Aging: The Incredible Lameness of Being Old
A Life after Sixty Series Post
From September to June, on most Tuesdays, I attend Jewelry workshops at the nearby college.
It’s mostly a bunch of old broads and a couple of token guys, almost all of us senior citizens.
The college gives the over 50 “Lifelong Learners” in the community a nice discount on continuing ed classes. I guess they think we need special incentives to get off our tired old butts and do stuff.
It works for me. It primes my creative juices and gets me out of the house and around people.
Because of our age group, at any given time, small talk between students might revolve around such exciting topics as:
Urinary tract infections
Gall Bladder surgery
What to do about chafing thighs–Is baby powder even safe?
I never thought I would get here.
I’m at that age. You know. The one you made fun of when your parents were that age.
The age where you talk about your aches and pains and medical issues with your peers.
UGH! How incredibly boring I hear the young-uns groan.
But wait, I disagree. It’s actually quite fascinating. Think of all the topics represented by the above mentioned maladies:
* Fluid dynamics
* Advanced laparoscopic surgical techniques
*The effects of gravitational forces on the human body
*Advanced medical therapies
*Tort law jurisprudence. (Is a baby powder claim in your future?)
Boring!? HUH! At least we’re not sitting around discussing how to reduce the echo effect in our bathrooms while phone filming our newest hair styling video for YouTube.
But to be honest, I have to admit that sometimes getting old does kind of wallow around in lameness.
Imagine actually stopping the remote on Larry Kings Prostate Report, even for a moment.
Or getting into bed every night wondering: Should I really try to go to sleep? I’ll be up again in fifteen minutes having to pee! Maybe I should just lie here repeatedly torturing myself over embarrassing high school moments again until it’s time to pee.
And you may think I’m being hyperbolic when I say this, but it’s true:
Aging. Changes. Everything.
From the brightness of your teeth to the un-moleyness of your skin to the luster and texture of your toe nails.
It’s unrelentingly lame. And kinda gross.
But as lame as aging is, its even lamer to give in to it and give up.
Because believe me, it would be easy to do some days, when everything from your teeth to your toes aches at some point in that twenty four hour span.
The temptation to just sit down and stay there is real.
Until you see an old man bent over double with arthritis being dragged around the park by a strapping young black lab.
Or a frail looking old lady clutching onto her walker for dear life as she negotiates her way down the sidewalk to the grocery store.
Or an elderly couple hiking in the hills with their walking sticks, their flexible knee braces and their day packs stuffed with CLIF bars and Advil.
These folks are my new heroes. They remind me that I am still relatively young and able bodied, and that my body still functions better than some peoples’ ever did.
They inspire me and remind me that the lamest thing about aging isn’t funky toe nails, or teeth that don’t sparkle, or moles and skin tags, it’s how our society views the elderly.
Instead of wise…strong in the face of adversity…resilient.
But we know. We know we have all taken a beating or two or three, and we still keep going. We know what we’ve learned along the way.
We really don’t need the world’s recognition.
But we wouldn’t mind a little of it’s respect.
And so, like Ma Joad , at the end of the movie The Grapes of Wrath, we know what we’re made of. The world may not see it, but we see it and we recognize it and respect it in one another.
It’s a beautiful thing.
Moles and all.
©2020 by Ilona Elliott