Grumpy old men

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In the words of Neil Young, “Old man, take a look at yourself.” Well, we took a look and, boy howdy, are we getting old.

I was going to write about something else today, but after reading David DeCristoforo’s blog on how he’s slowing down as he gets older, I just had to continue the topic here. Aging affects everyone, of course, but there’s a whole boatload of us Baby-Boomer woodworkers who are entering the Geritol-lined halls of Senior Citizenry at about the same time. Wait, is that an age-related joke? Does Geritol still exist?

Like David, I, too, have to take my time when working. More breaks and getting off my feet for a few minutes every once in a while is mandatory, not a luxury. (Although it certainly is that, too.) In addition, setting things up takes longer to be sure I’m doing it right. I find I always check my balance before making reaching cuts on the table saw, make certain of my grip on tools as I use them, and wouldn’t think of lifting anything without being sure I’m doing it properly. Don’t even get me started on doing things simply to prevent to errors, like measuring 12 times before cutting once.

These days I write things down more, impose periodic breaks more, protect my soft flesh more, avoid risk more, and allow more time for everything. Wearing sensible shoes? I should probably do that more, too.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not in a wheelchair yet; heck, I’m not even old enough for Medicare. My wife and I are avid hikers, I still take part in strenuous Civil War reenacting, and I still stay up late watching bad science fiction movies. But it’s imperative that I make accommodations for my advancing age as I work.

So here’s the thing: A lot of you are in the same Baby-Boomer boat that David and I are in. How are you adjusting in the woodshop as you get older?

A.J.

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