“We’re not as young as we used to be.”

Today I mentioned to the guy at the copy shop that I was having a difficult day. It started this morning in the gym, where I just had no energy or strength. His response was to grin and say, “We’re not as young as we used to be.”

Now, this is certainly a factual statement: I’m not sure how old he is, but I will soon complete my 48th year of life on the Earth.

But what did he actually mean by this remark? Was it an invitation to excuse my lack of performance? Was he saying that I should stop expecting too much of myself?

I looked it up online and this was the first definition I found: “No longer as physically fit or able as one might have been in one’s youth.

So, this being the message, I must ask myself: Do I agree?

At my current age, I would refer to this phase as “midlife”. To me, this implies “roughly halfway between birth and death” as well as “in the midst of life”.

In other words, far from falling into weakness and dotage, this should be the period where one makes the most of the opportunities presented by existence.

Sure, I have aches and pains, a strange sort of swelling in my right ankle, white hair on my chest and in my beard – but these changes don’t make me feel frail or past my freshness date.

I think people make comments like this mostly out of idle self-effacement. The fellow certainly meant no harm by it; probably he wanted me to feel better about my perceived failure.

(to be continued)

 

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