July 12th, 2024

The aging body and brain tell a person different stories

By Lethbridge Herald on May 7, 2022.

Al Beeber
Lethbridge Herald

Well, tomorrow I celebrate another trip around the sun. Hopefully, I celebrate because with my back issues I don’t take anything for granted anymore. I could be fine one minute and be on my back the next. But the way I walk, I could be on my back anyway just by tripping over my own feet. Or the dog’s leash which happened at Nicholas Sheran Park this week with no damage done thankfully, except for a bruised ego.

Hopefully, by the time the paper reaches your doorstep I’ll have walked Ben dog once and be back getting ready to take the German shepherd with us since he is dealing with his own arthritis issues and and only walks when he wants to anymore. For some reason, 5:30 a.m. is no longer a thing for him, although he has surprised me twice this week. 

At 11 years old, Rio has earned the privilege of living life on his terms although it would be nice if he wouldn’t scratch at the door four or five times a night to sniff and prowl. Now that the weather is warming up, he’s been content to lay on the deck and observe or snooze most of the night, stirring only when I get up for my 4:30 a.m. coffee.

I’m not sure what I have planned tomorrow which also coincides with Mother’s Day in case any of you need a reminder, but I know at least two of us in the house will be hopefully back at the park before dawn. I’m guessing I’ll see more than a few guys at the Riverstone dog park since it is a much-deserved special day for moms.

As I’ve learned, we can’t take one minute of life for granted and we who now call ourselves seniors know that better than anyone.

What’s odd about this aging thing is the brain says you’re young but the body knows better. In my head, I’m still 21 – I’m just as energetic, optimistic and politically incorrect as I was so many decades ago. And if I won the lottery I’d be buying a sport bike for me and my buddy Bruce so we could rip around Southern Alberta at speeds that would get us arrested. And that’s because a person doesn’t have to act old when we get old. What’s the fun of that, after all?

Decades ago, people my age would probably be content to sit in front of a television all night, sleep in until 8 or 9 and would consider a bit of yard work exercise.

I’m still trying to work my way back up to 10,000 steps – preferably 15,000 – a day. And I’m thinking about putting the gym bag in the car and making a rare trip to ride the elliptical and catch up with friends like Blake Tamayose and others.

 On weekends, I’m still awake at 4:30 in the morning so I can embrace the day and get outside before dawn when the world is quiet and peaceful to walk and enjoy the early morning ambience. Granted, I tend to crash really early at night but during the day I still fit in as much as I possibly can. 

If I feel motivated this weekend, I might plant some stuff because I like to live dangerously. I was going to replace my outside taps but figured instead I had better get a professional to do the job. I should also take Bruce and our other pal Roger out for breakfast since it’s my turn to buy.

There is so much to do and I’m going to fit in as much as I can because I like what the brain tells me better than the body. 

When I think of this day, inevitably I fondly remember my 21st birthday back in Ontario. Three days before, I’d pulled into Fort Frances after leaving SAIT in Calgary early to start my first newspaper job.

I’d never been east of Medicine Hat so the trek across the Prairies was an adventure.

 I was the proverbial fish out of water, a shy Prairie kid who was suddenly in the Ontario wilderness in a paper mill town where life revolved around the lake and the bush.

It was a totally new and overwhelming experience and in those first couple days I felt totally out of place. 

I was the new kid in town which sometimes isn’t easy as an adult and I spent my 21st birthday at work with no phone calls from family and no acknowledgement of what should have been a memorable day.

Instead I went with two colleagues to experience Fort Frances nightlife at the Emperor Hotel, which was a popular and legendary nightspot. 

They didn’t know it was my birthday and I was a little uncomfortable there for reasons only locals will ever understand. It was really a pitiful, depressing experience.

My favourite birthday of all time was my 25th – radio morning man Bill Toffan, who I still banter with on Twitter after all these years, and I were “up the lake” as we call it that afternoon tossing a football at a popular place on Rainy Lake called Armstrong’s Beach.

On the way back to town in his old grey Ford F-150 we stopped at the local Honda dealership so he could buy a new bulb for the taillight of his Honda 750.

While waiting for Bill at the service counter, I spotted a Honda 750 Magna in the showroom, a bike that had a real chopper vibe to it. 

With money to burn and poor judgment, by the time Bill had purchased his $2 light bulb, I’d dropped $4,100 on the Honda which I had no clue how to ride. 

My only previous experience on a motorcycle was my brother’s old Honda 90 which I used to borrow without his knowledge and ride up and down our alley.

So with dusk approaching and me feeling no fear, Bill gave me a quick lesson on shifting what to me was a behemoth and I drove across town back to my home in the Walleye Trailer Park in the dark. 

Sure buying the bike was dumb and irresponsible and I had immediate buyer’s remorse the next morning but when you’re young, you’re allowed to do immature things once in awhile – at least in my mind.

And I still feel that way so maybe I will channel my inner 25-year-old this weekend and live a little bit again. Hold my ….Diet Coke.

NOTE: I’m off next week – except for covering city council Tuesday to make up for a day I was off in April because of my health so there will be no column next Saturday. Probably. Perhaps. Let me think about it.

Follow @albeebHerald on Twitter.

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Wow, I have never read such a type of article. That’s so interesting and a little scary to read