As of this month, I am now embarking on my 61st trip around the sun. If I were an astronaut I would find this to be quite an achievement. But I am not. I am simply here on our blue planet with the rest of you, doing my best to stay on this side of the dirt. I was thinking the other day about some of the advantages and disadvantages to aging. This is what I have come up with to date:
I can no longer dance like nobody is watching. As a matter of fact, if I do bust out some moves…people definitely watch…in disbelief and horror.
I can, on a daily basis, revisit my entire life through the physical expression of old injuries from over 50 years ago.
I can no longer drive my car for over three hours without a pit stop. I don’t know if I could make it half that time. As a matter of fact, I basically am at a point in life where upon passing a bathroom or public washroom I think to myself, “Oh, what the heck. I am here anyway; I might as well stop.”
I now find myself relying upon power tools more frequently than ever before. Unless absolutely necessary, I cannot make myself shovel snow. I have a leaf blower for the light stuff and a snow blower for the heavy stuff. And if I do find myself having to shovel, I am sure to make an appointment with a massage therapist and chiropractor as a follow up. This gets costly once the health benefits dry up halfway through the season.
Picking up a toddler is now a no go.
I am now planning ahead for how large a dog I intend to have in my senior years for the same reason that I am not bringing children into this world. I don’t want anything I will not be able to pick up.
Where I used to think nothing of it when it came to climbing a ladder, I now insist that whatever I need that ladder for can just wait until there is someone around to call 911 should I fall.
Gardening, which is one of my favorite activities, is having to become simpler and less maintenance. I now have a portable stool to sit on when weeding so that I am not kneeling while weeding. I have a small bucket for weeds to go into before I carry them to the green bin for composting. That way I am not in any one position for too long a stretch.
I sleep deeper on average, but this also means that I do not roll over as often as I should, so I end up with nocturnal body pain.
Headphones for watching TV…because it is easier to hear and because I don’t have to keep the entire household up at night with the volume. And, by the way, THANK YOU, Rod for giving these to me for my birthday.
Stairs…having fallen ass over tea kettle a number of times, I find myself being extremely careful on stairs. This means that I am no longer able to run up or down them at the speed of light. Sigh…HEAVY sigh. As a matter of fact, if I am confronted with a set of stairs that does not also have a banister…I seriously consider whether or not it is worth the risk. “So…this is how it’s gonna end…” is the thought that goes through my head.
Coffee…it used to be a luxury. Now it serves to keep me out of jail and to brighten my razor-sharp wit and sarcasm.
Alcohol. Ah…the wonderful memories of fun and frivolity. Now I know that I will simply regret this in the morning, so…NO.
The floor. It used to be just another surface upon which to sit, stand, or lay down. Now I know that if I do get down on the floor it might be a while before I am able to get back up. So the reason for getting down there had better be worth the time…after all, I might need to use a bathroom!
Bedtime. It comes a lot earlier these days. I used to be able to party all night long and work all the next day. Those days are gone. GONE.
Wisdom. I know it does not come with age because some 3-year-olds are more wise than some 93-year-olds. However, with age comes the experience and statistical history to back up that wisdom.
Discernment. I can now spot an asshole a mile away, where I used to have to get close enough to smell them. Pun intended! You are welcome!
Freedom. I no longer worry myself about folks who think using terms such as “asshole” is offensive. If the shoe fits, then wear it, Cinderella. And if it is just that disdainful to your fragile sensibilities, then know that I have no time for said sensibilities.
Finances. I know not everyone in the world has financial security. I have been around long enough to build that up for myself. So as long as I don’t live to the ripe old age of 102, I should be alright for my retirement. And no, I am not planning on retiring anytime soon.
Vision. I have had a vision of what I would like to do for my life’s work and have been able to make that a reality. I therefore love my work and do not have to go for years hating my job until I can retire. The ability to be open to visions also allots me the gift in foresight. This way I am able to predict bumps along the way and have a previously contemplated solution for each bump. What this does is allow me to have a life by my own design.
Connection to the dead. I have always been connected to the ancestors and what those ancestral spirits offer me in terms of gifts, love, support and guidance. Now I am much closer to them than in my life previously, much like a newborn is, only on the other side of the mountain. I now think about how I want my body to be cared for after the moment of death, and how to avoid the horrible expense of a funeral home. Death also does not frighten me. I am expecting it, which means I have nothing to lose in negotiations. But because death no longer frightens me I am rarely upset by the passing of anyone. Death is inevitable. I have never been one to mourn the death of a celebrity. I do know a few, but for the most part I do not know any of them. So when one dies, I am not thrown for a loop and lost in grief. I have no right to do that anyway because I DID NOT KNOW THEM. This also means that when I do know someone who dies, I do experience the grief, but for shorter periods of time than most because I am not afraid of death or of what that means. As my father aged, he would listen every day to the local radio station. They had a program called “Chapel Time” in which they would announce the deaths and funeral dates and times of local people. He said he listened to it just in case his name came up. I used to laugh at that. But as I am now over the hill and on my way down the other side of it, I get it. There comes a time when, say, in a care home the occupants no longer bother to make friends with their fellow “inmates” because by next week, after they have gotten a bit attached, the person dies. I am already beginning to feel this way in life. Although I am a bit of a social butterfly, I no longer invest a lot in new friendships. They are alright for however long they last, but if I am going to be crossing over to the other side of the Veil, then why would I want someone to experience extreme loss?
Rough around the edges. I can now officially be the curmudgeonly old fart that everyone is sort of afraid of. I have, for most of my life, spoken my mind…sometimes to my own detriment…but now I pull no punches. No, I am not yet at the point of shaking my fist at the sky and yelling at the planes that are leaving chem trails across the atmosphere. My father-in-law can take care of that. But once he is gone…
Food. I find myself eating less, which I should have started in my 20’s. I appreciate good cooking (again, THANK YOU, Rod!) and love the taste of food. I just don’t have the same appetite as I used to. The positive part of this is that it is an excellent weight loss program, much better than, say, getting deathly ill.
Independence. As a person who has always walked my own path, with the exception of a few marriages, I find that my senior years are better suited to my personal sense of independence. I do what I want, when I want, and how I want. I do not look for anyone’s approval about whatever I am doing. I do enjoy it when someone is thrilled with whatever it is, but that is not why I do what I do. I do it because I want to. Nothing more.
Life in Prison no longer holds the same power over me that it used to. Now all I think is, “Well, at least I get free room and board. Now, show me to my cell mate, Q-Ball. He and I should get to know each other.” This also means that I have no reason to hold back when it comes to standing up for what I know to be right. So watch out. *wink*
Things no longer interest me as much as people interest me. I want to know your life story. I want to know how you came to be who you came to be. But, at the same time, I won’t get overly attached. Just as I am now ridding myself of things in my life that no longer serve me, I am making space in my life for those people who connect with me and removing those who don’t. And I do not feel guilty at all about that. I also no longer have time for anyone who dicks around when it comes to making plans to get together. At my age, my time is precious. So if you want to spend time with me, then make sure you show up.
Bedtime. It comes a lot earlier these days. I get more rest now (making up for my earlier years) and so I don’t even look my age! This is GREAT!
I never thought that I would make it to this age. Some of the seniors discounts are starting to kick in, which is awesome. I will TAKE IT! Overall, my health is still good, and I am more content and happy in life now than I have ever been in previous decades. Truly, this is a time to have fun. It is a time to experience things that were before quite unattainable. I keep ticking along and I know that when the deep rest comes to me, I will have lived a diverse and amazing life.