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Sarah Stultz: Oh, the woes — and joys — of getting older

Nose for News by Sarah Stultz

As I write this, I have a pain that has been lingering in my upper back near my shoulder blade for two days.

I can pinpoint when the pain began Monday morning, and it has been there to varying degrees in the time since. I’m not sure if it’s a pulled or strained muscle, but it has been distracting me all day.

Two weeks ago, I had a pain in my neck and upper shoulder, almost like I had slept on it weirdly. It hurt to turn my head, but the pain only lasted for two or three days, too, and then the next thing I knew, it was gone.

I don’t usually live with chronic pain, so when I have these bouts like the ones I described, I can only think one thing: I’m getting older.

It’s funny that I think this as I’m approaching another birthday in a couple weeks, although the birthday itself is no particular milestone.

Aside from random aches and pains, I think about getting older when I work with or interview high schoolers or college students and they mention new technology that I have yet to learn about — or even hear of for that matter. Or they talk of singers I’ve never heard of or fashions that were popular back when I was growing up. Many of the styles I didn’t like the first time around, and I’m shocked to see them come around again.

After going down a rabbit hole digressing about fashion, sometimes I think of how prices have changed since I was in high school. For the longest time after I got my driver’s license in high school, I remember regular unleaded gas was only 89 cents a gallon. Now, we’re approaching $3 a gallon again, and it has fluctuated widely in recent years.

I also think of the events in history that I have lived through and the presidents who have been in office since I have been alive.

Though there have been some dark times I have witnessed nationally, there have also been others I have been proud to have lived through.

I think about the knowledge I have gained and the life experiences I have had in my almost 37 years of life and how even though I’m getting older, there is much I appreciate and much I learn simply by living.

So next time I have an ache or pain, I’m going to try to equate that with experience — and that through experience comes  growth.

“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” — Betty Friedan

“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be.” — Robert Browning

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Wednesday.

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