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Age-a-Phobes Anonymous

Posted on January 29, 2019
By Mike Harper
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I’ve finally come to grips with it. I had to reach rock bottom before I could admit I needed help. I’m a raging age-a-phobe.

Nobody likes “getting older” unless you’re 5. Then you can’t wait to be 6. Six year olds would love to be 7, and for seven year olds? How cool would it be to actually be 8?

But somewhere along the line our attitude changes about reaching the next number. Maybe for you it happened somewhere in your twenties. Perhaps the “Big Four-O” was a doozy for you. Maybe it hasn’t happened to you yet. But the aging process is a never-ending, relentlessly psychological, physiological, and sociological avalanche that nips at your heels incessantly. We can fight it, delay it, and ignore it, but sooner or later we must acknowledge it.

It’s not hard to notice if you listen for it. People frequently bring it up. The older we get, the more it infiltrates our conversation. My knees hurt. I can’t lose weight like I used to. I have to go to the bathroom again. These complaints are often followed with a declaration of the obvious: “I must be getting old.”

For the longest time this was bothersome. Talking about it only exacerbated the problem. Why focus on it? Why even acknowledge it?

For years this strategy worked for me. I even entreated friends to abstain from such conversation around me. I didn’t want to hear how you keep forgetting things, “you must be getting old.” You have to take all these pills, because “you’re old now.” You find yourself listening to talk radio “because that’s what old people do.” Part of the reason this was irritating was most of the time these people were younger than me.

But those days are over. We’ve reached a point where we can no longer stave off this onslaught. The symptoms are everywhere.

*More and more things begin to hurt for no reason. Yesterday I pulled a hamstring getting out of bed.

*TV used to be a haven. Now it’s an annoyance. How many times do we have to see the My Pillow Guy commercial? Okay, we GET it. It’s a really good pillow.

*Yesterday I called my wife Quincy. What?!?! Her name is Lois! I’ve never even known anyone named Quincy.

All these are small symptoms piling up into one huge reminder that the days are slipping by. Yes, much of it is in your mind. “You’re only as young as you feel.” “It’s only a number.” There’s even a song encouraging us “To be young at heart.” These are all fine philosophies. But eventually you have to concede.

It’s not going away.

There are absolutely healthy choices to made in the process. Take care of yourself. Yes. Get off the couch and take a walk. Definitely. Cut down on the stinking pie for crying out loud. Okay fine. 

But I’m done with acting like it’s not happening. It’s all around me. My kids are getting gray hair. It takes me five minutes to get up off the floor. I can’t stop watching the weather.

And remember this world is not our home anyway. God is preparing a place for us that far outweighs anything this world offers!

So go ahead and lament to me your woes on aging, fifty-somethings. Bemoan your physical decline, millennials. I’m a reformed age-a-phobe. I’m free! Because you know what? I’m fine. I’ve abandoned my position of denial. It doesn’t bother me now. Maybe I’m like you. Maybe I just don’t worry about it anymore.

I guess that what happens when you get old.

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