I finished up another cycling year with about 9000 miles, another good year, yet for some time cracks have been appearing, mainly some health issues that have grown to now a major problem where as the new year begins, I am off the bike. I am 76 years old, and right now I don't know if it is permanent. I still have the basic capability, still consider myself a good rider, right now the health issues are preventing it. I did 30 minutes today.
Here is the issue. I have high blood pressure that currently requires meds with devastating side-effects. When I take them, I feel weak and sick, can't wake up in the morning. I also have low Testosterone that requires replacement therapy every six months. When it worked, in the past, I was good. That was before the blood pressure issue. When it does not work, I experience some of the lowest feelings, physical, emotional and even mental that has ever been a part of my experience. Add to this a worsening tremor that makes this very difficult to type.
I have been riding for thirty some years, about 267,000 miles. It is my bliss, my meditation, it is what, aside from those I love, the personal side of me, that which mainly defines who I am as an individual. Old age is about loss. You are just unable to do so many things that are important to you. It hurts. I am not sure what I would do if I couldn't ride, and yet I know, sooner or later, it will have to come as will death.
I have a friend who is worse off than I am, much. He is a little older, taking even worse meds that knock him out for 20 hours a day. He is confined to one room, by choice, and has little to no human contact. Fortunately for him, he has family. Sometimes the end for us is pathetic.
I know this does not fit the new year's resolution bill, but we are all experiencing rough seas as 2024 begins. It is very hard to think of others when we are suffering. If this is about anything, it is the struggle that increases with age. I have watched parents and grandparents die, never really imagining the suffering that they likely experienced. Now I dwell, at times, on my own struggle, look at my friend with, I am afraid, pity, and I just want to weep. From wild, adventurous beings, to complete depletion of our vitality, in what now seems such a short lifetime, and at times I fail to see the meaning of it all.
Then there is family. My child, her husband, and two wonderful boys. A wife, who stands with me through it all. And my heart begins that old familiar song: "Life goes on."