getting sick and old

It’s good to get really sick once in a while. Not if you can help it, of course. But if it does happen, it’s a good test of your mettle, and probably makes you stronger (after you get better.)

It’s been really unusual for me to get sick twice in a month. A couple of weeks ago, I caught a really bad flu/cold from Joe. I usually don’t get sick very easily, even when I’m around him when he’s sick. This past weekend, I got a really, really bad case of food poisoning; and I have no idea how. We both had the same pizza, and he was fine. So even though I don’t think it was the pizza, I don’t want to eat pizza again for a really long time.

Suffering through the nausea and vomiting, and other symptoms I’ll spare you, it struck me that feeling really, really miserable once in a while is good reminder of what it’s like to be infirm, and to have sympathy for those who are ill. It makes you realise you shouldn’t take your health for granted. Appreciate what you’ve got.

(Plus, living in the Bay Area, we eat too well; we’re so spoiled for choices. ‘Going out to grab a bite’ runs the gamut from Afghan to Vietnamese, and then you get so ho-hum about it all) . Maybe having lost my appetite for three days, and consuming nothing but tea and crackers, I’ll really savor the next masala dosa or pulled pork sandwich I eat.)

I used to run the Bay to Breakers every year, without much training. The result was always incredible soreness and aching on the Tuesday after. (I never knew why I didn’t feel any pain on Monday; my body is quirky that way.) But on Tuesday and even Wednesday I’d be hobbling slowly like a little ol’lady, instead of my usual walk-like–New-Yorker-get-out-of-my-way stride. On those two days out of the year, I got a foreshadow taste of what I’ll be like a few decades from now: an old woman walking at a snail’s pace, probably on a walker, aching joints and what not. Thursday, I was truly grateful that I could walk as fast as I could, given that was in the bloom of youth.

There was a short article in the paper recently on how Baby Boomers are in somewhat of a denial about aging. It’s no wonder there are so many health-related products that sell well, pandering to those avoiding the thought of death and dying. It’s conventional to fear death, but it’s so silly. It’s going to happen; you might as well deal with it and prepare for it as best you can.
Wealthy Chinese people used to buy their own coffins before their time, just to have peace of mind that they’d be buried in something to their liking. Likewise, why do you think the Pharoahs started construction of their pyramid tombs decades in advance?

When I was in high school, one of my uncles died unexpectedly. He’d been relatively young, so it was quite shock. Naturally, his affairs were left in a disarray, and it was quite an ordeal for his survivors to sort it out. From then on I learnt that I should be prepared for dying. Well, at least have a will written. I didn’t own much (still don’t); but I did want to make sure my books ended up somewhere where they’d be appreciated. When we went on our extended trip a few years ago, my friends were shocked when I asked them to witness my will. (They thought I was morbid?)

But do you want to have your survivors, who are dealing with grief (presumably) also have to deal with hassle of how to dispose of the material posessions that you couldn’t take with you? So it’s more considerate/polite to leave instructions.

I’m sort of enjoying aging as it is. It’s fun to look back and reminiesce on how naive I was when I was younger. I used to think things like “I’ll never buy anything but pop/rock CD’s” (99% of the CDs I buy are of dead composers or dead performers. Am I dating myself by even buying CDs, instead of downloading?!)

Or “I’ll never be too old to run the Bay to Breakers.” Ha! Now that was silly.


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