Aging/Psychology/Mental Health

What You Should Know About Getting Old

We will all experience old age if we’re blessed to live that long, but it can be the best time in your life.

Loren A Olson MD
BeingWell
Published in
8 min readOct 3, 2020

--

Older Black couple smiling for camera at the beach.
Licensed to L. Olson/DepositPhoto.com/24650411

I once spoke to a group of older men in Houston about aging. When I finished, “Don” stood up, raised his hands in the air, and said, “I’m 82, and this is the best time in my life.”

I thought, What does he know that I need to figure out?

I then realized that what Don had said about aging was far more important than anything I had said about it. I began to search for some answers, and it changed my life.

We associate old age with loss.

When I turned sixty, my parents and older brother died within six months of each other. Some of my friends died too. It felt like the buffer that protected me from death had been removed. I was growing old, and all I could see was a period of decline.

My skin was losing its fight against gravity. I’d gained weight, and it was harder to lose it again. My doctor diagnosed me with sleep apnea after I had fallen asleep while driving. Each morning I had to slap my face several times to remove the dents that my C-Pap straps put in my face.

I had a knee and a shoulder replacement. After I urinated, the last few drops always ran down my pants leg leaving tell-tale evidence on my khaki pants.

I began to have challenges with erectile dysfunction, and I couldn’t always achieve orgasm. If I worried about the changes in my sexual function, it guaranteed my fears would be realized.

My career had plateaued in my mid-fifties.

I was losing my work, my relationships, and my body. Nothing felt safe.

Just say old.

It’s not difficult to recognize the stereotypes of aging. Every day, the advertising industry bombards us with things we must do and products we must buy to prevent this tragic outcome.

The media and marketers don’t show aging as a natural life process. They use fear-based ads to sell “anti-aging” products and services. They see aging as a force that we…

--

--

Loren A Olson MD
BeingWell

Gay father; Psychiatrist; Award-winning author FINALLY OUT. Chapter excerpt here: http://bit.ly/2EyhXTY Top writer on Medium. Not medical advice.