As I have moved from being middle aged into the "under 90" category, my sense of peace, tranquility, gratitude, and happiness have all increased tremendously. At the same time, I have recently become grumpier. This study suggests I am not alone [via MA]. Here is what happens.
- Physical ailments take a toll. They seem to occur more often, take longer to heal (assuming they ever do), and take longer to adjust to. For example, just in my own case see this and this.
- Also, we rarely sleep as well as we did when we were 20 --- except during plays and concerts :-( And we cannot gorge ourselves or party as if we were 20 either.
- We do get confused more easily and more often. And it is not just a deterioration of short-term memory. Ms Eclectic suggests it is also because we have too much going on in our lives, despite being mostly retired. We also agree that the ability to multi-task seems to deteriorate when we reach the "under 90" category.
- But it is not just personal. Good friends are more likely to have died or become seriously ill among us under-90s. Good friends are more likely to have had debilitating injuries. Partners, spouses, and friends are more likely to need help in one form or another. And even if these things don't happen to them this year, we worry about our partners, spouses, and friends. It is difficult just to keep breezing along happily when these things happen.
And you know how all those old people [us "under-90s"] seem to walk funny? We do it for one or more of these three reasons:
- Our bodies simply don't work as well as they used to. We can't move as fast and aren't as lithe as younger people.
- We are in pain. I guess it's something "under 90s" learn to live with.
- We are extremely worried about tripping, falling, etc. and injuring ourselves. We tend to have bones that are weaker.
Had anyone told me this even ten years ago, I'd have understood.... intellectually. But being here, experiencing it, makes it real.
Despite all this, and lest anyone be concerned, I'm still more grateful and happier than I ever imagined possible. Ain't life grand!