It’s that time of year again! The Age Meter turned over another annual notch on Monday. I am officially older than anything or anyone that is less than sixty-two years old.
Why do you keep doing that? You were fifty-nine when you reclaimed me.
Yeah, and you were sixty when I showed up.
Lily, 9, what can I say except that age is a “thing”? I can appreciate the concept is difficult to comprehend when you are forever fourteen or nine. Turns out, you two are not alone in this.
Readers, let’s take a quick poll. Who out there feels they are really and truly their chronological age- -or older? Show of hands, please. Yeah, that’s what I thought, a goose egg.
When I was in my late teens, a person or two commented that my personality was more like that of a forty-year-old. I didn’t argue because they were right. I was studious, serious, and goal-oriented, and had difficulty relating to people who weren’t. I’m still like that, and I still often feel like I’m forty on the inside.
Outside, different story. On my actual “day” I did celebrate and goof off a bit- -after a half-hour of core yoga. If you’re rolling your eyes and saying Yeah, right, please note that taking time off during working hours Monday through Friday is a huge break in discipline for me. My inner forty-year-old stopped the period of celebration promptly at midnight.
The rest of the week I’ve been working on two separate novels and spending a few hours with medical folk, catching up with the realities of- -age. A rehearsal accident from long ago, a stunt gone wrong when I jumped on another actor’s back as directed but he lost his balance and. . .well, every so often a session with a cranial sacral specialist is in order. For the first time in a six weeks (of denial that my alignment problem wouldn’t fix itself) a genius practitioner, recommended by my doctor, eased my atlas back into place. My neck, which was feeling like an extreme senior, is now back to feeling forty-something.
That was Tuesday. On Wednesday I visited an optometrist for the first time in six or seven or eight years. You can feel younger on the inside all you want; on the outside, the “plus” number on the readers does nothing but go up. In my case, triple-fold from what I’ve been using to read print. At first I rejected the diagnosis, knowing in my heart that all forty-year-olds use both their drug store magnifiers and a magnifying glass to read the small print on packaging. Right?
When I met my cousin Carla later that day for a belated birthday lunch (thanks, Carla!) she told a similar tale, with the happy ending that cataract surgery had fixed her right up. The optometrist had, in fact, mentioned a small cataract in my right eye, information I’d selectively ignored.
I haven’t plunked down the dough yet for the +3.25 to +3.50 readers the doctor recommended, but I did salvage a pair of Bruce’s +2.5s from a vanity drawer, the ones I use to see well enough to tweeze my eyebrows. I must admit Optometrist Doc, who is young but has the decency to wear glasses himself, is on to something. With +2.5s the type in a paperback I’m reading looks larger, darker, and clearer. I’ve repressed the urge to jump up and down shouting “I can see! I can see!” so as not to alarm the cats.
In case you were wondering, we’re not going to let you off the hook. We know age is a “thing” but you don’t have to let it define you.
Yeah! You really, really need to ditch that forty-year-old and do more stuff with us.
I might make it back to being eighteen this evening, 9, Zooming with college friends for a session of Tarot readings and cocktails. Tap class lifts the decades off, too, my time to try, and fail, and sometimes succeed, smiling throughout because it all feels good.
Age. Even mountains change over time, but for the most part they endure. I may need to pause and adjust more often than in years past but, on the inside, I honestly feel the best is yet to come.
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I can relate to this so much, Susan! I was 40 when I found out I needed glasses! But I put it off knowing my vision was going to get worse in a couple of years! Moving forward to 42, I had them checked again, because by then I was getting a bit frustrated not being able to see as well! Finally broke down and bought my first prescription glasses. It turned out I needed progressive lenses since both my near and far vision were failing me. When I walked out of that office with my brand new glasses, the world looked brighter and so much clearer to me! So, here I am at 65 and have had a few changes to my lens in the past several years! At my last visit to the Doctor, he indicated the beginning of cateracts, but said it was too early to have surgery, wait until it gets worst! Oh boy, something to look forward!
It’s true, Karen, that cataract surgery is something to look forward to. Pretty remarkable what our bodies can do with the proper interventions. You and I both use our eyes a lot, so it’s nice to have solutions when they fade a bit. Thank you for using some of your eye power to read the blog, I appreciate it!
From almost 16 years ahead of you, 62 seems very young to me. I can verify that cataract surgery gave me a miracle of distance vision and depth perception. Belated Happy Birthday!
Thank you for your good wishes, Linnea! It’s funny, looking forward to needing cataract surgery “enough” to be eligible for it, but I do. Bruce had a dramatic improvement in his vision when he had this done while still in his 50s (his was quite severe by that time). Like the rest of life, so much of it has to do with going through an external process. Onward! and thanks for reading the blog.
I have had the sense for a very long time that the prime of my life was age 10. And, that 10 year old is frequently so front and center that I can barely relate to my actual age (I’ll be 59 in 2022). AND, I can testify that I am right there with all of those age-related phenomena–I already purchased frames for the prescription lenses I know I’m headed for…soon. It’s crazy! I try to remind myself that, in some ways, we do what Merlin did, and age backward, in the sense that some of the stages of older age are remarkably similar to stages of young age, when we never batted an eye about being less independent, or less–ahem–sexual, etc. I’ve come to the conclusion that life is cumulative, and that we keep every age we’ve ever been–I’ll always be an infant, a toddler, a teen, an adult, an elder. The trick seems to be to allow for them, let them be present, so that I can retain some of the gifts that go with each age. Here’s to the Elders, hopefully sliding into home plate with joy!
Such wonderful observations, Erin, as always. Thank you for reminding me about Merlin’s method to age backward. I really do try to keep younger selves present, they are, so far, the best in excavating joy in life! Glad you are on this ride, too. Your wisdom is always appreciated.
Funny how my inner minds argue about this very subject. My seventy-eight year old voice sniffles, “You’re no longer that fourteen year old. You can’t let those immature thoughts out in the open anymore.”
My fourteen year old voice screams back, “I can, I can, I can.” I then slouch off feeling the glare of my seventy-eight year old on my fourteen year old’s back. But damn, life is good being this way.
Hi Ug! (Both the 78 year old and the 14 year old) How well I understand the experience you describe. My life became much more interesting when I reclaimed Lily and 9, they keep me open to new experiences (most of the time). Best wishes to the two of You, and to your lovely wife.