Who Am I?

I’ve been searching for a solution to what I’ve somewhat facetiously termed “Old Man Funk.” The problem is that post-radiation treatments, either my sense of smell has changed or some odor-producing element of my body chemistry has changed, or both. I recall that my grandfather experienced something like this and my Dad may have too, although when they did or how they responded is a mystery to me.

I’ve responded by testing and isolating variables. I started a discussion on Backpacking Light forums too, hoping that others might chime in some suggestions or even commiserate with my experience. And sure enough, some people have. But there’s a catch to this group think that’s got me feeling high centered.

Most of the comments are suggestions that range in helpfulness, but occasionally I get a response that questions my identity. “You’re not old” or “All backpackers stink and that’s the way it should be” flavored stuff. It feels to me like commenting in opposition just to oppose something. Anything for a fight.

And I don’t want to fight. Anyone for any reason. I’m done arguing. I don’t want to have to persuade my son that his coat is warm and he should wear it. I don’t want to cajole the guy on the far side of the gas pump that he should wear his mask. And I’m not interested in convincing some stranger on a public forum that yes I — at half a century of life, surviving a brain tumor and neurological condition that prevents speech — sometimes feel like a funky old man.

Earlier this evening I was ready for sleep. Calm and physically tired I crawled into bed expecting that I’d drift off as soon as my head registered its horizontal orientation. It didn’t happen this way. I’ve been laying here, in the dark, for almost three hours sort of groggily bickering with myself. The worst part is that none of this matters and all of it’s relative.

Relative to some, my problems — age and funk in this case — are minor and inconsequential. As long as I’m alive I’ll only be getting older, and if history is any guide that means it will get harder and come with more stiffness. Probably I should expect some more changes in body chemistry.

And I don’t really give a fig that some dude wants to lay his AARP membership next to my aging Gen X ass to compare lengths, but I did need to write this down to reach a little equanimity. Break the thought loop with some writing.

I’ll try and drift off again, but before I do I’ll pray that karma teaches us *all* the empathy we deserve. My heart seeks a noble end, baring that some grace on the way down.

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