The Benefits & Drawbacks to Getting Older

Mark-John Clifford

photo courtesy of Newsweek

I want to say they, meaning the people who are supposed to be in the know, don't tell you everything about aging.

Forget the senior meals at Denny's and other restaurants. Forget getting to go shopping early at the local grocery store because you're older. Forget about the discounts everyone offers you.

The best thing to do is forget about everything you read and hear and begin the chore of researching aging yourself. You'll learn more, and you'll almost be able to trust 80-90 percent of that information. Although even that percentage could be high?

Almost everything I've read or heard is bulls***!. That's right, about 50-60 percent or more is bulls***! The rest of the information has to be checked, double-checked, and sometimes triple checked. After I do that, I have Patti, my wife, do the same, and we compare findings.

This isn't to say that many times our research has come up with the same results. There is a need for us aging individuals to read carefully, including the fine print. Listen intently and ask as many questions as possible until we understand 100 percent. Don't let them stop you. It's your life and future at stake.

I believed aging would be a great way to retire, enjoy life and our grandkids. I have found that aging is full of stress. Some of that stress is avoidable, but it's still there to dispose of.

I have found that stress, no matter where it comes from, affects my brain, body, and life. It takes everything out of me and never refills what it takes. That's not a good relationship to live with, but we do.

Aging is something we all do. What I genuinely dislike about aging is finding things out that I didn't expect to happen.

Like the other day, I was getting out of the shower and drying off and noticed that my thighs were getting crepe skin or, for the lack of the correct word, older people's skin. I was devastated. I didn't think that happened until you were in your 80's or older.

Granted, I'm 66, but you'd think it wouldn't happen yet. I'm not ready to lie in bed all day, have my diaper changed, and rely on liquid food from a blender. Imagine spaghetti and meatballs blended. No way. That would be as bad as making meatballs with turkey meat and calling them Italian, something that would have my grandmother roll over in her grave.

That's what went through my mind after seeing my thighs. I know that this is stupid thinking to most of you, but you have to understand that this is just happening right now. A year ago, my thighs were okay. No wrinkles, no crepe, or older people skin hanging loose.

I started losing weight about three years ago. I lost a total of over 100 pounds in that time. It's good for my health, but I see a definite down side to this. Flabby skin. Flabby arms. Flabby butt. Oh God, now what?

I keep thinking about what's next. Let's take a quick inventory so far. I've had a hip replacement on my right hip, which is the good hip. I had polio as a kid and now post-polio as an adult, but most of the damage was on the left side, so when I hurt my right hip and they said "full replacement," imagine my surprise.

Then two heart attacks. The first heart attack led to a double bypass. A year later, the second one led to a tricky lacing of two stents to keep the left descending artery open. Not good.

An umbilical hernia that led to losing a belly button. I tell the grandkids that the Doctor repossessed my belly button because I couldn't pay the bill. They, in turn, tell their Doctors that story. This makes for exciting phone calls from their moms, our daughters.

Let's throw in a couple of TIA's (minor strokes) along the way also. Let's not forget being diagnosed in 2008 with diabetes, which has haunted my diet since. Doctors keep telling me to forgo pasta, bread, especially Italian bread which I make, and just about everything else I like.

This has gone on for years, and I have found workarounds. Not that the workarounds work as well as I feel they do, but it's my body and life.

In the end, I feel it's part of the aging process. If I remember correctly, my grandfather and grandmother believed that you could eat anything you want healthy or not as long as you only ate enough to satisfy your hunger, not overeat.

Life is about learning. I have learned over the years things I can and can't do. Many of the things I can't do any longer tick me off, but I've learned to live with that. Having crepe skin/older people's skin bothers me. I'm too young.

I mean, 66 isn't old. It's older. I get great discounts, but most of the time I don't use them. Have you ever looked at a senior menu? If you haven't, next time you go out to eat, look at one. Who would eat that?

Let me know when you have! Until then, don't grow old. Fight it at all costs.

Find the fountain of life and drain it. Just a thought!

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Patti, my wife, and I write about life here in Fresno, California, and the Central Valley. We especially enjoy writing reviews about restaurants we've dined at, along with the food that is served. From time to time, we also write about and share recipes that we are fond of and hope you'll try them and let us know your thoughts. We are not traditional food critics. We don't have to worry about restaurants making unique dishes for us. We're just the average customer going in to dine, and then we write reviews.

Fresno, CA

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