Hey, Gramps. What’s it like?
Many years ago I asked my grandfather when he was in his late 70s if he minded getting old. Only someone in their early 20s could ask such an innocent and also insensitive question.
“Well,” he said, taking his time to prepare an answer since he was rarely asked anything in our family, “Once you get used to hearing yourself creak, it’s alright.” Sometimes when I can’t get up from sitting cross-legged on the floor without pre-planning, I stop—was that a creak I heard?
Why Did I Come In Here and Other Mysteries
And then there’s the word game—now you know it, now you can’t think of it no matter what, then the next day, it arrives like a firefly flitting by in the early night sky. Just try to count on it sticking around though and you quickly go through the same dreary exercise—the flash and then it’s off to wherever fireflies, words, and names go.
My mother, at age 85, claimed that she was down to about 50 names. But then, most of the ones she couldn’t remember weren’t that big of a loss-the Nixon cabinet, former Senators now pimping for large corporations or dancing with the stars. She still knew me and all of the family members and was sharp, oh so sharp. I think she was simply deleting her trash files-but, it still bugged her.
The Obits. Great, I’m not in there today!
I’m not a regular obituary reader or follow the celebs in AARP magazine to check on birthdays. As for the obits—I find my eyes drifting to the birth year of the newly departed and have “a moment.” Ooh, so close to mine. Best get busy. And, full disclosure, I scan the dates now and then of famous or infamous people and notice that damn, some of the people I assumed were my age-aren’t. Oh, joy! Jane Fonda is older than I am! For the rest of us regular folks, we just keep aging like a good cheese and hope that whatever comes our way we will be able to manage.
For me, I’m still working hard and hoping even harder to be discovered at this late date as a worthy writer with a debut novel. I love the word “debut.” Makes me think of prom dresses and corsages!
I can still stay up in my Pilates class, can take long walks, and keep it together on most days. On the days I can’t, I read a book, try to find out what’s up with me by writing, or just sit quietly with whatever loss I feel and let it be.
My Feeling Is This: If you don’t spend some time with your own mortality, death is going to come as a big shock!
And there’s climate change and running out of clean water. I do what I can about recycling, drive a Honda Civic, don’t take long showers, and eat as local as possible. To be honest, when I read an article in the paper about our assured demise (at our own selfish hands) I stop, do the math, and if it’s when I’m over 100, I feel a strange relief. Then, I do the math again, think about whether my girls are likely to be alive, notice that helpless to keep them safe forever feeling that has been there since bringing them into this crazy world, and hope for the best.