I have never been as old as I am today. I suppose that is true of everybody in the world who is alive. Nothing special, right? Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! It is special – special for everyone of us who are alive. Why is that? Well, aren’t you the lucky people, because I’m going to tell you why. Yes, I am. I know it’s a secret, and that nobody else has the answer – I know that because I just discovered it when I woke up from my afternoon nap. You may think I’m joking, but I’m not. This is deadly serious stuff.
This morning, a Friday, I went to exercises. I go to exercises three times a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I used to kind of enjoy doing that, but I don’t anymore. Lately, I kind of hate these days. And the day I hate the most is Friday. I hate exercising because it hurts, and the day that the exercises hurt the most is Friday. So, I must hate the people who are putting me through these exercises, through that pain, right? Wrong, again. Wrong, wrong, wrong! I love them because they are helping me stay alive.
So, what’s this all about? Am I stupid, or something? If something hurts when you do it, you stop doing it, right? Wrong, wrong, wrong! If I stop doing exercises, I will have less and less control over my body in doing the everyday things that allow me to live independently. These are a bunch of secrets I am telling you, no doubt.
So, as I said, today I am as old as I have ever been. For most of my life, I never gave a thought to such things. I’m not that old, thinking about Methuselah and Moses, and Saparman Sodimejo. Sodimejo claimed to be 146 years old when he died in Indonesia on April 30, 2017. Kane Tanaka of Japan is reportedly 118 years old. Bob Weighton, in the state of New Hampshire, is recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest living person, at 112. I’ll only be 88 on my birthday next April, so what’s the fuss?
The fuss is that staying alive is hard work. Some of the time, it hurts, particularly if you are trying to stay nimble and in possession of your faculties. If we don’t work at it, we just dry up and blow away, and it happens a lot sooner for most of us than it did for the guys I mentioned above.
Let’s face it, we are losing stuff as we fight the battle for longevity. I can no longer lift myself up to chin the bar like I used to. (The muscle mass vanished when I was looking the other way!) I need a pinch of spice to really enjoy some foods like I used to – I especially need more salt on my food or it seems tasteless. I sometimes need help with a name, and have to use my computer liberally to refresh my memory of things I used to know like the back of my hand. I’m really happy my kids remember my name and I have to be careful to remember all the birthdays and anniversaries. And did I tell you I take a regular regimen of pills, aside from the vitamins B, C, D and E that I ingest?
Today, my Bride asked me what’s on my bucket list. Surely, she said, you must have lots of things that you wanted to do but have not yet done. I thought about that for a moment, then I answered, I want to spend tomorrow with you, and the next day, and the day after that. That’s the real pinch of spice I need in my life.
Every day that we are alive, we are in a place we have never been before. In our world, everything within us, and everything outside us, is in a state of flux, essentially offering us a new experience every day. I intend to grab life by the throat, shake it and get the most out of it. To do that, I need all the strength I can muster. Exercise tomorrow? Hell, yes!
Max Roytenberg is a Vancouver-based poet, writer and blogger. His book Hero in My Own Eyes: Tripping a Life Fantastic is available from Amazon and other online booksellers.