Aging is what happens to us when we are busy living our lives. Although aging happens to everyone, I expect that each of us experiences it differently. I don't usually pay much attention to my age, but ever so often, I am reminded just how old I am.
One of those moments occurred as I stood on a crowded Lexington Ave subway heading towards the Bronx in New York City. As the train rocked and rolled towards the Bronx, a woman tapped me on the shoulder and offered me her seat. "No, thank you, " was my immediate
response because I did not understand why this woman in her mid-forties would want to give me her seat. My mind went into a loop imaging how old and tired I must look to motivate this behavior. It got worse. She insisted that I take the seat after my repeated,
rejection of her offer. Many eyes on the crowded express train turned our way because we were creating a scene. I had to figure a quick answer to this dilemma. So, I negotiated with her. "We could share the seat." She agreed, and we sat together on the tiny
seat until she got off the train at 125th Street. You could interpret my reaction to this woman's generosity in many different ways. I might have accepted her generous offer with a warm smile or made a joke of the fact that she saw how tired I was. I could
have said that it was commendable if not typical for a woman to offer a man her seat on a crowded subway but I was glad she did because I was obviously very tired. Instead, I took a very defensive approach which revealed my discomfort with my aging.
I am aging, I want to believe that I am still strong. I play tennis three times a week and enjoy two hours of indoor soccer once a week. I travel as often as I can afford it. In 2017, traveled for four months of the year and my goal is to travel for twelve
months consecutively sometime in the next two years. I want to believe that I still look youthful despite my seventy years on the planet. However, lately, I have been receiving some mixed messages. I was in a bar alone when an attractive woman sat down next
to me. And after a brief conversation, she asked me how old I was. After saying that I was seventy, she said that she did not believe me. I was emphatic that it was my age despite my youthful appearance. Still disbelieving, she asked me to show her my drivers
licenses. I reached for my wallet, took out my licenses and turned it over to her. After a quick review, she mumbled, "Ahh. You are an old fart." Then got up and left me at the bar wondering what she had in mind that this seventy-year-old man could not deliver.
I guess that she was not looking for grandfatherly advice like what a date of mine informed me that she was only interested in. Ouch! Aging can be painful.
When I was younger, I took pride in the fact that I hardly ever needed to visit a doctor.
Not seeing the doctor regularly meant that my body was strong and healthy and I had no major discomfort. I was 35 years old the first time I saw the insides of a dental office and 45 years old when I had my first brush with major illness. Looking back, I feel
like I had so many misguided beliefs. Now, I am a partner with my medical providers to keep me healthy and active as I age. At age 45, like a set alarm, I came down with diabetes. My mother was a diabetic who died in her eighties from diabetic complications
and my father also died in his early eighties from hardening of the arteries which is also a complication of diabetes. So, I believe that diabetes hardcoded in my DNA. I have been managing diabetes for 25 years; at first primarily with exercise and now I manage
it with insulin shots least 4 times a day and regular exercise. You could think that I felt like a victim suffering from diabetes but I don't. I feel like diabetes has been a catalyst for me becoming more proactive with my health which might result in longer
and healthier life. Before I took little responsibility for my health management but now I am a partner with my many doctors. And I mean many doctors. I have a doctor for my pancreas, my heart, my kidney, my prostate, my feet and my eyes. I read graphs and
other measures on how I am doing on a daily basis.