Age Creep: One Day or Another its Going to Get You…

old cyclists
The epic ride…that was “fun”, I have to go home now and ingest a bottle of  aspirin.

creep |krēp|

(creep in/into) (of an unwanted and negative characteristic or fact) occur or develop gradually and almost imperceptibly: errors crept into his game | (as adjective creeping) : the creeping centralization of power.
• (creep up) increase slowly but steadily in number or amount: interest rates have been creeping up in the past few weeks.

I would like to discuss a certainty for all of us. We all age and we will all eventually die. There is no other polite way to put this – aging and death are inevitable for each one of us. It does not matter what religion or ideology one subscribes too – we will all experience death. The differences or even arguments over our respective religions and ideologies are often based on our views of the afterlife more so than in the present.

We begin to die the moment we are born. That is almost uncanny, troublesome, and difficult to understand. Granted, our scientific understanding of aging and death may differ somewhat, but from a strictly philosophic point of view – we are born to die.

The problem for most human beings is that we just don’t “get it”. As children, we have our whole lives ahead of us. As teenagers and young adults, the world is our’s for the taking. As 30-somethings we begin the process of bringing new life into the world. As middle-aged folk we begin to look back on life rather than forward. As the elderly, we look forward to the afterlife.

One big cycle of life that goes around and around.

Of course, there are no set rules or guidelines as to the circle of life in the aforementioned. Just as there is an exception to every rule, there are exceptions or variations amongst every significant milestone in human life. Some are never born, some die young, some are living in the best period of their lives as middle aged people, some cling to this life with an iron grip, afraid of what the afterlife might bring.

The one thing that most of us do not recognize is that slow creep towards aging. We may look in the mirror every day and choose to ignore those “crows feet” around our eyes, and the occasional grey hair that we are quick to pluck out, but sooner or later age will creep up on us. One day we will look in the mirror and realize that those few grey hairs have been replaced with a sea of grey, those once bright blue eyes are now growing dim. We are getting older and some of us are not too happy about it.

I am actually astounded as to the lengths that human beings will go to be young again. From colouring our hair to the often grotesque cosmetic surgeries we do to our natural bodies. The range of improvements or renovations to ourselves can be simple or extreme. Please don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with caring for ourselves as we get older, through exercise and diet and other natural improvements. It’s just that some people, often women, go to extraordinary lengths, at huge personal and financial costs, to look young again – yet inwardly, the body is dying, slowly but surely.

Like a shiny red apple with a hidden rotten core, we are only fooling ourselves. Age has crept up on us and there is ultimately nothing we can do about it.

I recently posted a series of articles concerning a rather brutal road ride I did recently. As you know, I cycle to maintain my weight, or lose unnecessary body weight (fat) and improve my heath. The positive effect is that I have the blood profile of a thirty-five year old and look much younger than 57 years-of-age. Sometimes, some of my friends think I have cheated life, but looking younger than our natural age is rooted in our genetic makeup. My mom, at forty years of age, would have made most guys in their twenties swoon and fall all over her. She too was blessed with a unique combination of genes that made her look young.

A recent comment by a friend on FaceBook has caused me to reflect on the reasons why I do what I do – and that is always a good thing. Understanding the motivations behind our madness can lead us to a clarification of our values and purposes in this life. Why do I train so hard on my bicycle? What is the purpose or end result of my involvement with cycling and the cycling community? Is it really worth the time and effort? All good questions that need to be addressed on a regular basis.

Here is exactly what transpired on my Facebook page:

“Well Bruce, people do many things for fun, to challenge themselves, to stay fit and to be sociable. I commend your spirit and attitude and I find your technical surveillance and strategies entertaining. I am just not sure why you think you need to punish yourself so hard? Ride and enjoy in the fashion for a man your age. You are not 21 anymore. Nevertheless, thanks for sharing with the rest of us buttercups. I do enjoy your chase and pursuit of good clean fun. Good luck!”

Of course, in my typical dismissive fashion (sound about right, dippydottygirl?), I just assumed that my friend since childhood did not understand the true nature of road cycling as an endurance sport. Here was my response:

“Thanks (insert name here). No one plans on suffering in a ride, however, as a cyclist I do not give up very easily. Call me stubborn or even nonsensical, but I have learned that if I can overcome the many challenges of endurance sport, I can overcome almost anything. I may be getting older, but I am not dead yet. 🙂 Cheers!

Oh, how witty of me! I had a reasonably intelligent response to his challenge of suitable activity for my age.

Ride and enjoy in the fashion for a man your age. You are not 21 anymore.

I must admit – that stung! The truth always does. I am NOT 21 anymore, and perhaps I need to pull in the reins a little bit and stop suffering on the bike so much. Were my friend’s comments words of wisdom or expressed jealousy? I am not certain, but because I trust my friends, I invariably take them at face value and give them the benefit of the doubt. My friend is suggesting that I stop being so hard on myself – perhaps I should listen to him 🙂 What do you think? Don’t be shy now…

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6 thoughts on “Age Creep: One Day or Another its Going to Get You…

  1. Creepy … but true
    I guess we all want to know how to creep backwards …. there are so many things that need undoing.
    i expect we will be able to do some of that in the afterlife.

  2. Hah, I did not deem you dismissive. You know those Dylan Thomas lines? I have loved them for a long time. “Do not go gentle into that good night,/ Old age should burn and rave at close of day;/ Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” If that is the way you are living it up and letting your body know that you shall not bloody let it go, why right ho, my friend. I plan to let my body not take it easy.

    1. Actually, I meant that I can be dismissive and was hoping you would agree with me 🙂 Nevertheless, it was all meant in good fun and it is a unique way to promote other people’s blogs like yours. I like that particular bit of poetry also. Generation after generation recognizes the words. Too tired to ramble tonight as I just completed my first cycling club event this year and I am toast. Have a good evening.

      1. Hmm okay here I lend my vigorous Indian nods to dismissiveness on your part. You are promoting my blog, why that is wonderful thank you. At this point, I shall take a bag of smelling salts lest I swoon with happiness. Yeah Thomas is well touted out there. A toast to the second-last thought.

  3. Sorry…your last comment was stuck in some kind of spam hell that I could not retrieve it easily. Good to know you are still out there and kicking cans in the rain. Arundhati, haven’t seen any new posts on your blog lately?? You OK?

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