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The 5 Worst Things About Getting Older

Middle-aged couple

“Getting older is not so bad. I am 47 and once you get to this age, you know yourself better; you don’t care as much what other people think of you; hopefully you won’t have a spool or a couch you found on the side of the road in your living room and you’ll have enough experience to actually start to get a handle on life. Plus, there are a lot of rewards in life that go beyond what you’re going to see at a party, drunk at a club at 2 A.M., or on MTV. Being middle-aged isn’t the end of the good life; it’s just another chapter of the book that will be the story of you one day.” – Adapted from my book,  101 Things All Young Adults Should Know

I could sit here and easily give you a list of 20 things that are better in my life at forty-seven than they were at eighteen. However, that is not what this list is about (mental note: Do the “20 Best Things About Getting Older” next week. Not kidding). This list is about the DOWNSIDES of getting older and I hate to tell you this, but even in your forties, there are some big ones. If you’re young, don’t freak out, but prepare yourself for….

1. Physical deterioration

When I was roughly 12 years old, I can remember walking out of an appointment and softly crying to myself because I needed glasses. It was the first long-term physical infirmity I’d had and that seemed huge to me at that age. Little did I realize that my eyes would get much worse and that there would be many other little issues with my body that would accumulate over time. Although I feel like I am lucky compared to a lot of people, I still have a bad back that I have just recently gotten healthy enough to keep it from impeding my activities. I have a bad right foot that may need surgery one day. I have scars, crummy fingernails I can’t seem to fix, a gap between my teeth. Lower Cross syndrome. Slightly high blood pressure. I could go on, but you get the idea.

A few months ago, I injured my right shoulder doing reps with 225 pounds on the bench and it has been healing for months. If I were 20, it would have probably taken a few weeks to get better. Speaking of being in my twenties, I kid you not, I could go multiple days in a row getting 4-5 hours of sleep per night without losing a step. In fact, I can remember driving a few hours, doing a late-night AM radio host gig on a college station, and then driving a few hours back just in time to make it to work at 8 a.m. Then, after a full day’s work, I would finally get to sleep. Now, if I don’t get 7 hours sleep in a night, I feel tired and a little off in the latter part of the day. Oh, and you want to know who’s eating kale and plain yogurt? A few health nuts and legions of 40-year-olds (and up) who used to be able to live on Big Macs and pot pies without gaining weight. There’s just a lot of resilience, health, and energy that bleeds away as you get older. You can (and should) fight it every step of the way, but time will always slowly, but surely win that fight with your body.