Mom used to say (in her last 10 years - 74 to 84 years) that "growing old isn't for sissies". She had to stop playing golf at 75, couldn't write letters at 76 or so, couldn't type letters after 78, and sufferred from Parkinson's Disease after that.
Dad felt the same way, but he was healthy to 90 and faded quickly over 2 years. I like his pattern better...
OK, I'm "only" 67, but I'm beginning to understand what she meant. It isn't so much that you are going to die someday (we all will), but the accumulation of small and large problems is hard to accept and get used to. And the minor problems of middle age just get worse.
I've always been "annoyingly healthy" (no colds, no flu, no broken bones, no migraines, etc). But as a single person determined to tackle hard work alone, strained muscles are a routine of my life. Sometimes, I push my body a bit too far. I usually get over it in a day or two, but sometimes not. I threw a rock at a squirrel 30 years ago and strained my right rotator cuff. Couldn't lift my arm above my head for months. But it healed.
I stepped on a rock wrong once and limped for a week. It healed. Whenever I strain a mucle, it heals. I'm just used to that happening. I do something, it heals. I don't bruise. Cuts heal in a day. You get used to that happening.
I think partly that it is because I age slower than most people. I matured slowly in high school behind the other guys. Some of the athletic types were shaving at 14. I didn't have to until college. When they looked 30 in college, I looked 16. I resented it then, but I like it now.
But time is catching up to me. I first noticed that, when I twisted around doing work, I would sometimes get a muscle cramp in my side. Then both. I have always had a slight back problem, but it got worse over the decades. I get muscle cramps in my legs while laying in bed.
The males of my paternal side live to old age in relative health (85+). The males on the maternal side do not (65+). I suppose I will average that.
My point is that I think I've hit the point where things start to go downhill. Monday, I woke up after doing no particularly heavy work the day before, and I COULD NOT STAND UPRIGHT. That was a shock. I expected that I had just slept in a bad position all night. But even after a hot shower, it didn't go away, and I limped around all day. The pain was slightly behind the left hip. Not the joint, the muscle.
I took a double dose of Ibuprofen, which helped. Standing erect (once I stretched enough) was sort of OK, Bending over was troublesome; bending back up was harder. I discovered doing leg squats was the easiest.
I have Ibuprofen because I had one attack of gout in the 90s and aspirin was contra-indicated for that. The Ibuprofen instructions say 1 pill per 4-6 hours, but the doctor then said 2 were just fine (unless there are problems) and I follow that. I'm drug-resistant, so I need stronger doses.
And interestingly, the "bad" knee I've had for 10 years has been just fine lately. When one problem arrives, another one goes away. And I haven't had leg muscle cramps in weeks. Maybe that's because I've been eating a banana each day or because I just haven't been able to work hard in the yard.
So here is the situation. My back is not getting better. But I'm NOT going to the doctor office while the flu is widespread. Maybe I've never caught the flu, and I got the annual shot (started doing that only when Dad came to live with me, but decided not to stop), but it seems the current flu shot has only a 30% effectiveness and if I catch a bad case, there isn't anyone here to help. So I will wait to heal the back.
At least I've learned to adjust to it somewhat. If I stand erect most of the day, it lessens. I even did some woodworking today.
So I'm expecting it to just heal naturally and not notice it suddenly in a few more days.
Meanwhile, it is annoying. The birdfeeder and suet basket were empty this morning. I dragged out the 8'ladder to refill it. It sure didn't feel great! But I managed it. Life doesn't stop just because my back hurts. The birds need the food.
I expect that, in a few days, I will feel back to normal. But not today, and not tomorrow.
When I'm 77, this may be more of a problem.