Young Man

 

By Jason D. Johnson

I am still considered a young man. I know this to be true because almost every day someone addresses me as “Young Man” instead of my given name.

Yesterday was a trial run for me on what it will be like when I am not a young man. I started the day by waking up and realizing that I had a tremendous amount of sinus pressure affecting my left ear. This muting effect would haunt me all day complete with a significant amount of crackling and popping making it difficult to hear, especially in noisy settings.

Then I received a set of stitches in my abdomen. Thus, those beauties rendered me useless in picking up heavier objects, bending over or stretching my body in any regard.

At my afternoon eye appointment, I, of course, got the ole eyes dilated. Always good fun, but yesterday I believe they administered the super juice on the dilation. My vision when reading was far blurrier than under normal dilation and it persisted way into the night.

And in that great night, the main drain line in my house split open in the basement. My wife being out of town, I was left to fumble around in the basement with a flashlight, blurry vision, a bad ear and limited mobility (the stitches made it so I couldn’t stretch to turn on the ceiling lights and I couldn’t carry anything down the steps to help me reach the ceiling lights or fix the problem). I felt like…in short…a useless man. A useless man who now had to figure out a plumber I could trust. (See Thomas Torrey’s post here I Could Never Do That To My Parents for more on that related subject.)

However, I kid myself if I think that’s what it’s like to be significantly aged with various impairments to my health. I still ambulate with no hindrances. My hands bend without arthritis pangs. I only take one pill a day and I don’t have to take that one. My children don’t live hundreds of miles away from me. I still drive at night almost every night without thinking twice about it. I have no sentimental bond with my house. I haven’t lost a significant amount of loved ones to death. I still have the hope of more life in front of me than behind me. I haven’t watched the generations after mine overlook the traditions and values known to me in my youth. I am not concerned with my legacy. I have no dependence upon others to live. I am not…the list could go on forever.

This is a good lesson for all adult children to remember. We all think we know what it’s going to be like or what it is like for our parents to age, but we really have no idea. We aren’t them. We haven’t felt the tectonic shifts of psychology in our 60s, 70s and 80s. We haven’t yet felt our bodies give way. We are…in short…a useless being in this regard.

So don’t emulate. Don’t guess. Don’t place your desire over theirs. It will only make the aging process…the caregiving process…the placement process that much more difficult, should you guess wrong.

 

5 Responses to “Young Man”

    • Jason Johnson says:

      Thanks to Changing Aging for the repost. If you are looking for more information on the changing culture of healthcare, be sure to visit ChangingAging.org and follow their blogstream. The amount of valuable information you’ll receive will certainly help you in your (or your family’s) journey.

  1. Webber says:

    Thanks to Changing Aging for the repost. If you are looking for more information on the changing culture of healthcare, be sure to visit ChangingAging.org and follow their blogstream. The amount of valuable information you’ll receive will certainly help you in your (or your family’s) journey.
    +1

    • Diego says:

      I have just finished rdnieag Rosa Harris-Adler’s Life Lines column in today’s Times Colonist Newspaper about Canadian Senior Cohousing referring to your new website.Congratulations for initiating discussion and information within your newly formed group.As a Senior soon to turn 80, your article is of real interest. Living in a condo in Victoria has worked out well for me and my husband for the past 13 years. However, my husband became seriously ill this past winter but most fortunately has recovered for how long, I don’t know.Our children may put on the pressure to move closer to where the live which for both are on nearly opposite ends of Canada. I would naturally prefer to remain in greater Victoria. It may be very lonely to be on my own should it happen. I look forward to rdnieag more about your ideas, Janet Kalkman

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