Scary World of Aging

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As I flap around in my post-retirement years, I’m not happy about getting older. But when I consider the deathly alternative, I tend to buckle up and dig in. 

Brave new world: Last year Hubsey and I sold our home and moved into our first condo. Why we’re still married after going through the grueling experience of downsizing hell, is something of a mystery. We had so much stuff – all his old junk and my priceless collectables.  Well, we lived to tell the tale and now enjoy the comforts of our beautiful condo – despite being surrounded by a gaggle of cotton heads, dictatorial condo boards and antiquated rules. After decades in the corporate jungle, I’ve seen enough office politics to strangle a condor. So I plan to ruffle some of those dusty old condo-condor feathers. Old farts in corporate boardrooms and old farts on condo boards are all the same to me. To be continued so stay tuned…   

Scary stuff! This mysterious aging process can be almost as frightening as buying a new bathing suit. And besides the whole emotional gridlock of downsizing – how do I handle my husband losing his driver’s license due to a stroke? How do I cope with chronic illness, old bones and the shocking reality of my white hair? And what do I do when I discover Blackbeard’s whiskers popping out on my chin – or other unsuspecting body parts? And do I accept or reject the irresistible lure and blissful come-hither comfort of wearing granny panties and orthopedic shoes?

Who you gonna call? All my life, I’ve had parents, teachers, mentors and the occasional lover to help guide me through life’s adventures. Not so much for me now – and “The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things…” But without the Walrus around, who can I talk (or rant) to about these important changes? I guess I’ll just make like a Walrus and do a lot of bellowing and loud snorting. After all, we aging mammals have a lot in common with the Walrus: we’re all long in the tusk, have wrinkled hides, grizzly whiskers and more than a few pounds of extra blubber.  

Arriving naked: Retiring after 35 years in the workforce, and then writing a series of children’s books, magazine articles and newspaper columns – I arrived at this senior point in my life feeling alarmingly naked and unprepared. No power suit, no business card, no strategic plan, and no GPS to guide me through the labyrinth of new experiences ahead. So I set out in my battle-worn birthday suit, carrying a lifetime of butt-kicking survival techniques and my bare-assed self-respect – to tackle a whole world of aging shocks and surprises. 

The good life: Okay, all rantz aside – I confess there is also much to be thankful for, as I scratch my way through this beloved post retired life stage. I admit to enjoying a Schadenfreude satisfaction in watching gridlock rush hour traffic on TV. I take a Zen-like pleasure in my early morning walks along the lake – despite the explosion of disgusting goose splatter on the path, but that’s another rant for another day. I love to join the hoots of laughter in my ‘women-of-a-certain-age’ aqua fit class – our matronly boobs bobbing in the water as we squeeze a knotted foam noodle between our legs. 

But my biggest joy of all is my granddaughter Farrell, who tells me I should get a real job – because writing is way too much fun!  Amen to that!         

 Pat Skene

 

8 responses »

  1. We’ve come a long way from tromping thro Asia! Did His Nibbs’ arms ever return to their normal length? Enjoyed your rant and look forward to updates.

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    • Hey Floozy – good to hear from you. Happily, Hubsey’s arms did return to their normal length, after carrying all that heavy luggage. His knuckles will never be the same though. Thanks for reading.

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  2. I understand that the elderly looking woman watching me clean my mirrored closet doors is actually my reflection, I just don’t understand how that 20 year span from 40 to 60 could have accelerated so quickly! Maybe I just need new doors?? No, I didn’t think so. Just as long as I don’t clean in my bathing suit I should get through it. Thanks for sharing, it’s good to have company on this journey.

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  3. Boy, or Gal, I’ve had a great time browsing around your site. The real indignity of chin whiskers, lip whiskers, and huh-huh whiskers is not so much their discovery but the shock to see that they are white! Since I should have died fifteen years ago and the gods of modern science saved me, I appreciate every day, so getting old is a privilege. It took the blood donation of sixteen people to save me, so I feel gratitude to them and to lots of other people too. The best is that no one particularly looks at me anymore, so I can run to the store with a hat pulled down, old sweats, and no makeup. Quickly done making me feel like I pulled a trick on someone. Also, I’m not so uptight about what others think of me anymore whereas a criticism earlier in life emotionally kneecapped me for days. One day I’m going to the Elysian Fields, but for now I’m going to enjoy the ride.

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    • Hey Linda, amen to all that. We well-seasoned gals have to stick together. And as wonderful as it was to live the “pantyhose and mascara years” – there is a sense of relief to be more comfortable in our skin…wrinkles and all. Thanks for dropping by. I’ll check out your blog.

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