On the train this morning a guy got on the stop after mine and sat next to me. He circled stiffly before he sat, easing himself down before collapsing into the seat. It got my attention because it seemed such a protracted and uncomfortable process, and undoubtedly, it was the same every time.
I looked him over from the corner of my eye. He was plump and red-cheeked. It was cold out, about 3 degrees, but the ruddy complexion seemed more a symptom of uncertain health. He had wispy fair hair that had gone grey. By my reckoning, he was about five years older than me, though he probably looked 15-20 years more. Imagine, I thought, feeling so constrained by your body, and with years to come – years in which further decline was inevitable.
I couldn’t help but compare him to myself. There was a warning in that, but also reassurance. That could be anyone if you let yourself go if you have bad luck, but it doesn’t have to be the case.
I’ve complained of health issues over the last six months, and it has hit my general fitness. But then I’m a million miles ahead of the guy who sat next to me. I can still run and jump. I may not be able to slam dunk anymore – I haven’t tried for a while – but I’m still limber, and I’ve got years of muscle on me. I’m as strong as an ox still, and regardless of recent inconveniences, still have a strong constitution. It’s probably overdue that I put it into perspective – I’ve experienced a dip, but there are no serious ailments diagnosed.
I guess this perspective reflects an improved sense of wellbeing over the last week. I’m sleeping better, almost back to normal. And I feel I have some control over my physical self, though a night out tasting wines might test that.
I did some reading during the week that made me realise how much the aging process has been slowed in me. I haven’t looked my age since I was about 24. At different stages, people guess my age at up to twenty years younger than I am. (Personally, I think 8-10 years is more accurate.) But also, after reading, I realised that so many alleged signs of aging haven’t hit me yet. I’ve got some grey hairs but haven’t lost any, and my skin is soft and wrinkle-free. I still carry a fair whack of muscle mass. I have my senior moments, but I’ve just as sharp as I’ve ever been. More than anything, I still have that go ahead attitude – and I reckon attitude is a big factor in keeping you youthful, as well as relevant.
But, let’s see what I think tomorrow after my night out on the wine!