Doesn’t “golden years” seem like a stretch of the imagination? The “rusty years” might be more appropriate. Like the tin man in the Wizard of Oz, I feel like every joint in my body needs a lube job.
As I age, various parts of my body are taking a turn visiting the doctor. With each ache and pain, it feels like there’s a carnival barker in my head calling out, “Next? Who’s next? Step up Mr. Liver. Get in line, right knee. You have to wait your turn, Ms. Bladder.”
With every passing year, my body seems to morph into an alien being, a stranger. When did my skin become as dry as a desert and as wrinkled as a Shar-pei? My double chin hangs like a turkey’s wattle. My breasts are not only heading south for the winter, but for the summer, too.
Ever since the three year-old daughter of my pregnant niece asked me if I also had a baby in my tummy, I realized that could be the reason I can no longer see my feet.
My eyelids droop like I haven’t slept in a year. Though insomnia is an ongoing problem at night, I can sleep for hours in my recliner while pretending to watch TV.
I have been trying to grow old gracefully. If being graceful means moving slower, then I am a ballerina. But, there is nothing graceful about getting down on the floor and nothing worse than having to call in reinforcements when it is time to get me up.
Even the cabinets in my house look different than they were forty years ago. No longer do they contain tanning lotion and birth control pills. I now have moisturizer with Spf 50 sunscreen, antacids, hemorrhoid shrinkers, denture cream, laxatives, and enough prescriptions to open my own pharmacy.
Instead of chili dogs, pizza, hot wings, and beer of yore, my refrigerator contains egg substitute, skim milk, prunes, and anything else that is either mild, bland or easy to chew. The pantry has five different kinds of mush, each with its own low-fat, low sugar, low sodium, low cholesterol, fiber enhanced claims. My two old favorite cookbooks which called for lard or shortening exclusively, have been replaced with Staying Young with Tofu and The Anti-aging Cookbook.
My closet is crammed with clothes from the last three decades of the twentieth century that are too good to throw away. But, it’s frustrating the way they have shrunk from year to year. My underwear drawer has the practical cotton panties that last forever, and bras that I bought with a two-way stretch that are finally broken in and have a comfortable five-way stretch.
Sex life? My sex life is about as exciting as a hot flash on a summer day. It has been replaced with the exhilaration of yelling “Bingo” on Wednesday Nights at the Senior Center, the excitement of the mature discount on my automobile insurance policy, and a passion for the early bird specials at Denny’s.
The age appropriate books in my library are How to Live to be 100 and Chair Exercises for the Elderly. However, I don’t read much anymore since the print got so small and the lighting got so bad.
The majority of my mail is from companies reminding me of my declining health and that it is time to plan for my impending demise. Much of it is from hearing-aid companies, long-term care facilities, living trust attorneys, and mortuaries urging funeral planning. The mail has never been so depressing.
Speaking of memory–were we?–what ever happened to mine? All those so-called senior moments leave me feeling like a nomad. I wander around trying to remember where I put my keys, the T.V. remote, or my glasses. It seems strange that I can remember my first kiss or how many stitches they put in my head when I was six, but I can’t remember what I walked into a room to get or the name of the person I just met.
But, I’m not alone. There are many of us at the “metallic” age – silver in our hair, gold in our teeth, titanium in our hips, copper in our pockets, and lead in our pants.
In spite of the pitfalls of aging, I still celebrate each morning when I wake up. The golden years are the ones when you are still breathing. These are the golden years indeed!