is it age or is it cytokines?

okay, it’s winter and you have a cold/flu/whatever. you feel achey, tired, unmotivated. really, all that appeals are silly novels and massive amounts of telly. senior-woman-watching-tv-having-coffee-bed-35914959

you might just be able to manage a periodic steam inhalation to enable breathing for a while. the rest of the time is spent horizontal, either in bed or on the sofa, for a change of scene.

you’ve lost your appetite, and maybe an ounce or two around your waist. drinking herbal infusions, occasionally consuming a slice of toast with butter and jam, and blowing your nose seem to be the occupations of endless days and nights.

we’re told that as we age it takes longer to recover our strength, vitality and interest in life. but, is it age or is it a group of very wise cells called cytokines?


these cells send messages to our bodily systems and brain to cut down our energy expenditures when our immune system is challenged. therefore, no complicated or challenging reading, no learning, no energy put into digestion or thinking or moving around. essentially they tell us, in no uncertain terms, to withdraw and rest until we can function again.

it seems to me, these cells carry in them the wisdom of survival, no matter what our age. and, it seems to me, they have an important lesson to teach us as perennials. stop, rest, turn inward.

so, it may not be age after all that is responsible for this slow recuperation. it may also not be responsible for the normal memory lapses, adjustments to walking speed, the desire to contemplate, or the need to create meaning. these are all normal, human activities, regardless of our age.

and, these amazing cells, teach us those lessons in the most mundane of circumstances...a nasty cold virus!

in the process of recuperation, there is joy in emerging from the rule of cytokines. we can think clearly again, find motivation to continue the activities we love, renew social contacts and once again engage in the practices of eldering...meditation, life review, connection and walking the path of wisdom.