Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fixing Windows, and Getting Older

A lot of things are running through my head today.

First of all, and worthy of note, I voted. My mail-in ballot arrived on Tuesday and I opened it up, marked my choices, walked it to the post office and mailed it back right away. Take that, Mitt Romney.

Second, I've been using the past couple of days to complete tasks that have been lingering. I ordered a handyman from the Kensington & Chelsea Council (which owns our apartment building) to come and fix a few of our windows, which had slid off the tracks or were otherwise wonky. (He had to order parts, naturally, so the windows still aren't fixed, but at least we're moving in that direction.) I descaled our tea kettle, removing a year of lime residue left behind by the mineral-laden London water. I initiated a couple of financial and business transactions that need to be completed.

I'm also thinking about Ms. Moon's recent post about becoming invisible with age. She experienced the feeling when some oblivious guy on a dock blocked her from walking past while carrying a heavy container -- a guy who might have noticed and shifted aside, she suspects, for a younger woman. My mom made similar complaints while I was growing up. I vividly remember her saying, "All those men who hold doors for you when you're 25 slam them in your face when you're 45."

I haven't really experienced this feeling -- partly because I'm a man, I suppose, although the standard of beauty in the world of gay men is probably every bit as demanding as it is for women. It's more that I was never all that conventionally attractive and so never got the attention in the first place. I don't mean that to sound at all self-pitying -- in fact, if anything, I'm happy about it. Being ordinary-looking, maybe even a little odd-looking, saved me from a lifetime of bullshit, and it's certainly saving me pain as I age. It's harder to let go of something you once had than to miss something you never had.

Having said that, I am at a time in my life when I have to let go of some physical things. I stopped going to the gym entirely when we moved to England. I didn't feel like we could afford it, for one thing. But I also felt like it was time. The gym was getting harder and harder, and maintaining muscles for the sake of vanity turns on you at some point -- your muscles start to look stringy and over-worked rather than bulgey and hot. I pretty much gave up on them. I still do sit ups and push ups every couple days, and I've been running, though I'm contemplating giving that up too -- at the ripe old age of (almost) 46, walking feels more my speed.

It's an interesting thing, aging. My right index finger has an achy middle joint that I'm almost certain is pre-arthritic. My lower back kills when I first wake up. A few days ago I had aches in my left hip, which came (I suspect) from some strained connective tissue and forced me to be careful about my posture when sitting and my gait when running. You always hear people talk about little aches and pains as they get older -- and by golly, there really are little aches and pains!

Anyway, there's more, but I'll stop here because otherwise this will be one of those overlong blog entries that drive me crazy. Things running through my be continued!

(Photo: Shoreditch, on Saturday.)


Linda Sue said...

46! Talk to me when you are 65, no wait, I will probably be dead by then. Any consolation, I swear, from your photos you look fifteen years younger.

Ms. Moon said...

I read a thing in a book a long time ago, the truth of which I ponder every day. What it said was that when you're young, you look at old people walk and you wonder WHY they walk that way.
It's because they hurt.
This is not a happy thing to find out the truth of.

Lynne said...

Those shadows on the building look like Chinese writing! Very cool.

I have a few years on you Steve and I have a few aches and pains stemming from earlier injuries but I can't really complain ... yet. There are some things I won't do anymore tho, and as you get older you just have to give some things up or change what you do. Like you said: walking vs running.

I've been wanting to address the vanity issue in my blog for some time now. Maybe you've spurred me on to finally write it.

Reya Mellicker said...

Look at all those alien eyes! Wow.

I love being invisible. The aches and pains of aging aren't fun, but i love being older anyway.

You are wise and healthy minded to let go of youthful workput standards. People who try to keep up the same pace get injured, exhaust themselves. It is not graceful.

You are very graceful. Xx

Reya Mellicker said...

Workout not workput

ellen abbott said...

Yeah, I read ms moon's post. At 62 I don't feel invisible. I'm still a pushy loudmouth. Young men don't cast an eye at me? I'm OK with that. Even when they look at young women, they aren't looking at the person but rather at an object for sex. Part of feeling invisible is not so much how people treat you as how you react and relate. As an older woman, I feel that when other people look at me or engage me, it's with me and not the maybe future opportunity for sex. So that's a plus. and that guy on the pier who ignored her approach? He's just an asshole. If his wife hadn't called out and it was me, I'd have just kept going and bashed right into him. Well, maybe not but I'd have certainly given him an earful.

As for the physical aspects of aging, I've got my aches and pains, a little arthritis in my hands, backaches and such. Unlike you though, I didn't even join a gym til my 50s (was never a runner, it ruins your knees, feet, and ankles) but now that the body is aging I need to work on it to keep it supple. I've been out of the gym for about 2 years now and I can definitely tell the difference in lost muscle tone, weaker muscles, a more achey back, and leg cramps. I just joined a new one and can't wait til they open next month. Not to get all buff in a failed attempt to stay young, but to keep this body functioning.

The Bug said...

I read a series of books a while back about a self professed LOL (little old lady) who was able to solve crimes because she was "invisible" - it was a pretty interesting & thought-provoking premise.

As far as walking differently - boy before I had my hip surgery I DID walk like a LOL. And even now when I'm tired I find myself slumping to one side & favoring that hip. I was never a hottie, but still it was a rude awakening when I realized that I was walking like an 80 year old.

I think all that refracted light looks like some sort of Chinese or Japanese writing :)

Steve Reed said...

Linda Sue: Yeah, I know, everything is relative! Thanks for thinking I look youthful! :)

Ms. Moon: I remember wondering why more older people weren't at the gym (or on the dance floor, for that matter). And now that I'm older, yes, I get it!

Lynne: I think gracefully embracing change is the key!

Reya: I like being older too. I would not want to be in my 20s again. (We've talked about this, I think!) I am comfortable with my age and my place in the world, which is a nice feeling.

Ellen: Yes, there is a difference between people seeing you for YOU vs. as a sexual conquest. I think as long as we maintain some level of activity to keep our bodies functioning well, we'll be in good shape. The emphasis is more on health and maintenance and less on vanity and appearance.

Bug: Sometimes we do need medical intervention! I'm glad the hip surgery has improved things for you.