Written by: John P. Schuster
Date: June 25, 2014

Press to Open Door sign

Aging closes some doors but opens many more. Photo: Anthony Albright/Flickr

The aging process is an endurance contest for body and spirit. The body will eventually lose, but the spirit can win. There are plenty of things we can do for our bodies, some wiser than others.  Joan Rivers says she’s had so much plastic surgery that when she dies she’s donating her body to Tupperware. That is one response.

I recently noticed the body factor when I put some older pants, still new looking since I don’t wear them often. I noticed they were baggy like we wore them some years ago. But they were also too long. My reaction was: “Shoooot!! Why are they flopping around on my shoe and almost to the floor in the heel?” Simple explanation. I weigh the same as I used to. But I’ve shrunk a little bit. I’m about an inch shorter than I used to be at my 6 foot peak. What a bummer that is!! This is an unwanted reminder that my body is in these slowly fading these years.

So how do I think about this?  I feel vital. I have dreams and hopes about what I want to do with work and life. But knock-knock. There’s a little tap at the door that reminds me often enough that I am physically on the decline.

So the good news here is on the spiritual/emotional side. Wisdom and my internal life are the gifts this age brings, not a bad trade off for baggy pants, thinning hair, and character-expressive wrinkles.

It would be nice to have both youth and wisdom. But I can keep on moving ahead without trying to freeze my body in time like Joan Rivers. It is not like I am without health at all–I am playing tennis and biking and gardening. And thank God I can say I am pain free, a luxury you don’t know you have until you have to live with pain.

I will continue appreciating the life of the body and the spirit, and the inner life of meaning and perspective may be the more important always and very much at this stage.

I will also hem my pants, and get some new ones.

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