Why Age? An Ageless Lament

Yep, this is me. I'm now made of lumps, unsightly hairs, and aches in places I didn't know existed. My body used to always be there for me, ready to go, like a loyal servant. I put it through thick and thin, made it work. Now it seems to have a mind of its own. I tell it - "get up and go do something!" And it just doesn't do it. Instead it asks - "Paul, do you really need to get up and do that something? I mean - what about doing nothing? Nothing is pretty good too. Nothing is the new something."

I just don't know why this body has to be so frail. It makes no sense. My ambitions, my plans, my knowledge has grown. But my ability to do it all in this body has become more limited. It's the ultimate catch - with wisdom comes decay.

There are good things about aging too. Like seeing your children grow. It's pretty disconcerting actually - they change so much every month that you feel time passing in their faces. But you also feel good being the protector, the one with the answers, the strong one. Just wish you could run like you used to as you chase that ball your kid is kicking and throwing farther and farther all the time.

Aging also makes you do less stupid stuff. At least it gives you the insight to designate some stuff as "stupid". Or maybe these are just lies you tell yourself to make up for things your body doesn't want to do on account of increasing decrepitude. Things the younger you would find utterly appealing. It's strange to remember the invincibility of your twenties. It was a time of possibility, of open roads, and a reservoir of strength. It was also the time of idealism when every idea about fairness, every alternative viewpoint was just so clearly right, so attractive that you were willing to fight for it to the death. Now you're just mired in the grey. All the battle cries come out in a hoarse voice. And all ideas definitely have two sides. Or maybe just one - the opposite of what it used to be in college.

Sure, aging is what we humans do. It also sucks. Couldn't we get all the knowledge and experience and keep our bodies super-vigorous and battle-ready, growing as good and strong as what's inside our heads? That would make sense. As it is, you're just on a path towards loss, drifting away from people you once knew. Even though, of course, you settle into your family and the close people who matter most. And that's something so precious and beautiful that makes you forget all about the aging until your birthday rolls around or you feel like writing a HuffPo column in the middle of a sleepless night.

Now that this turned out to be a pretty lamentable lament, where to go from here? The cybernetic bioengineered body modifications can't get here fast enough.  But before that happens, I'll have to take it one day at time, staving off decomposition through the power of positive thinking and exercise. Although there is something strange about exercising - if you add up all those hours you shake your body parts frantically just to gain some healthy hormones and increase your effectiveness and your life span, how much quality non-shaking time have you actually added? That's the kind of wisdom that comes with age. So here's to that, all ye whippersnappers!