Well, this is it: in only a few hours, I’ll be 55 years old. Another trip around the sun completed……closer to 60 than 50, closer to 70 than 40, and WAY closer to death than birth. And in some settings and situations, I’ll be considered a senior citizen.
I’m actually OK with that, but I thought life was supposed to take longer than this.
What the hell happened to all those years between now and say, high-school graduation? I don’t feel 55, at least not my parents’ version of it. They were OLD at my age! I mean, I still listen to rock’n’roll and wear my hair long, and I wouldn’t be caught dead in pearls. I’ve got creaky joints that ache ferociously in cold weather, but I still like to play in the snow. I also like to fence with plastic swords, throw a Frisbee around, roast marshmallows over the barbecue and grow things in the dirt. So how does that reconcile with the gentle but inexorable process of allowing the mantle of age to settle upon my shoulders?
I know it’s happening. Every year some new infirmity seems to arise, even if it’s just another place where the arthritis has decided to go. I have bad eyes and knees that are even worse. I take four different meds to control my high blood pressure. I have diabetes and I know damn well my arteries are full of gunk. No big surprises there; I haven’t exactly taken great care of myself, and my family basically sucks at longevity—we live into our 50s and 60s, and the few who make it beyond 70 get dementia. Oh, goody. It’s bad enough that I have bipolar, but adding Alzheimer’s to it just seems like cruel and unusual punishment…..especially for my poor kids.
Still, I want to live as long as possible, and be as healthy as possible while I’m doing it. No nursing home for THIS chick! I know what goes on in even the good facilities, and I’ll be damned if I’ll allow myself to be placed in one. Actually, I think some Native American tribes had the right idea when it came to “dying with dignity”: when an elder got so sick and weary that life had become a burden to him, he simply went out into the wilderness and let nature take its course. Works for me.
But all of that is (hopefully) a long way off. I want to break the mold, like my aunt who just turned 92 and lives at home with one of my cousins. She’s still walking around and everything, although she does have some pretty significant memory loss. I just want my mind to be sharp if I make it that long. Hell, I want it to be sharp NOW. Haha!
So ends one era of life……and so begins another. I’m looking forward to it. Come join me. 🙂