The first thing that made me realize I’m getting older is that I’m shorter: I’ve lost about an inch from my peak height. A couple of years ago I had to ask them to measure me twice at the start of my physical exam. It didn’t help.
But what made it hit home is that my vision has started going. I’ve always been nearsighted, but around age 47 I started getting what is colloquially called farsighted but which is properly called presbyopia, and which interacts poorly with nearsightedness (because without lenses I can only clearly see things close up, but I can no longer easily change my focus to view things that are close). This has been predictably annoying: Reading small text up close is getting harder. Bright light helps. iPhone flashlights are great for reading the menu in dark restaurants – you may have noticed older people using them. Well, that’s why.
This year I’ve had some new developments. In June I went running one morning as usual. After lunch I went for a walk, also as usual. Around 3 pm I got up to walk to coffee with my cow-orkers, and I had a serious pain behind my right ankle, so bad that I was limping with my foot turned sideways to mitigate the pain. I have no idea what happened, but this was about a week before our flight back east so I decided to give it a few days to see if it got better, by taking time off from running. It did. By Saturday it was a dull ache, and by our vacation it felt almost all better. But it hasn’t completely gone away, although it hasn’t impaired me at all since then. I suspect I pulled my Achilles tendon, but I don’t know how.
The latest thing is the bane of middle-aged overweight guys everywhere: Knee problems. My left knee started hurting when my dad was visiting at the beginning of October, and got worse over the next couple of weeks. And then my right knee started hurting too. So I took a 2-week break from running – though I substituted some walks instead – and things got better. It’s still not 100%, but I’ve been slowly ramping up my running, and have been glad not to have sore knees for the last couple of weeks. Debbi thinks I went too long before replacing my sneakers and inserts, so I replaced them when I started up again.
All of this is strange because I don’t feel older. A little slower, maybe, but I’ve never been terribly athletic and my physical endurance has always been pretty lousy. Most of my cow-orkers are over a decade younger than me, and I don’t feel like I have a problem keeping up with them. I’m just annoyed that some things aren’t working as smoothly as they used to. It could be a lot worse, I realize; this is just normal getting-older stuff.
Anyway, a week and a half ago I was doing some shopping and on impulse I bought myself reading glasses. They help. It’s weird.