Edgar Ramsey is almost 60, and he’s scared.
Growing old gracefully? I only wish that were true. I am 57 years old: it has been a very strange year for me. I am not quite sure what is going on; maybe male menopause—if such a thing even exists. Or maybe it is just fear of aging? I often feel extremely anxious and I am not sure what is causing it. I wonder how other men my age are handling the inevitability of getting older.
Sometimes I look in the mirror and wonder who the old guy is that stole my reflection. Surely that graying, balding geezer with wrinkles on his face isn’t me. And when I step on the scale, it always lies to me; I can’t possibly weigh 210 pounds! Whatever happened to 170 pounds and my thirty-one inch waist-line? Extinct, gone the way of the Dodo bird.
I know this is all somehow related to aging. Over the past decade, I have racked up more and more physical ailments starting with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis about ten years ago. My medicine cabinet is starting to look like a pharmacy. I have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and am a borderline diabetic. All these medical issues just reaffirm the realization that I am mortal; someday I will die. There is no way of getting around that one; no free pass or “Get Out of Jail Free” card for this big event—when times up, it’s up.
Honestly, this really scares me; the curtain coming down and the stage lights going out forever. When we are young our youth seems eternal; the end of our lives seems such a long, long time away that we seldom ever think about it. Now it gives me nightmares.
I try to eat healthy and stay in shape. I do Tai Chi and Kung Fu a couple of times a week but know I should do them at least twice as often as that. And what ever happened to the half hour brisk walks I used to do religiously every morning? Like many other good intentions, they got lost in my busy schedule. I drink half a pot of strong black coffee every morning and nobody is going to take that one last decadent pleasure away from me; I don’t care that it is bad for my arthritis and blood pressure, you have to draw the line in the sand somewhere—some things just can’t be sacrificed, for me, coffee is one of them.
I quit drinking alcohol a year and a half ago as it wasn’t helping my weight or blood sugar and I have never been a person who could drink moderately. I blame that on being a Canadian and living in Canada until I was 44; I think when I was an infant, they put beer instead of milk in my baby bottles. I haven’t smoked a cigarette in almost twenty-five years; one nasty habit I certainly don’t miss.
Something that I have come to realize is that it takes time to be healthy; it takes time to take care of your self. I had to stop listening to talk radio while I am driving to and from work. It was raising my blood pressure to the boiling point. Yes, I now finally get it; I understand road rage! Instead, I just plug in my iPod and listen to something like Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” really loud. I have always loved the Beatles, but it has been forty-eight frigging years since I first saw them on the Ed Sullivan Show. Where did all those years go? Half the band is dead and Paul McCartney looks like he seriously needs a face lift, while the Rolling Stones look like they all died already and are acting out some B-grade zombie movie.
The image that keeps coming to mind is that of an hourglass. There is much more sand piled on the bottom half than is left on top and the grains keep falling through the narrow stem at a constant pace. Actually, the little suckers seem to be shooting through there awfully fast. I wonder if when God made my life, He accidentally made the hole in the stem of my hourglass too big. This is the essence of my fear of aging.
Will I really be 60 in less than three years? It hardly seems possible. In my head, I still feel hardly any different than I did at 18. And didn’t I just turn 30 a few years ago? There are still so many things I want to do with my life. As a songwriter/composer, I have many more songs and scores to compose; as an author, many more books and articles to write. There are so many places to travel to that I haven’t been yet. So many more times that I want to make passionate love to my wife and then wake up beside her the next morning and just watch her sleep; enjoying everything about her, feeling content and blessed just knowing that she is a part of my life.
For some reason, physical or psychological or both, I started having sexual performance problems about a year ago and they steadily progressed to full ED. With the help of Cialis, I have my erections back but now suffer from retarded ejaculation. I am now taking testosterone replacement therapy as my levels were very low. Besides the sexual dysfunction issues, I have been having a lot of very wild sexual fantasies, but sometimes they have become obsessive almost OCD-like. My wife and I have discussed them openly and one or two of them we might eventually make a reality as she also finds these a turn-on, while others are just too far out there; it was rather embarrassing even admitting to her that I actually think such thoughts. Some days, I feel like I am losing my mind. Other days, I feel hornier than I did when I was a teenager.
I admit, I really love sex and always have ever since I had my first orgasm in puberty. And I worry a lot that one day the magical little ED pills will suddenly stop working and my sex life will be kaput, all washed up, over for good. This really scares me! Castration by aging. Like Lord Chatterley, I will have to find my younger wife another lover as she is likely to outlive me by at least a couple of decades; I am already looking for candidates. This doesn’t bother me at all as I believe in compersion; there is not a possessive or jealous bone in my body. Still, I would rather be the one doing the pleasuring of her instead of letting a younger man have all the fun.
So as hard as I try to grow old gracefully, I am not doing a very good job of it. Fear gets in the way, like I am looking for something to grab onto, some way to plug up the hourglass or at least partially block it so the sand drops slower. Or I wish I could just flip it over and start the clock from the beginning again, but unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. One day, the top section will finally be empty and my life will end. While I fear the finality of this, I look back on my life and wouldn’t change a single minute of it. I adore my five children and two grandchildren; I madly loved two wonderful women and had fun times with many others; I have some dear friends and think most people will remember me kindly; I leave the legacy of my music and writings—hopefully they will continue to entertain long after I am once again just a spirit in the wind.