Getting Older by Barrie Von Smith, M.D.

Barrie Von Smith, M.D.

Barrie Von Smith, M.D.

This Post is different from my usual posts on this blog site because it is written by Barrie Von Smith, M.D.

Barrie was the Student Body President of Rancho Alamitos High School in 1961-62, the year I graduated from that high school. When our class celebrated its 50th reunion, I was overheard saying I wasn’t certain if I wanted to attend the 50th reunion because I wasn’t good at making small talk. Barrie suggested I help with an event at that reunion called Life Changing Moments. At this event, classmates shared stories of very meaningful life changing moments, definitely not small talk, and I loved being part of that event. Now our 55th reunion is approaching in September of 2017 and we are again offering an alternative to small talk called Sharing Life’s Latest. All classmates are invited to share an update on their life today and to contribute any suggestions they have on how they make life meaningful in the final fifteen percent of their lives. With permission, I will be publishing their suggestions on this blog and providing an electronic copy of everyones’ stories and suggestions to the members of the class. What follows is Barrie’s story:

Boise Idaho 2014

My eye doctor is giving me instructions following my second retinal detachment surgery: “You will have to limit your activities. No strenuous exercise, no competitive sports, and no running for the next year.”

“How about jogging an easy 6-mile/hour, a 20-mile bicycle ride, or an easy ¼-mile swim?” I ask. Certainly that would not be considered strenuous.

He emphatically shakes his head side to side. “You’re 70-years old. Do you really want to do those things? Take life easy.”

Of course I was not seriously thinking of following these instructions. But I was seriously thinking about not wanting to be blind for the next 20 years. I had always told myself that I would age gracefully. All my life I worked at being physically fit. My motto was ‘Use it or lose it’. My five senses; smell, sight, hearing, taste, and touch, I took for granted – not much I could improve on there. But lately even these seemed to betray me and I was feeling helpless to do anything about it. Continue reading