Of the three dimension of the aging process, nobody talks about the pain in the aging process. The intentions are good. You don’t want people to think you are a complainer. So you just don’t talk about it. You learn to walk and move in ways that disguise the fact that pain is your constant companion. Your denial is contagious and so we all suffer in silence confirming that the pain we feel is a personal affliction and not a general condition of being old.
Deny? Complain? Which?
I don’t know if denial of pain is a bad thing. I don’t like to be a complainer either. I don’t want people to think of me only as a whiner. But pretending that old age is a picnic and that everything I do is just the same as when I was younger is a lie. My mother always told me that lying was bad. But now I find out that she was a liar too. She didn’t talk about her pain. She just endured. And we believed what we wanted which was that old age was just like youth except that you looked bad.
Where is your pain?
I don’t know where your pain is located. I notice my knees most but lately I suspect that over time, my body has just adjusted to a higher and higher level of pain everywhere. The pain in my knees overwhelms the other pain but the truth is that I hurt all over. This is probably a good thing. I can cling to the delusion that if I got my knee pain fixed then I would be just like a 30 year old again. I suspect that we all have our pain focal points- our star pain provider if you will. Mine is definitely the knees.
Each morning the pain is reassuring. I am still alive.
Still when I wake up each morning, I start by running an inventory of the muscles and joints in my body, flexing and stretching to test how all the parts are working. At the same time I am feeling for pain levels, measuring and monitoring. Sick though it may seem, that testing and the resulting pain is reassuring. I have lived through another night and my body is still functioning. The pain I feel is proof that my time has not come.
So lets talk about pain – just among us.
So I have come to accept my pain as the price I pay for living into old age. But I am tired of pretending that life is just the same at 70 as it was at 40. I don’t really want to complain and ask for sympathy but neither do I want to continue pretending that it isn’t there – ALL THE TIME! People need to understand and anticipate the changes that aging brings. An old person is not just a young person with wrinkled skin. The body fails on you – no matter what you do to fight it. I don’t want to complain about the pain. I accept and deal with it. But neither do I want to pretend that it isn’t there and a natural product of aging.
My knees hurt – So there!
I’m going on record right now to state that my knees hurt. And they hurt all the time. And that I don’t expect them to ever stop hurting until I am dead. I feel much better now and I can go back to pretending I am just a white haired 40 year old with wrinkles.
Now it is your turn!
I offer you- my readers the same opportunity to tell about your pain. The one you pretend isn’t there and don’t want to bother people with. You are among friend and friends don’t have to lie to each other. Let’s all chant together.
I am old.
I have pain.
Feel better? I know I do.