When you know you're aging

I sat on my porch having a morning cup of coffee thinking about getting old. At 85, it’s scary but it’s happening. I can feel it. I can see it.

Appreciating little things, I have begun to recognize some symptoms of aging, sometimes a little wobble, some aches from too much tennis, forgetting something important.

I asked my local pharmacist in Kroger if he had something to retard or reverse aging. He said, “If I had something like that do you think I would look like this?”

As I age there are some things yet to be done, things I’d like to do again.

I would like to skate on the frozen pond again with my friends. I would like to play tag. I want to spiral 50-yard passes to my sons. I’d like to discuss the bad boys again with my daughters.

I recognize the symptoms of aging, the occasional stumble going upstairs, strange clicking noises in my shoulders when I shower, tee shots that are shorter and off line, less zip, the tendency to sit down more often, and for longer time.

While going to the food court at Northlake Mall I observed, in a window, an old man keeping pace with me. He had rounded shoulders with his head bent forward, looking down with steps a little unsteady. I felt sad for him wondering if he might also be a WWII veteran and if he was alone in life. I wondered if he was going to the same place for lunch and maybe we could eat together and talk about our war experiences.

He looked tired, shop-worn and older than me. I hoped I wouldn’t look that bad when I got to be his age.

I glanced again and stopped to study the old man. Then, it took me a few moments to realize the old man in the plate glass window was my reflection. That is me?

I thought about Navy boot camp: Stand up straight, sailor, chin in! Chest out! Tuck in your gut! Do you want daddy to put you to bed? Shape up, sailor!

“Yes, Sir,” I said aloud.

We saluted each other. We instantly looked younger, more erect with some snap in our cadence, added energy.

I am aware that staying active both mentally and physically throughout my life is responsible for me now being able to continue my multiple interests. I have been told by acquaintances that they hope to be as involved when they reach my age.

It’s important that aging adults remain active in their communities. In conjunction with Capt. Mike Johnson and Chief Bruce Hedley with the Lilburn Police Department I have conducted seminars for senior citizens’ organizations on identity theft, senior scams, and home and personal safety. I also graduated from the 12th Gwinnett County Citizens Police Academy.

And I’ve won 27 medals in the Gwinnett County senior games over the last 10 years playing tennis, table tennis, golf and archery.

This year’s Senior Golden Games, for age 50 and up, will be April 11 through May 25. Events include shuffleboard, swimming, tennis, bowling, cycling, billiards, Frisbee toss, football toss, table tennis, 18-hole golf, badminton, and archery.

If you feel like you’re aging and want to get active again give the senior games a try. Applications are due March 15. Visit www.gwinnettseniorgoldengames.org for more information.

Bill York has lived in Stone Mountain for 35 years. Reach him at sioux2222@gmail.com.