Getting Older
by James Glaser
January 19, 2012
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Yes, I am getting older. Aren't we all? However I'll never admit that I am old. Some people claim age is a state of mind. That is true, but it is also the state your body is in. Last summer I hired TC Hudson, a carpenter here in Madison, Florida. TC is 80 years old and his hands are kind of deformed with arthritis, but he is still a very excellent carpenter. I asked TC how he keeps doing it, and he said that if he didn't, he couldn't.

I hope I always remember that. When I was Commander of our VFW Post in Northome, Minnesota, I would sit at the front table looking out at the members during meetings. After a couple of years I noticed that the WW II and Korean vets who retired to a life of leisure either died or were in very poor health. Those who kept working, kept working.

I am writing about this, because just this morning I was walking from the carport to the house, and noticed I was walking like I was twenty. Never noticed any aches or pains. It felt just wonderful. It isn't that way all the time now. Probably because I am no longer twenty. Some days my right hip hurts or my left knee is in pain, but I know I have to keep moving, and I think that is good.

I started yoga last week at O'Tool's Herb Farm here in rural Madison County. It was my first time, and while I couldn't do everything the rest of the class was doing, I surprised myself with what I could do. It lasted about an hour and a half, and I felt like I really had a work out, but I wasn't crippled up from it. It gave me some goals to work on long term. I can't sit crossed legged like yoga people do, but I'm working on that. One lady told me it took her ten years to feel comfortable sitting that way. I hope I am quicker than that.

I think gardening helps, as does building things. Up and down ladders, reaching as high as you can to get that last nail or screw in, and carrying boards around all help. The things I do in my shop don't really count that much, because I have been doing the same movements my whole adult life. After years of doing the same thing, you learn the easy way—the way that is comfortable, and soon those muscles are in perfect shape for the job, but really just that job.

New and different kinds of jobs require you to bend and reach in ways that extend and stretch your body. It is true, if you don't use it, you will lose it.

So, like TC, I have come to realize that if I don't do it now, I won't be able to do it when I want to. It is an everyday thing. I am almost in a groove now with my morning exercises. They take about 25 minutes, and some mornings I add a bit more. Really, when you are young, you don't have to exercise because you are so darn active just moving around through out the day. At least I was. Then one day you realize that you are no longer the worker, you are now the boss, or you are the thinker and you have become way less active.

Being active can become a habit, and it is a good habit to get into. I was out looking at my tree house today, and there is a fair amount of ladder work yet to do. It was nice because I didn't stop and think, "Oh man I don't want to be up on a ladder." Ladders are fine if you use them all the time. The same is true with bicycles, shovels, and post hole diggers. Any tool or piece of equipment you use a lot causes you no problems as you age, but to jump into a weekend of planting after sitting at a desk all year is asking for a sore back and body.

So, like I said, I am getting older, but I'm not old, and if I stay active I never will be.

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