Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Older, But Still Walking

I took a walk yesterday morning. It was a beautiful day, but cold, the temperature barely above forty degrees. So, I bundled up in a parka warm enough for a blizzard, a thick scarf, gloves, and of course my special sunglasses with wind shields. Do I look a little odd in those glasses? Yes, but if it's cold and windy, or even a bit breezy, without them my left eye will start tearing in a nanosecond and soon I'll be crying a river. They aren't prescription lenses, however, so while I may not have tears streaming down my face, I can barely see where I'm going.

I realize that, like me, some young people suffer from dry eyes, which paradoxically can cause excess tearing. They may also resort to special glasses like mine. But since I developed dry eyes later in life, I regard the glasses as a sign of approaching decrepitude. Next thing you know, I'll barely be able to walk.

Come to think of it, only a few weeks ago I was barely able to walk. I sprained my big toe while standing on my tiptoes to give my son, Aaron, a hug. He's not even that much taller than me, but all it took was a slight hyperextension of my toe to produce a piercing pain. Luckily, Aaron was just leaving for the airport after a lovely visit, so I didn't have to face the indignity of hobbling around in front of him for days, all because I hugged him too enthusiastically.

Was this toe mishap yet another sign of encroaching old age? A quick google of my symptoms indicated that I most likely had a mild case of turf toe, an injury common to young athletes, especially those who, like football players, constantly push off with their toes, especially on astroturf. So, okay, this could happen to anyone. But, it happened to me when I wasn't doing anything remotely athletic, except over-bending my slightly arthritic toe. Even if it didn't occur because I'm older, it certainly made me feel old.

I'm able to walk normally now, but every once in a while I get a twinge, a reminder that I could re-injure my toe all over again. Maybe that's a good definition of life over 65 — a time when the most trivial of injuries seems destined to lead to total disability and inevitable demise. Stating the obvious, my demise is inevitable, but while I once assumed that I'd bounce back from even serious illness, now the most minor ailments convince me that it's all downhill from here.

Yesterday, though, I felt hale and hearty enough to brave the elements and walk for several miles. My toe didn't throb even once and my glasses did their job admirably. I passed several wild turkeys during my perambulation and none of them attacked me. All in all, it was a delightful outing. I may be older, but I'm still walking.


  1. I have a crying right eye... I thought it was compassion. Now I'll have to see the relationship between weather and tears. And I stubbed my toe too... but then had surgery on my shoulder and the pain pills made it so the toe stopped hurting. Now they are both healing well. Keep running into Zen stuff about how our anxiety comes from life being different than how we want it to be. There is the heavenly realm where all is the way we want it to be. That is not the best realm to be born into because here we can be human. Kim

  2. Won't make this a litany of aches and pains. But I've been dealing with a torn miniscus since last summer and lately have had other issues on top of that. But I'm still walking daily. I think the older age thing with these "breakdowns" is two concerns (at least!). One is that it takes so much longer to heal than it used to. Secondly, it is the possibility that it won't heal and that means we have to deal with it for the rest of our lives. I want my knee to heal because I don't want to change my lifestyle and the exercise routine I've grown accustomed to. Or, I want someone to tell me that I need to accept it as permanent so I can go ahead and change what I need to change. But I don't like not knowing!! So maybe you need to write a blog about not being able to control things in our lives.....!

  3. Thanks for the entry. Always enjoy your observations! Hope we all continue to persevere.

  4. Nice piece. Glad it ended with a great walk. A friend recently said that at this point in life it is about managing our ailments. I kind of get that.