Narrative Essay: The Battle of Old Age

      I have recently read about an area of the former Soviet Union where many people live to be well over a hundred years. Being 115 or even 125 isn’t considered unusual there, and these old people continue to do productive work right until they die. The United States, however, isn’t such a healthy place for older people. Since I retired from my job, I’ve had to contend with the physical and mental stresses of being “old.” 

For one thing, I’ve had to adjust to physical changes. Now that I’m over sixty, the trusty body that carried me around for years has turned traitor. Apart from the deepening wrinkles on my face and neck and the wiry gray hairs that have replaced my brown hair, I face more frightening changes. I don’t have the energy I used to. My eyes get tired. Occasionally, I miss something that was said to me. My once faithful feet seem to have lost their comfortable soles, and I sometimes feel I’m walking on marbles. To fight against this slow decay, I exercise whenever I can. I walk, stretch and climb stairs. I battle constantly to keep as fit as possible. 

Moreover, I’m trying to cope with mental changes. My mind was once as quick and sure as a champion gymnast. I never found it difficult to memorize answers in school or to remember the names of people I met. Now, occasionally have to search my mind for the name of a close neighbor or favorite television show. Because my mind needs exercise, too, I challenge it as much as I can. Taking a college course like this English class, for example, forces me to concentrate. This mental gymnast maybe a little slow and out of shape, but he can still do a back flip or turn a somersault when he has to. 

Surviving with the changes of old age has become my latest full-time job. Even though it is a job I never applied for and one for which I had no experience, I am trying to do the best I can.