Everybody always says I write “beautifully” They say I paint lovely pictures with my words. I suppose this is a good thing. I do try to keep my mind in the positive; registering the sunny side of life. And, it is what I am so inclined to do. But, perhaps enough is simply enough! Or at least, a temporary detour is warranted. After all, I don’t want to become stale as a “Hallmark card”. No offense, Hallmark, but, perfect can just be too saccharin, sometimes, you know?
Therefore, at least, for this essay, I am going to be the opposite. I declare myself soured, withered, crotchety and ill-tempered. Heck, it might be kind of fun! Ahem…I mean, “Drat no! There ain’t no fun left! I’m just doing’ what’s necessary! So sue me!”
To start off with, I have a few dag-blame pent-up complaints to spout at ya! Okay, seeing’ as I’m a smudge past 60 now, I’m noticing a few ironic things are taking place. Here’s a list:
*I thought becoming elderly meant one could eat all the chocolate ice-cream they wanted! Heck no! Nobody warned me that I should have done so long before my sixties, because now, my body isn’t too keen on the creamy stuff, the sugary stuff and even the chocolate stuff! No fair! Just ain’t fair!
*NEXT: How come you start feeling a little happy about your weight because when you look down there is nothing sticking out anymore (ahem, I’m a woman by the way)…but slap, right across the head, you come to the GREAT epiphany its not weight that you are losing, it has only shifted-DOWNWARD…it’s just started to give in to gravity and begun to sag. Oh darn, the weight is still there, only its A LOT lower than it was. How mockingly cruel is that joke? I mean really?
*Next, and this harkens back to the digestive situation, since I am a sexagenarian, (and no I am not referring to being extra frisky under the covers),… I am instead referring to how I am pretty much disabled from enjoying a juicy cheeseburger and fries without consequence. Now that is just “gall darned” uncool! We live our lives fastidiously freaking out for joy over the next char-broiled, exactingly created, “condimented” to the max beefy masterpiece when suddenly at the ripe age of sixty or so, we encounter major counterattack. Whoa Nelly!, says our body…you can’t eat anything oozing red-meat juice or fried in a frier! Nothing can you eat fried anymore! That door is closed! SLLLAAAMMMM! Seriously? WHY??? I have devoted most of my life since the first Big Mac and then my father’s awesome barbecued burgers living from one blissful chowdown to another! And those french fries! You may no longer partake in even the ones from “In n Out” that are perfectly straight and the exact color of golden that you can see being sliced from the raw potato right there in the restaurant and minutes later end up in front of you begging to be devoured! Well what is life living for? I know I sound dramatic…fists on hips,…What of it?
*No there are just too many ironies and sudden surprises that stop you in your tracks once you have reached past the ripe age of “never again bliss”. I mean, you spend your twenties, thirties and forties proving to yourself how active and engaged in life you can be. You bike, hike, rock climb, body surf, roller-blade, jog, run, throw-down a few round-offs and cartwheels just to prove the kid in you is still there, and you do everything in your power to show you have a bit of athleticism in you. For me, it was dancing, gymnastics, basketball and I could play a mean game of dodge ball even up into my forties. Swimming was something I did every day, until I moved away from a swimming pool (huge mistake). Finally, I used to still pull off a very decent headstand up until about 50. So what the “heckaroo” has happened? Deteriorating body parts, that’s what happened!
*Now come on! You mean my feet who marched me, tapped me, sashayed me, strolled me, raced me, tiptoed me, stomped me, twirled and kicked me through life are so afflicted with arthritis that I can barely rely on them anymore? To think they spent six decades of standing me in various lines, on classroom concrete and tile floors, on asphalt streets, in metallic elevators, on buses with no room to sit, in shopping malls and awaiting my turn in post-offices, at concerts and in arenas with standing room only, at kitchen sinks and laundromat washing machines, and at grocery store cash registers. And now? I can hardly use the little buggers without becoming the world’s most vile, combative, grumpy grown-up to set foot upon the public side-walk. Now folks, I HAD bunion surgery, and it really didn’t do much to help! All it did was take away my opportunity to wear lovely high heels ever again…talk about injustice!
It is definitely not right in the vast scheme of things that when we need wine the most, in our supposed “Autumn” years, we are advised to no longer partake. When we reach retirement and we are for the first time in our adult lives in possession of a good amount of free time, we are unable to fully appreciate what we see because of encroaching cataracts or worse yet, glaucoma! How wrong it is that with the freedom to close our eyes, lean back and swing in our backyard hammock, that we won’t be able to hear the song of birds or see the shimmering leaves in the sunlight and breeze above.
I think the gods have played a dirty trick on us. We spent so much of life being responsible, by denying our own frivolity in the name of success and for the sake of others that now when we might be able to sample the pie, we just can’t…at least not without problems. The aches and the pains are being manifest day by day. It gets to the point where you just look in the mirror at your time-carved face, laugh out loud and throw your eyes up in disgust. You might catch yourself calling out, “Really? Now this? Are you kidding me?” I hate losing my once pristine looks: the shine in my hair, the color, too, the silk of my skin, and the firm shape of it as well, and even losing some of my height is rather a sinister twist for an already non-statuesque human being.
Worst of all is this awful threat of losing one’s marbles. Keeping the faculties, at all cost– now that’s important! Keeping the mind resilient, elastic and accurate. This is perhaps the most intensely ironic of all the things that happen with advancing age. Imagine, we get to a point where we perchance have learned a thing or two, and what begins to go to mush? The brain, the communicative tool that could really teach the “younguns” a few samples of wisdom.
Blast it all! How RUDE of the gods to do this to us!
NOW, wait! Maybe that IS the plan Deity has in mind. If all the wisdom was revealed, then there would be no point in living. There would be nothing for the next generation to learn. Life without learning is simply not life. Maybe everything starts to fall apart so you can stop the insane “horse race” to prove how young you are. Maybe these signs of change are meant to pull on the reins and put the “horse” back in the paddock. The horse (us), just needs to concentrate on swishing butterflies with its tail and chomping on the grass. Of course it’s a drag that we can’t jump hurdles anymore, or that our coats can’t be brushed to a glowing sheen. Maybe, there is a whole new palette of colors to appreciate in the muted, less blatant times. Maybe the slowing down of life is in order that we can ponder the one we HAVE had. Granted, the aches and pains hurt something awful. Having them, helps you recall how fine it was when you were ailment-free. Plus, it could be that the pain helps us agree to make our passage into the after life with our Maker. I don’t know– its all quite philosophical. Something to stew over.
I know I didn’t stay cantankerous as promised—yet I didn’t fall into too sweet and beautiful! I don’t like feeling old, especially when I have a good chance of living into my 90s. There are probably lots of 80 year olds who would be shaking their heads at my “getting elderly” comments. I know the scientists and doctors can measure the bone density, monitor our heart rate, prescribe pain killers or physical therapy, replace organs and lost hair, sometimes restore eyesight and hearing, give us canes and orthopedic shoes, remove moles, and regulate the hormonal gland, but there is only one thing they cannot do for us. They cannot tamper with our spirit of heart and soul. That is the one part of us that is not physical. It is intangible by the gods, fate and evil. It is our birthright link to our God. It will always BE. There is no youth when it comes to our spirit. It doesn’t need to breathe, or exercise, or be given vitamins. It is with us until and probably after we die. It just IS. What do we need to do about our spirit of heart and soul? We need to love it because it is our present from the Almighty. It is our LIFE. And, I believe, it knows no age. It is our silver lining, behind the cloud of doom. And guess what? The shine always shows itself to the delight of ourselves and others.
Okay, now, let me think,…where did I put those sunglasses? And dag nabbit, where did I last put my ear trumpet?