On July 4, 2014, I began my 70th year of life. It is December now. What have I been doing with my time? That is a more difficult question than it seems.
I can’t tell you what I had for breakfast yesterday, where my car keys are, or what it is I am suppose to do this Wednesday. Some, mostly the very young, will find this forgetfulness an oddity, as I can remember the words to Pinky Lee’s theme song and what I named kittens born in 1956. I do notice people in their forties having the same problem. While their forgetfulness is caused by busy lives involving work, children and relationships, mine can definitely be traced to an old brain.
No serious deterioration yet and hopefully there never will be. I look at it in the same way my hearing was explained after an auditory test. The results showed that I was not getting hard of hearing, but rather that what was said to me was not getting processed by my brain as quickly as in younger years.
Great help. I still say “Huh?” which produces the same effect, people speak louder and pro-nounce as dis-tiNCt-ly as possible.
Next my eyes jump on the bandwagon by developing two conditions caused by aging. After 54 years of wearing contact lenses, these are replaced by progressive glasses. I loved my contact lens and I really would like to whine about having to wear glasses. I am constantly pushing them back on my nose, trying not to fixate on the bridge portion of the frame which is always in my sight. They seem to need a lot of cleaning, or is that just floaters I am seeing?
Joint aches and pains must be the most common, constant and controlling issue of an aging body. At least I am not alone. A gathering of friends entails grunts and groans as we sit or stand. Time is devoted to talking about ailments, but we still follow our rule: No discussion of bowel movements. That is to be saved for the nursing home.
Most phases of life–childhood, marriage, career, parenting, empty nest, retirement–had beginnings and ends. Few of us can even pinpoint when our aging process started, although the need for reading glasses after the age of 40 is a tell. After that it is a toss of the coin, God’s choice, or how much yoga you practice as to what hits you before that last breath.
Knowing that state of the mind is important, I accept aging as a matter of fact most days. Then someone’s innocent remark about it being 50 years since our high school graduation sends me flying to the mirror. As I study my face with its wrinkles and neck sags, I am in disbelief. I look old or older than I imagine myself to be. The way I look is not about vanity as much as what others see when they look at me. I want to cry out and say I am the same as always, don’t look at me differently.
My thoughts are on the future, sex, and fashion along with everything else that has been on my mind throughout the years. Would that surprise young people? I sure couldn’t imagine my grandmother thinking of anything beyond cooking and her television shows when I was a teen.
I use to think life would get easier with age; that it would be quieter and less complicated. Instead each day still has the ability to surprise, challenge and change me. If I am smart I will be open and feel and experience what every day brings. Watch out world! Carpe diem, indeed.