Jan. 17th, 2017

aadler: (Muse)

My father and my younger brother were both showing severe hair loss by their late twenties. I passed through the same period of my life with no such problem, and so congratulated myself on having dodged that particular genetic bullet. It didn’t occur to me until several years later (at which point it was brought to my attention by store video that allowed me to see the back of my own head, which I’d previously had no cause to study) that not being subject to premature male pattern baldness was no guarantee at all of immunity to the routine male pattern baldness that so frequently appears in middle age.

Something like that is now at work in my general health. Because I was such a puny, sickly kid growing up, it’s ironic that I turned out to be the healthiest member of my family. My father died of lung cancer when he was 17 years younger than I am now; both brothers had severe GERD — one so bad that, in hopes of relief, he underwent a kind of surgery that is no longer being done — and both have needed prostate surgery. I’m now the eldest member of my family, but I keep ticking along. I’ve never forgotten how old I am, but have frequently forgotten the significance of my age. This was exacerbated when I joined the Army, and found that my efforts to make sure I could keep up with the physical requirements meant that I kept getting better as I got older.

Those days are past. I’m still proceeding without visible let-up (except for weight gain and the fact that I no longer seem to have enough wind to run for more than a minute or so at a time), but I am increasingly aware that such smooth functioning can no longer be taken for granted. I’ve had no premature health problems … but age comes on apace, and decline of some sort is inevitable, and some of it seems to be gradually making its appearance. The aches that I was afraid might prove to be chronic were, after all, only the byproduct of some kind of mild intestinal bug, but the real thing could already be making its appearance, and surely will if I keep on living (which I very much intend to do).

I’ve gone through my life in a certain way, operating on a set of assumptions that I didn’t even realize I was using, and I find it necessary now to remind myself that the paradigm is shifting right under my feet. The adjustments … well, I don’t even know yet what they will turn out to be, but I can be sure that adjustment of some type will be necessary.

It’s the price of living.