I’m 56. That isn’t old, but it sure ain’t young. And along with creases and sags here and there, age also brings with it the unwelcome guest of increasing health issues.
To start with, I have diabetes. It’s under control, but it affects my life profoundly, including my cycling, my diet, and how I view the fragility of life. The effects of advancing diabetes are horrifying. Hence my cycling hobby/passion, and this website.
I also have kidney stones. Like, a lot. I had laser lithotripsy surgery last year to break up some of the bigger ones. In two months, I had three severe episodes of stones. The pain was indescribable, so I won’t try to describe it—otherwise, that would make it describable, wouldn’t it? I drink water like a camel now, since that’s the best way to cut down on stones.
I have plaque around my heart. I take a statin for that, and have for a number of years. I see a cardiologist yearly (who’s also a cyclist, and rides a Trek Domane, like me!)
I also have irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. It can cause a lot of discomfort, depending on what I eat, how much I eat, and when I eat. It used to be worse than it is now, thank goodness.
The last major condition I have is declining hearing. In fact, I’m getting a hearing aid this week. I’ll update that in a separate blog.
Let’s see… I think that covers the major defects. I have minor things, too, like I can’t read or write immediately after I wake up, or for about an hour or so afterward, because my vision kind of “locks” into place, and things can appear a bit fuzzy. This typically lasts all day, and affects my ability to work. If the blurriness is bad, I can’t drive, either. That doesn’t happen too often.
Counting My Blessings
But you know what? I’m a lucky man. I have a wife I will never deserve, and great kids. We’re a close family, and I love how much my kids are now friends with each other as much as they’re siblings.
That old cliche about the importance of the “attitude of gratitude” is 100% true. I’ve got it good—the diabetes, for example, motivated me to get my diet and exercise under control. The kidney stones have helped me understand the importance of water, which has bennies far beyond just preventing more stones.
I’m not rich, but I have enough—heck, I have more than enough. I live in a beautiful, rural county with gorgeous rolling farmland, and spectacular cycling on lightly-traveled back roads.
I take walks with my wife, and sit on the porch in the summer, and trade sarcastic barbs with my children. I write and think and explore. I see things like the picture at the top of this article, and realize how much beauty is in the world, if only we will take the time to notice it.
Life is not perfect, but life is good. I choose to see it that way, and that choice makes it so.