2017-03-17 / Commentary

The Pain of Aging

The other day as I was walking down the hall past my wife, I tried to give her a little “muscle pose.”

I was going to impress her with my best Mr. Universe flex and give her something to think about for the rest of the day. The problem was when I grabbed my wrist and began to puff up my chest and tense up my biceps, I was overwhelmed by a sudden and painful knot that sprung up just behind my right shoulder blade, and my Arnold pose was quickly replaced by lots of whimpering.

Apparently, I can’t even flex now without cramping up. I guess it really doesn’t matter because flexing doesn’t exactly make my wife swoon anyway. Maybe if she caught a glimpse of my bicep while I was lifting a rake or some dirty dishes, it would be a different story, but just striking a pose usually does nothing but elicit a mocking, “Ooooohhhh, Baby!” So instead of the usual sarcasm, my sweet wife chuckled at my pain. At least I amused her, and the blow to my ego was not nearly as painful as the shoulder cramp.

So what gives with the unnecessary pain?

I’ve learned to tolerate much of the aging process. Lots of it can be managed with the diligent use of a good trimmer and a reliable baseball cap, but pain is something entirely different. I can’t “groom” my way out of the various aches associated with getting older, and I’m pretty sure it’s not healthy to eat Advil gel caps like they were M&Ms.

I don’t understand cramping up during a flexing show for the wife. I may be asking for trouble tensing up aging muscles, but does a quick pose have to end in debilitating pain?

Why does my upper back hurt when I’m on my feet, and my lower back aches when I lie down? Does the aging process issue these kinds of “rewards” for standing and a good night’s sleep?

What’s that about?

Maybe these things are just more indications of God’s sense of humor. That would explain why I can run a pretty good distance without the slightest amount of pain, but five minutes into folding laundry and I’m fighting the urge to chug a bottle of Advil.

My wife says that one is probably mental...some subconscious aversion to housework... but, sad as it may be, I do thoroughly enjoy locking myself in a room with a pile of laundry and some Netflix. It’s a peaceful way to be productive and unproductive at the same time. So regardless of what the wife thinks, I’m going to stick with God’s sense of humor on this one.

Maybe He just doesn’t want me watching Netflix... but that wouldn’t explain why the same back pain grabs me when I’m doing other things around the house that need to be done but definitely fall in the far-from-desirable category. My wife may be right about the mental aspect of that pain.

I guess I’ll just have to learn to deal with pain like I deal with ear hair...carefully, methodically, and with products from the pharmaceutical aisle.

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