by Mickie Carpenter
We hurtle though childhood, zip though young adulthood, survive middle age and retirement, then WHAM! How did this happen? Old age! Yes, it sneaks up on us. There are the obvious signs, such as wrinkles and gray hair, but when did I stop springing out of bed each morning? When did I stop dashing up and down stairs? My springer has sprung and my dasher has dashed. My bounce is more of a thud.
Welcome to old age, I tell myself. At least the title of “senior citizen” sounds much better than being called “old lady.”
We’ve all heard about some of the problems we face as we get older. Arthritis, failing eyesight, hearing loss, and memory problems are a few, but I won’t dwell on that part of aging. One of the first signs of aging is when you discover that you’re now the oldest person at family gatherings. I have a different viewpoint now when I watch the younger family members in a hurry to get things done. My speed is set at a slower pace, but I’m not worried about it. If I ran to get there faster, I would probably forget where I was going.
My sons tell me, “Mom, you have to keep your brain active,” so I’m now a faithful watcher of Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? I’m learning facts I never studied when I went to school and discovering that some of the facts have changed since then, too. How many state names start with the letter A? We had Alabama, Arizona, and Arkansas. Today’s fifth graders add Alaska to that list.
I suspect some young people believe old brains aren’t as quick as theirs. They don’t realize our brains are stuffed with all those years of living they haven’t faced just yet. Memories take up a lot of space.
I’ve slowed down, but I don’t spend much time in a rocking chair like those people in old photos. Today’s grandparents are on the move. It’s okay to slow down as long as we don’t stop. We have plenty of activities to keep us moving. After all, it takes time to look for our misplaced cell phones, eyeglasses, and car keys. Several hours of exercise are gone before we know it.
Occasionally I’ll buy a lottery ticket on my birthday and if I win, I’ll opt for the lump sum payment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful to have lived as long as I have and I’m looking forward to enjoying many more years. But if there’s one lesson life has taught me over all these years it’s to be realistic.
Mickie Carpenter lives in California.