The Amusing Aspects of Aging

| December 2, 2018 | 0 Comments

Barb Strona is pictured with members of her family who shared in her recent birthday celebration.

People complain about getting older. They hate the way they look, the way they feel, the way they are treated. These are just a few complaints. However, getting old should be fun!

Have you ever looked at a rose bud and watched its progression until the petals fall off? Our skin is very similar to a rose petals. Young skin and petals are smooth. In adolescence both becomes more beautiful. Once a rose opens, it is like a woman in her forties: mature, but beautiful. As the journey continues, small lines begin to form. On humans, the lines are the patina of our lives — the laughter, the tears, the anger, the sun — all show on the face. Gravity takes its toll, and bits begin to droop, just as the rose does on its stem.

The lines on our faces should tell our life stories. A facelift won’t erase the memories, but personally I find watching the progression of decay, if you must call it that, interesting, even fascinating. Hair thins, skin sags. Even the skin on your arms and legs eventually wrinkles and sags. I sometimes wonder if we were to live long enough, would we be a pile of wrinkly skin, with some fat and some stringy muscles pooled around our feet?

Age can be physically uncomfortable. However, if you are really enjoying an activity, some pain is bearable. If not, you can make adjustments. I have had chronic back pain from scoliosis and several back surgeries for over 30 years. I can sit and lie down comfortably, but being erect for more than a few minutes is agony. I either find somewhere to sit, or I find something to lean on. Grocery carts are terrific. Walkers work too, but I am not 100 percent accepting of using mine.

Yoga and exercise help agility. Normally I use a wall or a piece of furniture to go from having my butt on the floor to standing upright. A bit of adrenaline can render those aids unnecessary. Once I was late for an appointment. As I ran into the lobby, I fell and skidded on my side like a baseball player trying to make second base. Fortunately, a woman held the elevator for me.

“Are you all right?” She asked me.

I looked down. I was standing up in the elevator. “Yes! I’m better than all right! This is the first time in over ten years I have become upright without climbing on something!”

Now I practice changing my elevation. Rising from the floor without props isn’t easy because it hurts my toe joints and the skin on my knees. I also practice getting out of an upholstered chair without using my arms or hands. Continuing to do whatever physical activity you can do is essential. I like to jump backwards up, onto the kitchen counter, and, yes, I do use my arms.

Revel in your age and whatever you can do. For some reason, I looked forward to my 78th birthday with as much excitement as I did to my eighth. I love the fact that at 78 I maintain a fragile drip sprinkler system as well as tend the various gardens above the canyon and around our house. I even do a bit of canyon maintenance, but I no longer wear flip flops to do it.

When you are old, you are treated as if you will break. Enjoy it. If you are hoisting a 30-pound bag into your car and someone offers to take it for you, graciously accept the help; you may make the person feel good.

Remember that age has privileges. Most movie theatres have what I call the “old fart’s” price. Many airlines have special fares for seniors. Some stores offer senior discount days. Always ask.
If you are older and do have trouble walking, a wheel chair simplifies air travel. You board first, and you aren’t wiped out from walking a good portion of your travel distance. You may get preferential treatment in line as well.

There are some drawbacks to aging. Pain may be one. You may need hearing aids (which can be turned down or off if someone or someone is too loud), and you may need glasses or cataract surgery. Most people need reading glasses at some point. Those of us who are myopic may be able to avoid this. Another drawback is that you do have to take the written and eye test to renew your driver’s license. You may take pills or need various devices. You may need repairs to or replacements of body parts. I have a fake hip, which I love.
We also may become victim to disease, but keeping a sense of humor and a clear perspective should allow us to continue enjoying life.

I look at this portion of my life as an adventure. I am trying to pack for a very long trip. This means divesting myself of what I no longer need or want as well as what would embarrass me were a stranger to see it. I don’t know what the future holds. I may succumb to any number of things…I hope to avoid Alzheimer’s of which my mother died. I hope I can keep my perspective and relish the good parts of whatever befalls me. When I do experience unpleasant aspects, I will allow myself to wallow in my misery for a day or so. Then I hope to regain my perspective and sense of humor so I can laugh and enjoy the rest of my journey. Every aspect of this journey can be a new adventure.

The Garden Club meets on the fourth Thursday of each month, with the exception of December, July, and August, when it does not meet. November’s meeting is always the third Thursday of the month because of Thanksgiving. Meetings are held at the church at 4070 Jackdaw from 6 until 8 p.m.

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About the Author ()

Barbara Strona is a native Californian who grew up in the Mid-West and Los Angeles. She and her architect husband, Carl, came to San Diego in 1968 and have lived in Mission Hills since early 1971. Barbara received a Bachelor of Arts from Scripps College with a major in English, and a minor in Art. She attended UCLA graduate school and received a General Secondary Credential. She taught English in Los Angeles, Pennsylvania, and at Point Loma High School. She has been a Realtor specializing in residential sales since 1984. Her passions include her job, reading, writing, foreign languages and foreign countries, animals (feathered or furry), theatre, and her family: husband, two adult children and two grandsons.

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