Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
2:07 am EDT
Sunday, June 13, 2021

Adjusting to declining capabilities

Aging means slowing down, but never quitting.

I’ve been living in The Villages for nearly 21 years, and recently I reflected on how I’ve changed over time. Most significant is although I’m healthy for my age, I can no longer do some of the physical things I once was able to do like many of my friends.

I can no longer climb a ladder to clean my roof gutters. I can’t play half-court basketball with my grandsons anymore…or play touch football with them. My body just can’t take the twists and jumps it used to. Stamina is abandoning me. My metabolism seems nearly zero. Also, my interest in controlling my weight is not as avid.

Years ago, I walked for miles along a sandy beach or around the promenade deck of a cruise ship. It was invigorating. But now, arthritis flareups in my feet cooled my passion for this.

Until about five years ago, my wife and I loved high-energy vacations. I remember happily “zip-lining” across the canyons of Chile. But now, after a knee replacement, the thought of doing that sends shivers down my legs. Am I defeated, old, and useless?

Some say I’ve become lazy and too fearful of injury. I’ve been told some help from a doctor might get me feeling my oats again. Maybe so. But aging has a natural way of diminishing enthusiasm for an energetic lifestyle. Sooner or later, goal changes from a quest for excitement to one for comfort and convenience.

If you’re still enjoying strenuous pursuits, and don’t want to slow down, the time will come when you must accept declining capabilities. There’s no particular age, but, be assured, it will happen. Gradually, you’ll find yourself with a new perspective on pleasure, where joy comes from sitting in the sun, not running through it…soaking in a pool, not swimming laps…where a vacation means sightseeing from the comfort of a tour bus, not puffing your way up steep hills.

Medical science says we must maintain moderate physical activity throughout our lives. But it also says sleeping in on weekends, or at least a couple of days a week, can add years to your life. So, don’t feel guilty about giving in to more comfort and convenience. It’s not a sin…and it won’t kill you.