Seamans: Ageful

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(Host) Bill Seamans covered the world as a correspondent for ABC News for many years. In this morning’s commentary, he reflects on the toll those years have taken,

(Seamans) Thinking back over the years I decided that it all started when kids of the various armies I was covering began giving me a boost up into the trucks that hauled us around.  I started hearing a very polite, "Let us help you up, sir," offered in uncounted foreign languages.  Then I recall a white-coated youth with an M.D. badge smilingly say, "Not to worry, sir, you’re in a transitory state of denial—aging really is becoming very stylish—all the best people are doing it.  You’ll get over it."

Then I started remembering some of the milestones passed so far along the road of life.  Firstly, my alma maters, Brown and Columbia, slowly began tapping my alumnus status with a special vigor and an overt new interest in, shall I say,  my terminal  financial plans. This grows as my alumni magazine notes regarding members of my classes of 1949 and ‘52 become fewer and fewer.

Meantime, I’ve  lost my reluctance to ask for the "senior discount" and as a resident of New Hampshire I have been mellowed even more with an honorary ancient angler lifetime fishing license so I can Fish Free or Die.

Now I have reached the arthritic-aching-back phase which has propelled me into new purposeful creative and defensive thinking.  Fellow backache sufferers know that bending, twisting and reaching now remind us of how much of our mobility has waned away.  So while fending off for now that college pressure to establish an alumnus financial legacy, I have put my attention on a more affordable back pain survival list.

Foremost, I have adopted slip-on or pull-on footwear whenever possible toavoid that long stiff painful bend down to tie those shoelaces. Pullover sweaters have given way to zippered cardigans. Our new millennial generation finds it hard to believe that just pulling on a regular sweater can sometimes be a physical challenge. Just wait!  I have avoided suspenders or "braces," as they are known somewhere, because I found them to be very inconvenient at some very inconvenient times, if you know what I mean.

And then there is that wonderful claw on a stick that I first saw as a kid watching the grocer use it to reach cans stacked high on his shelves. The claws now come in a modern version available at those stores that sell everything. I have several around the house to avoid bending over to reach almost anything on the floor—especially those pull-on shoes. And the stuff that forever flutters off my chaotic desk is easily retrievable with my claw—no more arthritic crawling under my desk.

So I keep adding to my creative/survivalist back pain list as I go along. It’s really worth the effort.

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