David A Gwilt | Entertainer 4 the Ages

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Embrace Aging

Hello again, my name is David Gwilt. Welcome to another edition of Thoughts for the Ages. Today’s topic is aging. Now, if you’re afraid of aging, I guess stop right now and don’t listen to this. However, I for one embrace aging. I mean, that’s kind of my mantra to embrace aging and not to fear it.

There are a couple of reasons for that and I may have an advantage over some people who have a fear of aging, in that I did some graduate work in gerontology, which is the study of aging, at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and obtained what they call a graduate certificate in gerontology, which means I was halfway to a master’s degree which up until today I haven’t decided to pursue. However, one of the benefits of taking that education is that I learned a lot about the aging process, not just the mental aspect, but the physical aspect; what happens to the body as we age. And also quite a bit about what happens to the mind as we age and people’s attitudes on aging and the baby boom population that’s aging faster. All of that I think helped me to embrace aging rather than to fear it. And I’ll give you an example. When I wake up and I have a new ache or pain, I’m kind of curious about it.

Like, okay, what happened that caused that? Or is it just like your automobile, say, where it’s fine today. You turn off the ignition, go in your home you come out tomorrow You turn it on or you try to turn it on and it doesn’t start you’re like well. It was fine yesterday Well sure it was but today it isn’t and our bodies are the same thing I mean if you think about it. We are a biological machine We have a motor which is the heart that pumps blood. We have a brain that tells our muscles what to do and we have nerves that send impulses back and forth and it all works together in harmony- until it doesn’t. Right now I’m dealing with some IT band irritation, as they call it. I got a shot a week ago, 10 days ago, steroid injection, I think it was called, or cortisone injection, one of those two, that supposedly was going to help.

And the physician said three to six days is going to be pain-free Well, I’m not pain-free It’s been ten or eleven days now and and it still hurts when I walk all the way from my hip down to my knee.  Do I rail about that? Nope.  Do I cry about it? No. Do I holler and yell? No.  it’s called acceptance, because at 74 years of age, I don’t expect to be pain-free or have zero challenges, if you will, to something as simple as walking or exercising, getting on the treadmill, getting in and out of a car; stuff happens.

Sometimes my back bothers me. I’ve had a couple of spinal injections because I tried to lift too much. I thought I was still 40 instead of my current age of 74. The point is that it’s a totally useless exercise to be frustrated about aging. You accept aging or you rail against the ravages of time.  There’s also some benefits, I think, to aging. Certainly in the United States of America, when you hit 65, you are qualified for Medicare. And in my case, I took a supplemental plan, which I think is a smart thing to do.

You also, at some point, whether you decide to do it at 62 early or 66 or whatever age it is, 70, start obtaining social security payments for your hard work all those years. So those are the two benefits of aging, besides which, hopefully, you’ve gained some wisdom by now. I mean, if you’re 65 or 60 or 70 or 80 or 90 or whatever you are, or a  centenarian, hopefully, you’re smarter now than you were when you were 30. You don’t make some of the same decisions that turn out badly.

In some instances, you’re not capable of making the same mistakes that you did when you were 30, 40, 50, or maybe even 60. But in a lot of cases, you are still capable of making those decisions, and sometimes they don’t turn out well, sometimes they do. The point is that you can either accept aging or what I call embracing aging, which means that to continue to have that curiosity about aging like, hmm, I wonder what this is and I wonder why that happened and why my knee aches? And I do some research about it, if I come up with a new ache or pain, which I do sometimes. One of the funniest things I think, when I first realized that I was aging, if you will, was sitting on a curb on a street and seeing some cars coming.

And I needed to cross the street. I wasn’t at a crosswalk, which probably wasn’t the smartest thing, but I wanted to get across the street. And I thought, okay, I’m going to run across the street. Well, that’s what I thought. That’s what was going on between the ears. I was goning to run across the street. When I sent that message to the rest of my body, it sent back a response saying, are you out of your ever-loving mind?

There’s no way we’re running across the street. We might walk quickly, we might jog a little bit, you know, a little awkwardly. We’re not going to run across the street like we might have done when we were 18 or 28 or 38 or 48 or maybe even 58. At 74, that’s not happening. So I waited until the traffic was clea,r or I would make a decision to go to the crosswalk or the stoplight; whatever and cross safely Even though my mind said I’m going to run across the street my body started laughing hysterically and said there’s no way we’re going do that So I would encourage you to embrace aging and to do some research about it. There are a lot of books that are out there that you can read about the aging process and it might help you to understand some of the biological changes that happen with our body as well as some of the emotional aspects of it and learn to enjoy that process because if you’re not aging then you’re dead. Now, that might be better you know. I don’t know. I haven’t died yet, so I’m not sure. Maybe the afterlife is just you know this wonderful party of, you know, giggles and ice cream. I don’t know.

But right now, the situation I’m in is a human existence, and I’d rather stay here. So I embrace aging. I would encourage you to do the same, rather than rail against it. Thanks so much for tuning in. And if you want to comment, you can reach me, David, at davidagwilt.com, G-W-I-L-T as I spell my last name, and please tune in again for the next rendition, if you will, of Thoughts for the Ages. 

Thanks a lot.