They say age is a number.
They say age is all in your head.
That’s also true.
Until your body says something different.
Like when the arthritis shows up-in your knee, in your neck, and in the big toe on your right foot.
Plus, the tendonitis, the bursitis and the plantar fasciitis.
Some of these maladies have external causes. I have tendonitis in both elbows and both wrists, though oddly enough it affects mostly my left elbow and right wrist, both of which could come from overuse-too much time writing on a keyboard and using a mouse or other device.
The arthritis in my neck may be genetic or may have been triggered by two car accidents in my younger days. My mother has severe neck problems, too. But she also was in a couple of car accidents in her younger days too. Maybe the predisposition for being in car accidents is genetic. The arthritis in my knee may be due to folk dancing without proper training and warming up. I was in a Mexican Folklórico dance group in college. We had no professional training, and my body took a pounding. As did the stages we performed on, as well as the patios, asphalt and any other hard surface. As for the big toe, my foot resembles my grandmother’s so I believe that one is genetic.
As for the bursitis in both shoulders, and occasional plantar fasciitis, I have no idea where they came from. I’ll attribute them to age.
Aging brings on other changes as well. Certain foods seem to disagree a lot more. Peppers and I have a mutual agreement. I will leave them alone, and they will not cause me gastric distress. Anyway, I had lost my taste for them many years ago, so our agreement is kind of moot, but I definitely abide by it. I am a man of my word, even to a pepper.
While age is "just a number" and "all in your head", these physical changes, as well as others, colliding with my recent birthday where both digits changed suggest it isn’t all just a mental number. And flipping that first digit can have real mental consequences like reminding you of your eventual mortality.
Plus, aging while gay brings on a whole additional layer of issues in a community rife with ageism, perfectionism, youthism.
But, aging is a reality we must accept. The key lies in how we accept it.
We can refuse and therefore fight it or simply accept it gracefully.
Fighting it can become expensive with all the hair dye, plastic surgeries, etc. I don’t have that kind of money. I’m not a Beverly Hills Househusband. Nor do I want to be, in more ways than one.
Because time marches on, I have no choice but to accept it as gracefully as I can, making modifications as I go. How gracefully I accept it is up to me, though. I might complain when the pain in my elbow is a bit much to sit and write. Or when opening a jar or lifting something causes the pain in my wrist to flare up. Or the pain in my toe or foot strongly suggests I cut my walk short, go home and ice it.
This birthday was hard because of it all, especially that first digit thing.
But, I’m grateful and blessed that I had one more.
Some of us don’t always get this many.