It's hard to imagine that it has been nearly 13 years since I met Darling Husband. At the time, I wasn't sure how long we would last. Neither of us was young, and DH is 12 years older. But it would be better to take the plunge and see how it would go than to just give up and stay alone. What a wise decision that was! We have crammed a whole lot of living and many adventures into the last 13 years.
Things do become more difficult with the years. The equipment wears out. We seem to spend more time with doctors than with friends. We've have had a rough few months. But at the moment we are packing up, getting ready for another trip to Switzerland. Ever the Pollyanna, I assume things will improve. But I do know that old age is not a reversible condition.
And then, of course, there are all the exhilarating experiences, like the one I had yesterday. I had a bone to pick with my bank, so I got on the phone. When I got to the third call, and having been put on eternal hold, complete with that really annoying, really loud music, I felt a little sorry for the person on the other end of the line. But not sorry enough to spare her one of the stellar performances of Sheila: the Old Lady from Hell. Oh, I was on a tear. She was getting paid, after all, to spend time talking to me, or more specifically, listening to my rant. By that time I had built up a good head of steam. That's a risk they take when they put me on interminable hold. I let her have it with both barrels, poor thing. But after that I felt much better. Maybe in a few decades she will understand how frustrating it can be to just be an old lady.
Yes, old lady. I dislike euphemisms. A golden-ager? Give me a break. I'm old. Ain't nothin' "golden" about it. And if I'm a senior citizen, why don't I get the perks? "Senior" denotes experience, and with it comes privilege — well, not so much. The fact is, yup, I'm an old lady. (And there are those who might argue with the "lady" part.)
It's easy to be depressed about our ailments and inabilities. To me, though, there is gratification in letting one's inner curmudgeon loose now and then. As usual, moderation is always important. Feeling depressed is a rather solitary activity.
So being righteously indignant for me is much more cathartic. I don't want to go down the slippery slope to self-pity. I know that not a lot of my contemporaries have been lucky enough to have adventures as I have had with DH. I really have nothing to complain about.
So far my memory still seems to work. There are pluses and minuses. Unfortunately, I remember the person who used to look back at me from the mirror. She has certainly changed over the years. When did she get so old-looking? I also remember radio jingles from the dark ages. How long has it been since I last heard the jingle for Ipana toothpaste? I remember the Truman administration. But, being old, I worry when I forget anything. I worry when I drop anything too. But I wouldn't trade my life thus far for a more secure, pain-free old age. I'm a tough old bird with very few regrets.
There is a quote I came upon recently, attributed to many and tweaked by more:
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well-preserved body. But rather skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly worn out and screaming, "Woo hoo! What a ride!"
Amen! It's possible that my children and doctors would not approve of that philosophy, but none of them are old yet. I'll bet that it resonates with some fellow codgers. Chins up, compatriots.
Sheila Stoll is happy to hear from readers but cannot respond to individual queries. Write her at PMB No. 309, 7904 E Chaparral Road, No. 110, Scottsdale, AZ 85250.