How did it happen? Unthinkable. Of all my birthdays, the one I struggled with the most was my eightieth. I perceived eighty as the beginning of the end, the period at the end of the sentence, a drop in status to the “old oldies.” Up to now I had avoided most of the negative pitfalls of aging.
Obviously, I needed to deal with some new mind sets. Officially, I was staring at a category called “the old, oldies.” No more kidding around. I admit getting up from the floor required more effort, and then there were those people offering me a seat. The first time someone offered me a seat, I was offended. Did I really look that old? I guess I did. Time for me to think for myself about myself.
Actually I was happy to be me at any age, but I didn’t want anyone else to know. I cherished my own image, not one of a stereotypical symbol of failing body parts and other nonsensical ideas. Letting go of preconceived ideas is hard work, and if I needed a leg up now and then, so what? I could be gracious and say, “Thank you.”
There is a scary mythological picture of the eighties, and I had bought into it, lock, stock, and barrel. The time of reckoning came and went. Nothing dramatic happened–I still remember where I live. No one needs to tell me that I won’t live forever. There will be wearing down of the parts. The natural progression of age goes on. Here is my solution: I don’t dwell on any of the unpleasant bruises of life, nor do I predict unsolvable problems. I am too old to buy the Brooklyn Bridge. CARPE DIEM.
I want to tell you about my friend Fran. We go back to our crazy college days. We’ve weathered a few storms. About three months ago, she took in her twenty-something granddaughter. The blow back was negative. “You’re too old, blah, blah, blah and so on and so forth.” As of this week they are both helping each other. Somehow they are solving each other’s problems. Who would think grandma would be bonding with her granddaughter at eighty-one. Plus, our weekly telephone talks are more lively.
Another thought for you. A group of BVM sisters, all over 90, are actively promoting lifelong learning. There they are in my Alumna Bulletin, sitting in comfort as they take on new dimensions. Wonderful. Three sisters were over a hundred. Nice to know they are not bored.
And speaking of Adult Education, I am all for it. Sometimes it takes a bit of doing to find your niche. Hang Tough. You don’t get to our age without guts.