Last week I was informed by my doctor that I had reached that certain age when parts of my body are beginning to shrink! I have to admit, my first thoughts went to trimmer thighs, smaller hips, and a flatter belly. I had visions of being able to wear clothing without feeling the need to hide the big three mentioned above. But, alas, it was not to be. You see, when you reach that certain age the shrinking things are not the things we’d like. They are the things some of us need.
- Height – This is an important one for vertically challenged people. Some of us can’t afford to lose our vertical inches, horizontal wouldn’t be so bad, but not vertical. Even a small loss can mean the difference between reaching the clothes in the bottom of the washing machine ourselves or having to fish out our underwear with a set of tongs and a step stool.
- Heart – Unlike the Grinch’s heart that grew 3 times bigger while listening to the Who’s Down in Whoville sing their Christmas diddy, ours are shrinking by an average of 0.3g per year starting in middle age. How to stop it? Well, walking and climbing stairs was on the list, but so was vigorous housework. I’m still not sure what this means, maybe it’s the literal translation of “running the vacuum”?
- Brain – This one is almost a no-brainer! By the time we’re teenagers our brains weigh in at 3lbs. We don’t use them much, but they’re pretty hefty. Starting around the age of 20 and for the remainder of our lives, parts of our brains begin to shrink by about 15%. So, by the time we reach that certain age our brains can weigh in at 2.5lbs. On the upside, we’ve lost half a pound and every little bit does count!
- Taste Buds – By age 60, most of us have lost half of our taste buds! You would think this would help us to lose weight, but no. According to research, it’s the reason we gain weight. In order to compensate for their loss, we indulge the “buds” we have left, eating more of the tasty stuff like sugar and salt and fat.
- Colds – Actually, our ability to catch them shrinks. I think this is partly because we don’t move fast enough to catch anything. And, partly because we’re so old we’ve already had most of them. Been there, caught that, time to move on to bigger and better things, like senility.
The last thing on this list is my favorite! Sadness. Believe it or not, we are happier people as we age. Some people think this should be the opposite, but it makes sense to me. While lots of things are shrinking as we age, our experiences in life are not. We have them, we hold onto them. We learn from them. And, I think with all of those years of experience, we finally realize that most of what happens in this life is really not that big a deal!