Wait a minute. If time heals all wounds, how come my skin is less resilient – not more - and I tire sooner? How come doctors ask me during check-ups things that would be considered too much information to post?
And, if it’s a well-known fact that age spares no one, why do I always find the evidence completely unexpected? Who do I think I am, believing it will not happen to me?
Never mind me. Is nothing sacred anymore? Even my larger than life, superhero parents seem to show (minor, barely visible) symptoms of this disrespectful condition. (Which, of course, you’d only notice under extremely harsh, bright lighting.)
Wait another minute. Isn’t old age supposed to be The Golden Years? The promising Future? Potential incarnate? Isn’t it the time when you don’t have to work anymore and can kick back and do whatever you want?
And what about the sense of peace that comes with it, the dignity of looking back at what you have sowed? Isn’t it all about the reaping?
And if I feel exactly like I did twenty years ago – until someone calls me ma’am – where the heck is my dose of wisdom, the one I’m entitled to after living to what people call (yuck) middle age?
Alas, Elizabeth, whatever happened to “Grow old with me, the best is yet to be”?
There is a massive public relations conspiracy about the joys of getting older. I don’t buy it. Getting old sucks.
My grandmother in law is 97. And, let me tell you, she’s had it. It’s not that she’s sad – it’s just that she’s done. The man she loved died almost twenty years ago and since that day she’s just waiting to join him. She is a strong, healthy, no-nonsense, super organized lady, lives alone, and hates it when anyone fusses over her. She saves everything – even wrappers, as she’s lived through two World Wars. She is a woman of few words and yet you always know where she stands on everything from water (never drinks it – just red wine) to her youngest grandson (worships the ground he walks on and is sure one day he will sprout wings.)
Luca (the aforementioned grandson) and I often talk about her fate. How when you get to that age you’ve lost everything. By way of example, everyone you know has died – your family, your friends, your friend’s children. It’s no way to live.
Yesterday, Luca and I were at the theater. During intermission, an elderly couple was slowly making their way up the stairs. They were leaning on each other, and she was wincing with every step. Luca got up and asked if he could help. The man turned to him and smiled. “No” he said. “But, do me a favor. Don’t ever get old”.
Living to a hundred is not all it’s cracked up to be. Oscar Wilde was right. The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is young.