Now, mind you, 29, is not exactly old, but when your knees start clicking, you become lactose intolerant, you experience painful muscle spasms due to bad posture for the first time, and your glasses break and you have to confront the poor natural state of your vision, it’s probably inevitable for one to consider this the oft-promised onset of the decline of one’s thirties.
It was only after mulling it over and wallowing in self pity for a few hours that I considered that whole premise to be bullshit. Why exactly does your youthful health and vitality and resilience shut off like a light switch when you hit thirty? Makes no fucking sense to me.
What most people think of as the singular process of ‘aging’, is actually the cumulative effect of several, at least a dozen, separate streams of degeneration that left unchecked result in your becoming physically ‘old’.
What really happens is not that at some arbitrary marker your body decides to swirl down the crapper. More like, at some actually quite predictable interval, the neglect or bad habits you haven’t addressed, have quite predictable effects.
If you continue the slouching and slumping that most of us do in front of tv and computers and in our lumbering awkward gait, you will invariably experience neck, back, and joint problems in an accelerating downward spiral. I’d say 95% of the massage clients I’ve seen so far have this and pretty much all of them dismiss it as ‘stress’. Except when they’re in permanent pain and can’t move anymore.
If you require glasses for reading and lazily wear them all the time, when you don’t have to, the muscles around your eyes that are supposed to control the shape of your corneas, will atrophy, and you will end up wandering through a landscape of blurry nonsense at any juncture when you happen to not have your security blanket.
If your diet consists of the usual over-processed, fiberless, nutrient denuded crap that most of us were weaned on, then as time goes on your digestive and metabolic health will decline, and the buildup of toxic byproducts will trigger all kinds of allergies, sensitivities, chronic illnesses and early death.
If you abuse your body in the characteristic ways of going about ‘exercise’ and don’t invest the time or money in some kind of regenerative or healing activity, like yoga, massage work, fasting, or meditation, the cumulative wear and tear of various trivial but never fully healed injuries will eventually cripple you.
None of this has anything whatsoever to do with actually being chronologically older. Except insofar as a thirty year old has ten more years of stupid habits to account for than a twenty year old, and ten years of momentum in the way of repairing them.
As time goes by, the backlog of stupidity does narrow your options somewhat and makes the window of health a little smaller to fit through. Everything in life is about balance. The thin edge of that balance point never changes, but the consequences of falling off it are proportional to how long you’ve been wandering, as is the difficulty of getting back on after you’ve fucked up.
Most people misunderstand karma. It has nothing to do with cosmic retribution. What you invest in is what you get.
Meditate on that for awhile.