My dad once bought a jar of pickles, got it home, was unable to open it, got back in his car, drove to the market, marched up to the customer service desk, and demanded jar-opening services! I laughed hysterically when he told me this story. Now I see it differently. With aging I had expected my vision, hearing, and memory to diminish, but who knew that manual dexterity would also decline? At the ripe old age of sixty-seven, I can’t take the foil liner off Advil bottles or Natural Bliss coffee creamers. Likewise, that little bag of trail mix from the airport kiosk is impossible to open. Since I can have no sharp objects in my possession at the airport, it will remain uneaten unless a young person – who still possesses bag-opening skills – is nearby.
Speaking of getting assistance for age-related issues from others, on my handyman to-do list I recently had a rebate form that was too small to read. Paul the handyman was amazing! Instead of reading it to me, as I expected, he told me to take a photo of it with my smartphone and then to enlarge the photo to read the form with ease! If I remember (big if), I’ll have to ask him for tips on hearing and memory.
Of course, it is possible to moan and complain ad infinitum about these issues, but instead, let me tell you all the wonderful things about having reached this age.
I’m still alive!
I’m much smarter than I was before. No, of course, my IQ has not changed, but I have so many life experiences to draw upon that the crux of many of today’s problems were figured out years ago. Most importantly, I know the one question that helps diffuse half my problems. I ask myself, “Is this happening to a thing (my home, my car, my vacation plans) or is it happening to a person?” If it is happening to a thing, I can step back from it emotionally. My pocketbook may take a bruising, but not my psyche. “It could be worse,” is a wonderful salve to many situations.
I like myself more than ever! I spent years comparing myself to other people. In this scenario, I could see all their strengths and none of their weaknesses while seeing just the reverse in myself. From the vantage point of age sixty-seven, I see that I have an entire lifetime of accomplishments to my name. I have no choice but to recognize that I have strengths too!
I have no need to waste time on people I don’t like. I can spot a drama queen a mile away. The same is true for those people who like to stir the pot. A younger me might have wanted to help make them happier campers. Now, I just steer clear of them.
I have learned how to push the pause button on a busy life. I watch grandkids on Mondays and cook dinner for the entire family on Thursdays. Those are sacred family times. Laundry, cleaning, and business concerns are for another day. On family days being present and loving the kids is all that’s on the agenda. I’m sure my kids were as beautiful and brilliant as are my grandkids, but who had time to notice? At sixty-seven, I have time to notice!
“Free” Money is Exciting! A couple years ago some small retirement account I owned started to pay me $86.00 per month. Friends scoffed at this small amount, but that’s the cost of a lunch out with a few of the kids and so I was thrilled. Next, Medicare came into my life. Having been self-employed as a writer, I was also self-insured for health care. Insurance-for-one vs Medicare? The savings are significant! And then I reached full retirement age and started to collect Social Security benefits. Trust me, it is very cool to see this money magically appear in my checking account monthly!
Beyond social security, I am secure socially as well. I have spent a lifetime loving my family members and friends. Thus, I find myself busy and in warm relationships with my kids and grandkids; with relatives nationwide; and with lots of friends. I realize that a significant other is missing from the mix. After a long marriage and two ten-year relationships, I have been on my own for the last five years. I do miss having someone to tell my problems to and there are some things I can’t even talk about in a journal. But, do I want to compromise on the room temperature in my house? Do I want to debate the where’s and when’s of dinner? Do I want someone’s opinion on new lamps? Or do I just want to do what I want to do? So far, I am fine on my own, even if a partner could potentially open pickle jars.
The very best thing about reaching this age is that I am a pro at putting a positive spin on life. I was once in a romantic relationship where everything I did made the man crazy and everything he said made me nuts. A friend quipped that if we could just hang on until we were old, the man would no longer be able to see what I was doing and I’d no longer be able to hear what he had to say about it. Therefore, we could live happily ever after. Clearly, there is something to be said for viewing others with “softer” eyes and ears. This helps assuage the pain of poor vision and hearing. As for my declining memory? NOT being able to remember every slight will likewise enhance relationships.
What can I say? With all these perks in place, I find it great to be in my sixties!
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