One of the most unfortunate side effects of getting older is how quickly so many give up — forever — things that keep us youthful.
Recently, I went skiing on a day that was colder and stormier than predicted. I wasn’t dressed warmly, and decided to go home. However, that meant taking one lift, then skiing a steep black diamond run to get to another lift, then taking a very long run to the base area back to my car.
But the first lift stopped while I was on it. During the 25 minutes the lift was stuck, the storm came in. Cold winds gusted. Wet snow dumped. By the time the lift finally started to move, I was freezing.
Numerous ski patrollers were gathered at the top with snowmobiles. I planned to ask one to ride me down to the base so I wouldn’t have to expend the required effort. Then, shocked at myself, I reconsidered. I wasn’t hurt or in pain, merely uncomfortable. It had been a long time since I had been so uncomfortable outdoors.
Getting back to the base would take work, but it wouldn’t be all THAT hard. I’d have to push myself a little, but so what? If I allowed my age to be an excuse to get a free ride this time, it would have a definite negative effect. I would be letting go of my opinion that I could handle a situation like this. I would be letting some of my youthfulness go.
And that’s the problem for so many boomers. Things take more effort as we get older. It’s a lot easier to just not make that extra effort; to stop pushing ourselves, to sit around more. But in reality, that’s not age, it’s laziness.
If you let your own efforts go, and increasingly accept offers from others to do your shopping or mow your lawn or do other chores for you, you’re letting your own abilities go. Every time you ask someone to bring you something from the kitchen while you sit, every time you allow the clerk to carry out your store purchases rather than carrying them yourself, your muscles weaken from the lack of stimulation.
This is a choice everyone boomer age and older has to make. Will you allow laziness to age you and reel you in? Or will you make that extra effort to push yourself, even though everyday activities may take a bit more work?
It’s a fact that our abilities do deteriorate with age. But they deteriorate a lot more slowly for those who strive to keep them than for someone who just lets them go.