By Joe Rector

Once again, I’m thinking about growing older each and every day. Yes, doing so beats the alternative, and I’m not complaining…sort of. What I’d rather say is that I’m discovering new things that accompany new birthdays.

For one, I’ve learned new tricks for retrieving things that I drop or which lie in my way. In times before, I’d bend over and pick things up. After back surgery and the arthritis that seems to have found a home in my spine, I now have grown rather adept at using my feet. If I need a sock that lies in the floor, all I do is curl my toes around it and raise it to my hand. Sometimes, I have to get down on my knees to grab hold of items. Getting down isn’t so bad; getting up is a different story. My legs don’t offer as much power as they once did, so I use an arm to push up on a chair bottom or a tabletop to get to my feet.

I’ve also noticed that many parts hurt now for no apparent reasons. My fingers and thumbs ache somedays, usually after I’ve worked on some project in the yard. One finger locks when I bend it, and I have to straighten it manually. Strenuous exercise brings on night cramps in calves and Charlie horses in thighs. Arising in the morning brings on ten minutes of aches and pains from head to toe until the kinks work out.

I’ve always been an active person. I can sit for a while, but before long, I grow antsy and look for something to do. It might be cleaning, building, or organizing, but I manage to stay busy. Nowadays, restlessness still creeps in, but I manage to fight it and stay still. I’m amazed how long I can now sit in front of the television and watch football games on Saturday or watch programs in the evening.

Each year, it seems that I become just a bit more forgetful. I can’t find things that I’ve laid down some place other than where they belong. Keys and my wallet are too often the items for which I hunt before leaving the house. In addition, I more often walk into a room and wonder why in the hell I’m there. I walk back to where I was, only to then remember what my mission was. So much forgetfulness only adds to more weariness for my legs.

These days, I spend more and more time in the past. An every day event triggers some past event in life. I remember things from my childhood that resemble present day happenings, and the old ones usually bring smiles to my face. Yes, I’m sure my memory is painted with a thick coat of romanticism; nothing is ever a good as I remember it.

The good thing that comes with aging is a sense of happiness. I’m comfortable with my life and am thankful for a wonderful wife, two adult children, and a grandson. Too, my own skin is something which I find comfortable; the need to be better or different no longer is that important. I look forward to re-retiring so that Amy and I can take trips on a moment’s notice. The freedom of this age is a wonderful thing.

My hope is that I’ll have several more birthdays so that I can enjoy the good and bear with the bad. Life is good in all phases, and I thank the good Lord for giving me each new day. I’ll take a couple of Ibuprofen and get on with business.