Being old

Me and dad are visiting my grandparents up in Kilmarnock.  I knew they were not anywhere near 100%, but I really see it effecting their life and attitudes now.

Hearing is difficult, conversation is hardly ground-breaking and focuses on the most trivial of matters, cars are driven 200 m to pick up 2 litres of milk, and, arguably most frustrating, they are feeling cold in temperatures of 24⁰C or 25⁰C (the effect of this, after going for a highly chlorinated swim for two hours at 07:00, is a lot of sneezing and stuffiness – and I’ve had to answer questions about having hay fever or having a cold or being ill despite explaining this all day).

I always jest whenever people talk to be about age, especially at school where I am the youngest member of staff ‘that it will never happen to me.’  What is the biggest issue though, is that my lifestyle is bound to change as I grow older.  Should I have a family and have children, I’m surely not going to be able to stay working until 8 or 9 and then go swimming for an hour – I’m going to have to run back and help with the upbringing – tiring in its own way but hardly going to get the pulse rolling.

As a young teacher I’m on my feet during my lessons, doing dance and singing rehearsals, running football and handball sessions – and I think it would be natural to expect whatever happens in my career I will be going backwards in terms of activities.

I’m improving my fitness again, and I am sure having a 50 m swimming pool about a 5 minute walk from where I now live is going to do wonders for my morale and attitude – and I expect to improve very much at what I do.  It feels long term but in reality I know my life is going to change year upon year from now on in with lifestyle.

It’s hard to imagine me having problems in being able to move to kind of levels I witness now.  However, I do ponder the parts of me that I admit are hardly good.  My teeth have been a problem all through my life.  My molars erode much faster than for anybody else.  My teeth are soft, just like my mums, and my bottom teeth come way in front of the top, meaning that I can’t bite things in a normal way.  It is somewhat bizarre that I have avoided fillings and problems of any major scale and am sure they will come soon.  I certainly am not a flexible individual and my stride is bound to get smaller – I notice it already (although this might be in part a downside of swimming which doesn’t have a large leg span).

The last couple of days has scared me about old age – given good health, I can be alone, quiet and look after myself and still enjoy life.  But if parts of that go to be taken away then I worry about my independence, and I hope I don’t have the stubbornness that does personify every older generation who rightly don’t want to feel so helpless.

I do love these guys here though – a lot – I have had wonderful memories – and I hope I will be able to do the same job when and if I have the chance to.  My dad though, seems to expect to die younger – the smoking, drinking, night working – he even admits a slight part of him hoping not to live this long.  Seeing his parents now – wearing extra jumpers in the bright sunshine, not able to code the television, set in routines of dinner times and meals in regiment – maybe there is a lifestyle he wants to avoid at least.

Of course, it will never happen to me.

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