I then started wondering, is this really to pay tribute to the actor or, to yet again, make money off of a hot commodity. As I sat there wondering if I approve of this and wondering why I was letting it bother me, I realized two things. First, as someone hoping to break out in the book industry, I would most definitely want my books to go on selling well after my demise and second, it is not the fact they are using the actor to sell a product, it is death itself that makes me uncomfortable. Not only death, because after you die you can’t feel, at least I hope that is the case, but the act of growing old in general that really scares me. I am not even talking about wrinkles and gray hair; I am in my forties I already have both, what scares me is the possibility of not knowing who I am or having enough wits about me to tell someone what it is that I need or want. I have seen it firsthand, having worked in a doctor’s office. We once had a female patient who did things in the waiting room that might appear funny to some. I thought her antics were rather humorous until I was told she used to be a school teacher, meaning she didn’t always act like that. Working at the doctor’s office allowed me to see people of all ages, as the doctor I worked for was board certified in both pediatrics and internal medicine. He was also on the geriatrics board and a lot of our patients were in that category. It was when I was working there that I first started to fear growing old. Every time a patient came in I wanted to ask them if it was as bad as I feared but, as I am sure you understand, I never asked the question.
I have a problem with medication. I am very sensitive to most medicines. It is rare that I can take anything. I even have issues with over the counter fish oil. Most of the time I know right away if I am going to have trouble as my joints start to ache. This is something that I worry about. What if I am so far gone that I cannot tell the people who are caring for me that I am having issues. I guess it may sound silly to some but it is something that I tend to think about.
What about personal hygiene? Will anyone take the time to shave my legs and arm pits? Will they trim my toe nails? Will I even care if they don’t? Again, these are things that come to mind when I think about growing old. The last thing I want to do is to live out my golden years with a chin hair that is two inches long.
I think getting old and not being able to take care of myself is one of my biggest fears. It is what motivates me to eat right and exercise. I do not know if eating right and exercising can truly stave off the natural ageing process but surely extra points will be given for my effort. So for that reason I will continue my daily walks. I will continue to forgo that snowball which sits in my freezer waiting for the day I can no-longer resist the temptation to eat it. I will stick to my current, super healthy eating regimen. I may have no choice about growing older, but I hope to have a say about what shape I am in when I arrive.