WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU GET OLD
November 12, 2021
I have to see how my grandchildren turn out,
so I keep living
Meanwhile, here I am, 84 years old, active, living a purposeful life, yet acutely aware that the gradual, inexorable slowdown of my body is accelerating. I accept that I am old and that in this incarnation, I have more life behind me than ahead of me. I know this is not a popular sentiment as most people consider it bad taste to acknowledge that getting old is inevitable for all who don't die young. I've always preferred to see what is, rather than speculating on what if.
In fact, it seems to me that getting old is how the Great Intelligence is preparing me to leave this existence. By gradually diminishing my capacities, sometimes mental as well as physical, the Great Intelligence is thoroughly exhausting me to the point where occasionally I look forward to the relief of death. But then I remember I have to see how my grandchildren turn out, so I keep living.
Fortunately, I am in excellent health, but still I'm wearing $10,000 worth of hardware to support and enhance the deteriorating parts. I've had cataract surgery and I wear hearing aids, despite having once insisted that young people should speak up and enunciate more precisely. A few friends are distressed that I freely admit I don't hear well anymore. Adding hearing aids is a sure sign that I am "over the hill," a signal to be avoided at all costs! I'm not concerned because I KNOW I'm not "over the hill!" I simply want to know what's going on around me. That requires being able to see and hear as clearly as possible.
I tell younger people what it's like as I age so they'll have some idea what to expect because I certainly didn't! Nobody ever talked about it, but finally, I know why so many older women in my childhood church wore wigs. (Now, everybody does!) Throughout my life I heard plenty about "male-pattern baldness," but only recently has there been attention given to the fact that women can also lose their hair. The hair on my head, eyebrows, eyelashes and underarms is disappearing, some having migrated to my chin.
I welcome the help kind people offer to the elderly. The best gift of being old is what I've learned in these 84 years. Youth is not wasted on the young! That youthful energy was essential for me to experiment, take risks, fall, and rise to try something else. Those experiences brought me the wisdom and serenity I enjoy today. This more than compensates for the physical losses.