O-L-D is all about perspective and gratitude

As I struggled to sleep Sunday night, I realized that in a space of four days I had at least five complaint-oriented conversations about the aches, pains and indignities of being over 60.

One woman complained the she just couldn’t move boxes and clean and paint like she used to do. She was downright angry her body was failing her. Another group of women joked as they complained. Another man interrupted a conversation I was having with another woman about how we were falling apart, by grabbing a piece of paper and writing O-L-D on it.

But the guy who got me thinking deeply about this whole thing was a man I’ve known for several years. I ran into him in a coffee shop Sunday. We swapped our complaints, pains and hurts until he wisely said “at least we’re this side of the dirt.”

That pulled me up short. My late wife Jean and scores of other people I knew well can’t gripe and complain about hurts and pains because they are gone. I have the gift of life and all my aches should be gifts, not trials.

I know I quote too many country music lyrics in these blog posts but Saturday I heard these lyrics from a Highwaymen song from 20 years ago. The song was written by the late Stephen Bruton:

I am what I am,
‘Cause I ain’t what I used to be.
‘Cause it is what it is,
But it ain’t what it used to be.

It’s silly to keep comparing ourselves to younger versions of our selves. Those days are gone. It is what is, even if it’s not what it used to be. I may not like it, but I need to embrace it as reality.

It gets me back to my old friend gratitude. Rather than focusing on those hurts and aches and the hardships I need to be grateful for what I have because a lot of folks don’t have anything at all.

McGuire on Life, Disability and Grief will take a spring Break for the next two weeks or so, Posts will continue around March 17.

Tim J McGuire is the author of “Some People Even Take Them Home” A Disabled Dad, A Down Syndrome Son and Our Journey To Acceptance

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