next week.

This is a huge improvement over my run-in with carpal tunnel syndrome. I had my wrists and hands fixed around the time my hips were swapped out. 2006 was a busy year.

Feeling My Age

Someone asked me if I've written about what it feels like to be my age. I've occasionally mentioned that I'm not a 40-year-old kid any more, but don't remember writing a whole post on the topic. This seemed like a good opportunity to do so.

I was born during the Truman administration, have been eligible for 'senior citizen' discounts in some places for a few years, but haven't reached these milestones yet:
"Seventy is the sum of our years, or eighty, if we are strong; Most of them are sorrow and toil; they pass quickly, we are all but gone."
(Psamls 90:10)
As for 'feeling my age,' that depends on circumstances. If 'you're only as old as you feel,' sometimes I've been about a hundred and fifty years old.

Incidentally, as footnote 1 to Psalm 90 points out, it is "...a communal lament that describes only in general terms the cause of the community's distress....." I really don't think it's a 'Biblical' rule that people aren't supposed to live more than 80 years.

'Born 40'

In a way, I never was as young as I used to be.

Defective hips were spotted shortly after birth by an alert doctor: who decided to see what happens when the condition isn't treated. I'm not sure how much he found out before my parents caught on, and that's another topic.

Medical research is a good thing. Using someone's infant as a test subject without telling the parents: not so much. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2292-2295)

Once my parents realized that I had off-spec hips, they started finding doctors who could help me: not the one who'd used me as a research subject. He dropped out of sight after my mother talked with him. (February 3, 2009)

I learned to walk well before kindergarten, and was one of the few in my high school phy ed class to do parallel bar dismounts well.

I've never been 'athletic,' but started developing upper-body strength and coordination as a toddler. When most kids were crawling, I'm told I scooted around by 'crawling' with my arms: dragging my cast-encased legs behind. There are advantages to being off the 50th percentile.

Comb-Overs, Wigs: and Me

The first sign of aging I noticed was a bald spot and receding hairline: in my teens. In my 20s, they joined forces and started a relentless march down the back of my head.

Back then, balding men had several options, like trying the 'combover,' or getting a wig. I started combing my hair straight back, showcasing how my head looks. If others had a problem with it: that was their problem.

The profusion of baldness 'cures' suggests that not all men share my attitude.

Energy and Health

Knowing what to expect as I continue to live has helped.

A decade or so back I started getting junk mail for 'boost your libido' products: and noticed that it wasn't as hard to stay focused on something besides human sexuality.

If I had expected to keep feeling the way I had since adolescence, I might have been concerned. As it was, I had almost been looking forward to needing less effort in controlling that physical drive.

Human sexuality is a good thing: Genesis 1:26 through 28 and all that. Cultural assumptions are another matter. (August 30, 2011)

Lately, I've been noticing that I've got less 'reserve energy.' I can still stay up until the small hours of the morning to get a task done: but the consequences are more severe and enduring than they were in my 20s. Happily, I can almost always plan ahead well enough to avoid having to pull an 'all-nighter.'

Diabetes and high blood pressure are more serious concerns. I'm currently controlling both with pharmaceuticals, and striving with limited success to pull my weight down to a reasonable number.

Body and Soul

I wouldn't trade the all-too-limited knowledge and wisdom I've collected over the decades for the energy I had as a youth.

That's not the same as being 'above mere physicality.' At all.

I enjoy being the sort of creature I am: a person who is body and soul, matter and spirit. That's the way God designed us. (Catechism 362-368)

Even if I wanted to despise my body, I couldn't. More accurately, I shouldn't: it's against the rules. (Catechism, 364)

The physical world, including human beings, is basically good: and can help us learn more about God. (Catechism, 31-35, 282-295)

Getting back to being 60-something, there are 'end-of-life' issues.

I've been on life support of a sort, while my digestive system was temporarily offline. I didn't particularly enjoy being connected to 'all those tubes,' but am glad that today's medical technology gave me an extra few decades. The state my soul's in, I need all the time I can get, and that's almost another topic.

'Artificially' extending my life is still an option, although I'm not required to authorize heroic measures to keep this body going. (Catechism, 2279)

I can't tell anyone to kill me, though. Even if I can't keep enjoying some activity or feel particularly depressed, euthanasia is against the rules. On the other hand, painkillers are okay. (Catechism, 2276-2279)

As I've told my kids, 'we're called to holiness: not stupidity.' And that's - what else? - another topic.

Somewhat-related posts:

1 comment:

JohnL said...

In total empathy with these comments. Similar track although in my case 'youth' is more years behind.

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.