Coping, the backside of prime

Reply Tue 5 Apr, 2011 10:16 pm
I'm really not that old (50), but I have gradually become aware of the fact that I've long passed my prime. Thinking back, I feel that my ( physical ) prime occured during my middle 30's. That's in line with what I remember reading long ago.
For the most part I'm ok with that, or so I tell myself. There are times, though, when I mourn the loss of the abilites of my 35 year old self. I'm not a big guy, but I have always been quite strong, during my 30's extremely so. I never needed to think twice if something needed done, needing help was out of the question. I could work all day ( plumber) spend 2 hours at the gym, another hour on the bike or roller blades then chase girls til midnite. Now I get tired just writing about that.

I am aware of the benefits of the backslope, I've become one of those guys who used to look for me when the heavy work came up, wisdom I guess. I tend to work smart rather than physically, I got a desk job.
My priorities have changed, mostly in the last couple of years. I no longer care about the size of my biceps, I'm become mainly concerned with the quality of my pins and their' ability to get me where I wanna go.
I like the outdoors and the worst loss would be to find myself unable to crawl over the rocks and logs anymore.
I am lucky in that respect, so far, never had any problems there. I quit the weights a year ago and burned off about 8lbs of muscle to keep myself a bit lighter.
I'm trying to be realistic about the future and do what I can to make what's most important last.

I know there are more than a few people here, my age and above.
I'd like to hear what you've done and thought about this stage of life.
I'm not struggling or anything, but as I said, I do mourn a bit the passing of my prime.
Green Witch
Reply Tue 5 Apr, 2011 10:34 pm
I'm the same age as you Wayne, and I would have stopped the body clock at 32. At that point I had lost the baby cuteness of my youth, but my metabolism still worked and I could be ready for any event with a quick shower, a little makeup and a flip of the hair. I could still easily bench press my weight and do backflips on the lawn. I'm in a very physical profession and I have watched myself decline in power every year since about 38. I no longer heal up over down time, but rather just try not to put on weight (a battle I no longer win). What scares me the most is another 20 years in the future. I have watched my athletic, healthy parents and their siblings decline to the point they can't be independent. My husband and I have no children who will do our grocery shopping or drive us to the doctor's. America's lack of social support for the elderly is pathetic and I think it will only get worse. I don't dwell on it much, but I miss the strength and the agility of those earlier years. I would never trade the knowledge I've acquired over time, but I would like to be able to do one more backflip without knowing I would probably break my neck.
Reply Tue 5 Apr, 2011 10:59 pm
I'm in the same boat wayne.

A blonde and a sports car has appeal.
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Reply Tue 5 Apr, 2011 11:11 pm
@Green Witch,
Thanks for a great reply GW.
That's exactly the kind of candid response I was hoping to elicit from my peers here.

My father and aunt were/are very practical persons, I remember both of them preparing their homes for old age while they were in their 60's. At the time, I was just reaching my prime, I couldn't relate. Now I much value the wisdom of that.
I also feel a bit fearful of my later years and the availability of support. I am single and don't really see that changing, at this point. I have a daughter in her early 20's, but I can't really see myself asking for her support. Like you, I don't dwell on it much, but still, it is what it is.

I suppose, at this point, I am enjoying the shift in focus to my intellect.
I see my father in myself more and more, something I wouldn't of believed.

Ahh yes, the bench press, yep used to do about 100lbs over my weight, don't feel the urge to even try my weight now, but I miss it. I was always too chicken for the backflips though. Smile
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Reply Wed 6 Apr, 2011 05:50 am
Holy crap - I'd give anything to be 50 again!

Talk to some real old timers and ask them what age was the best for them. Bet it would NOT be the 30's. You will be surprised at the answers.

Hefner says that the "new 40" is 80.

That ought to put things into perspective for you.

I think that at age 50 you have enough of life's experience and enough energy to still be able to act on your regrets.

Reply Wed 6 Apr, 2011 07:00 am
I'm the same age as you too Wayne and I also have always been very physically active, enjoy being outside, and have always loved doing physical labor.

I'm not a large person, but people have always been sort of amazed at how strong I've always been. My father and brother built a log home from a kit and we all had to unload the stuff off the truck and both of them were like, 'Whoa - she can do the work of a person twice her size.'

I never really liked gyms or aerobic classes though, so I did my own thing to keep in shape - walking mostly, but also riding bicycles, roller blading long distances - like five or ten miles, etc, depending on where we lived and if I had a flat, paved surface.

I'd say I was in my absolute prime when I was in my late thirties. By that time I'd been home with my kids for ten years, and being somewhat of a big kid myself, had spent at least two or three hours a day playing outside with them, taking them on bike rides, going sledding, skating and cross-country skiing with them in the winter (we lived in Maine then).

Then I went back to work - didn't put on any weight- but the distribution shifted as I only had an hour at the end of the day to walk the dog and that was pretty much the extent of my exercise.

But now my kids are big and I have more independent time. I broke the radial head in my elbow this winter and joined a gym to rehab it - ended up loving the rowing machine - which I'd never tried before.

I weigh the same as I weighed when I was eighteen and feel the same if not better. I can and do still build muscle. People who guess my age put it at 38 - not over 40.
When I say I have kids they figure they're school-aged and are surprised to learn they're young adults.
I have a friend who is the same - except she's almost sixty. She does pilates on our lunch hour every day. You should see her figure! It's amazing.

But, I don't take any medicines and have no joint pain. I went on a solid ten hour walk up and down the mountains of Snowdonia in February.
So, I don't really feel the effects of my having aged that much.
A fact for which I'm glad, because now that my kids are independent - I want to join the Peace Corps. I can't be doing that if I let myself get all decrepit and unhealthy.
I'm looking forward to this next stage of my life (when youngest has left the nest) as much as I did going to college, getting married, having children, etc.
I really do get excited when I think about it. But then I've always loved change.

I don't think age has to mean diminishing quality of life.
One of my best friends is 89 years old and he still takes a three mile walk every day and no pills or potions (as he likes to brag).
I want to be like him -except that I'll wear my hearing aids and glasses-he refuses and we all have to yell so he can hear us when we read the menu for him.

Oh yeah - and BB King is 86 - and he's playing Glastonbury this year!
It aint over til it's over...
Reply Wed 6 Apr, 2011 10:59 am
I think that your mention of perspective is right on target. I think I am at a point where perspective is coming into play.
I have reached that age where I am able to have a little perspective on the past and future that was not possible 10 or 15 years ago. I suppose I am trying to figure out just what to do with this new perspective, but I hadn't thought of it that way.
A lot of changes, in my thoughts and actions, have occured over the last couple of years. Not unwelcome changes, but still, I find myself a new and somewhat unfamiliar person. I enjoy the person I am becoming, yet I mourn a bit for the former self.
Reply Wed 6 Apr, 2011 11:12 am
I am a little younger than you, but have been run down the fast track of perspective by illness.

if there is one thing I could tell every American, it's guard your health while you can.

when your earning power goes away, your priorities change rather quickly.

family or, in my case friends, become a treasure that is irreplaceable in the scheme of life.

by slowing down the pace of my life, I have been able to find a way to get some peace and enjoyment out of most every day. whether by relaxing in the garden, or by putting in a hard days labor toward the goal when I am able, or just talking with a friend for a while to keep the karma flowing...

best of luck on your journey, wayne.
Reply Wed 6 Apr, 2011 11:32 am
I am pretty sold on the value of exercise for our physical and mental state.
I've shifted over to a new style of exercise from what was once most important. I do more walking and hiking, biking, than weight training.
I've become a fishing maniac and I love to tramp for miles into the most remote places. I am especially enamored with rivers and will often spend an entire day tramping down a river through extreme terrain.

I'm a lot like you, people rarely guess even close to my age. Smile
I am looking forward to this stage of life too, there are a lot of positives about it.
I think I have just reached the point where I am pondering life a little. I guess I am a little amazed that I am here. In a sense, I am burying the youth I once was and stepping into the future as a mature person.
I don't think the youth really believed he would ever become anything other than what he was.
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Reply Wed 6 Apr, 2011 12:01 pm
When I was your age, wayne, I detected a gathering decline of my overall health. I have spent the last 18 years seeking to overcome all my body's failings. Being naturally strong and being engaged in physically demanding jobs has helped me. I have kept even in some areas, lost a little ground in others, but I remain active and busy. In fact, I feel better at 68 than I did at 50.
Reply Wed 6 Apr, 2011 12:03 pm
Thanks Rockhead;
I've been lucky enough to have no real health concerns so far. I have thought about that loss of earning potential of which you speak, that is pretty scary indeed.
My friendships have also become very important to me at this age of life. My entire view of friendship has changed. I have learned to see it as a commitment I make when I call someone friend. I no longer use that word loosely as I once did, and I have fewer friends with more aquantances. I truly treasure my friendships these days.

I think many could take heart from your perspective in dealing with your illness. Your manner of reaching for that enjoyment on a daily basis is something many people never learn.
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Reply Wed 6 Apr, 2011 12:15 pm
In some ways, 50 was my prime.

I was canoe racing then and my partner and I had both reached the
half-century mark. This put us in the "Masters" division. We were in
a race called "The Run of the Charles". Each boat had a sticker bearing
a letter and a number; the letter indicated your division.

We were having a good day and as we neared the Moody St. Dam in
Waltham we passed a pair of young guys, long on muscle but short on
technique. As we passed them, the bow man looked at us, looked at
our canoe, looked at our number. "Jeez, Frank," he yelled, "we just
got passed by a geezer boat!"

Eat my wake, punk.
Reply Wed 6 Apr, 2011 12:22 pm
You know, my dad said the same thing about feeling better when he was about your age.
I think I am at a transitional point in my life. My younger body seemed to require large expenditures of energy and excercise in order to feel good. I find I no longer have the desire or energy for those kind of expenditures.
I've shifted my activities to somewhat less demanding and risky endeavors. I think my body will adjust in time. I am beginning to notice some of that good feeling from simpler things at times. I still remember, though, those balls to the wall 16 hour days, and I suppose I will miss them for a while.
Reply Wed 6 Apr, 2011 12:25 pm
Another thing - I get to feeling blah during the week, until something tough comes up, such as wrestling refrigerators up stairs or ripping off and replacing the siding. My body seems to like the workouts.
Reply Wed 6 Apr, 2011 12:29 pm
Haha, I love that. A few months ago a kid about 25 years my junior wanted to arm wrestle, something I don't do anymore. I did on this occasion oblige him, why I don't know. Pretty strong kid, short on technique. He was quite embarassed in front of his friends to be toyed with and handily beaten by the old guy. I enjoyed the hell out of it, as did his friends.
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Reply Wed 6 Apr, 2011 12:36 pm
Yes that is the case with myself also.
We had a very hard winter here this year, lots very cold days. I didn't make myself get out as much as usual, and now I am feeling the effects as I resume my activities. It's not as easy to get going again as it once was, I think that has triggered some of my new awareness. I don't plan on making that mistake again in the future. I don't care how cold it gets, I will not allow myself to get lazy in the winter again.
Reply Wed 6 Apr, 2011 12:42 pm
We have elderly people at the apartments, which gives me perspective on what it will be like when I am 80+ or whatever. One man I know came in, very healthy, but he sat around all day every day. Soon, his body lost equilibrium and he was falling all the time. Last time I saw him, he went to live with his daughter, because he could no longer take care of himself.
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