ShareThis Page

Saturday essay: Middle-age 'downsizing'

| Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, 8:58 p.m.

One expects certain physical changes with middle age, however unsettling. But some surpass expectation or preparation.

“Five-feet eight?” the incredulous patient inquires about his height measurement taken recently at a doctor's office. “You mean 5-feet 10.”

“No,” the nurse replies. “Five-feet eight.”

What the hey!

Since the teenage growth “spurt” came up pitifully short — 6-feet-something was the intended goal — 5-feet 10 always has been the begrudgingly accepted measurement. For every driver's license renewed, every probing medical form filled out, the vertical standard always has been the same.

When a herniated disc landed the vertically challenged in a chiropractor's “stretching” machine, there was hope, albeit unrealistic, for an inch added to the frame. Instead, and quite possibly a result of that back condition, the desired gain apparently became a discernible loss.

It seems the only physical “gain” accompanying middle age has been in girth, adding further insult to ego's injury.

But as the doctor explained, “downsizing” is not uncommon as life's chronometer advances steadily toward 60. Indeed, the same thing happened to Pop, broad and towering in his prime but reduced considerably in stature when he reached his so-called “golden” years.

It's just not expected to happen to you.

Still, looking up rather than down, one finds other measures of fulfillment in life that matter considerably more.

— Bob Pellegrino

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.