Young at heart

Broken Arrow Family Drug blog

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  • 9 February 2010
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    Young at heart

    Today, I celebrate my 44th birthday. To be honest, I don’t feel it at all. I’m sure that most of you can relate to this.

    Time passes by SO fast. It’s not uncommon that I sit and think about some past event and ask myself, “That happened HOW long ago?” Even events that happened 3 and 4 years ago seem like yesterday.

    In the day-to-day melodrama that is my life, I run across many people that are my age that just seem older than their years. Don’t lie – you see the same thing. And no, I’m not talking about YOU.

    Conversely, I see all kinds of those people who seem to defy age. They’re the 80-year olds who almost run across the parking lot. They have a spring in their step and a smile on their face. They’re going SOMEWHERE, and doing SOMETHING. Yes, you’ve seen those people too. And I MAY be talking about YOU.

    As I was coming up on this birthday, I started to really think about those things that separate someone who is young from someone who is old. You may see yourself in some of these things, but remember, when I’m talking about old people, I’m not talking about YOU.

    Young people take care of themselves physically; old people, not so much

    OK, let’s get this out of the way. I definitely do NOT take care of myself physically as I should. You should have seen the McAlister’s Deli sandwich, fruit cup and cheesecake (washed down with sweet tea) that I had for lunch. And the last time I was on the treadmill was before the 4th of July last year.

    That said, I don’t pretend that I’m helping myself by washing down 2 Big Mac’s and an order of large fries with a Diet Coke. And please don’t give me the “I have a glandular problem” excuse. Here’s some simple math – caloric expenditure (exercise) minus caloric intake (STEP AWAY FROM THE DONUT) equals weight gain or loss. It really doesn’t matter if the person has a “glandular problem”, are “big boned”, or “big hips run on my mother’s side of the family”; the math works EVERY TIME. Test – if you’re under 50, and you’re fighting old ladies for the electric cart at Wal-Mart, you’re older than your years.

    I frequently have folks come in to buy Sudafed for their “cold”. They’ll come walking in and hand me their ID (it’s never a driver’s license, because they lost it), and they look 15 years older than the date on their ID. Now I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a person with a meth habit, but they age FAST. And I’m not worried that they’re reading this, because their computer is in the pawn shop.

    Young people are looking forward; old people are just surviving today

    I can’t tell you how many young 75 year olds I have as patients. They all seem to have one thing in common. They look forward to doing SOMETHING in the future. And that SOMETHING they are doing is usually an act of helping someone else. Meals on wheels, Habitat for Humanity, church missions; they look forward to doing something tomorrow.

    And please note what I said in that first sentence. These people are PATIENTS. I’m not saying that they are perfectly healthy. I’m not saying that they have full use of all limbs. I’m saying that they’re imperfect – but young.

    Old people seem to live in the past, and hope to survive today. Their focus is what once was, not what it can (or will) be. Life is a 4-letter word with old folks. They’re not happy until you’re UNhappy.

    My grandparents are getting into their mid-80’s, and I consider them young. Both use a walker, and they live in a retirement center. They STILL look forward. They may not look as far forward as they once did – they look forward to chapel on Sunday and dinner this evening – but they still look forward to seeing other people and smiling and conversing. They look forward to seeing their grandkids and great-grandkids. They look forward to speaking with us once or twice a week.

    Young people accept a mistake and move on; old people make life hard

    Young people understand the concept of “letitgo”. If you’ve never heard of “letitgo”, then you’re not a fan of the Reba TV show. Reba is upset about something, and her TV son-in-law reminds her, “Reba, one word. Letitgo.” Young people don’t dwell on mistakes – their own or others. They simply Let It Go.

    Old people make your life hard for things that may not even BE a mistake. True example – we had a, ahem, senior lady (no, it’s not YOU, remember) ask us to order a specific walker and bill it to Medicare. We did so, and we delivered it. The delivery papers had a clause stating that she would be responsible for payment if Medicare didn’t pay (standard boilerplate statement). She wouldn’t sign. We took the walker back. Three months later, we go through the exact same process. Deliver the walker, refused to sign the paper, return the walker. Three more months, same thing. Do you know how hard it is to reverse and rebill things to the government THREE TIMES? And she knew it, too. This lady is not young.

    Young people hang out together; on second thought, so do old people

    Young people gather in roving packs and do stuff, usually fun stuff. And a lot of times this stuff involves helping other folks or having fun with the kids or grandkids or great-grandkids. A group of young people can be identified by the raucous laughter and the sound of a prank whoopee cushion.

    Old people gather in packs, but they’re not roving. Conversation centers around Social Security and the high price of sugar. Actually, they don’t converse; they commiserate. They can be identified as the group gathered around the mailbox on the third day of the month.

    Young people smile; old people scowl

    Do I need to explain this one?

    Young people are healthy spiritually; old people need to give something up

    Perhaps it’s just the circle in which I run, but most of us are kids at heart. Actually, sometimes we act like children. But it’s because we understand that we ARE children – children of the most wonderful Father that someone could ever have. Our Father loves us, laughs with us, cries with us, lives with us, and cares for us. We can act like children because we’re not weighed down with all the cares in the world. We know that our Father has it under control.

    It seems that every “old” person I know needs to give something up. It may be bitterness, an addiction (like the meth folks I mentioned), envy, anger, whatever. Some weight keeps them from jumping off the ground in the joy of happiness. If this person is you, find one of us who knows happiness, and ask where we got it.

    Surely you’ve figured out by now that young and old is generally a state of mind. At least that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself as I age. My prayer for you today is this – if you’re young at heart, keep on dancing. If you feel old, turn on a comedy. Get out of the house. Smile a little. God wants you to live a life of joy.

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