>In order to keep my supply of asthma drugs current, I visited my allergist this morning. After sticking various lighted instruments in my ears and nose, he gave me a test for my lungs, which I nicknamed "Old Betsy" as I typed this. I took a deep breath, then blew into some plastic pipe-thingy. As I panted into the machine, Old Betsy's air capacity was measured.
"Looks very nice," the doctor said as he looked at the graph of results.
"Um," I said and pointed to a line under the graph. "Does this mean what I think it does?"
"Yes, the age of your lungs is 39," he replied nonchalantly.
"Yeah, but I'm only 32!"
He shrugged. "Don't be so glum. It's not a big deal."
If it's true that you are only as old as you feel, than I am about 77, in which case, my lungs are significantly younger than the rest of me. But if it's true that you are only as old as you act, my lungs are years ahead of my kindergarten mentality. (I was fascinated and enormously pleased by the glow-in-the-dark hands of my watch as I reached out in the dim lobby of my building to unlock the door to my apartment.) From a chronological perspective, I'm concerned that my lungs are seven years ahead of the rest of me, although god knows how "old" some of my other semi-functional organs are. I sort of need them. Maybe I can age up the rest of my body by obsessively worrying about my elder lungs.
And now that I know that my lungs are entering middle age next year, I bet that I will be psyched out when engaging in cardio activities. Like, "Oh, I better slow down running or else my old lungs might fall out since they can't keep up with my youthful legs." Yes, it's ridiculous, but I can't help it. I so wish I didn't notice that little line. Bah.