On the boat I had an extensive talk with one of the passengers about her smoking. Susie is a medical doctor in England in her mid twenties. She is a delightful, intelligent, and insightful woman. She has a fear of dementia and feels that dying from the effects of smoking is a better way to go then to live longer with dementia.
Hmm, I’d never thought about it from that perspective. I tried to understand what she gets out of smoking and I know that you current and former smokers can understand the way the nicotine relaxes you and relieves stress far better than I will ever be able to.
After that discussion I felt very self-conscious when anything related to being the oldest person on the boat (other than Dan and I, the oldest person, including the captain was 31) came up (slow/more cautious than others moving about, trouble getting in or out of the dingy, climbing into the boat, etc.). I know she wasn’t referring directly to getting older but her concern about losing the ability mentally but it did make me more aware of the impact of aging on my body. And I am sure that the reason that I usually only pick up the last word in a sentence of fast Spanish is because my mind is a bit slower to process what I hear.
I don’t like that I can see myself slowing down but I do accept it. I do what I can to minimize that by staying active. I’m glad we are traveling now because I can see that it would be harder in a few years. Even now, if I stand too long or walk too far without breaks that my right leg complains quite loudly. I have decided to use a wheelchair when available when we are in places with a lot of standing like a museum. I did that at the Botera Museum in Bogotá. Didn’t like being in the chair and it was hard on my hands so Dan pushed me but it did allow me to view the exhibits without bothering my leg.
Like they say, aging beats the alternative (dying) so I’m glad to have that option.