What they don’t tell you about old age

Greetings to all my long-lost blogging friends. I’m sorry to have gone silent for such a long time. I hope some of you are still out there.

They say 55 is the new middle age, but when you get to be 76, it’s hard to quibble with the terminology.  I am old. NOT elderly, senior, in my golden years. Ugh! Call a spade a spade, for godssake. Maybe the realization that, at best, I have another 10 or 15 years on this planet, is what’s motivating my reappearance here after more than two years. I want to leave a mark, however tiny. A little pinprick that says I was here.

What can it possibly matter, once I’m gone? I don’t know. But the more retreat from the world is forced upon me, the more I want to push back, reach out, feel part of things again, leave some remnant of the person I was.

What they don’t tell you about old age is that graceful acceptance is completely impossible. I don’t spend all day raging against the dying of the light, but it infuriates me that I can’t read the fine print on a medicine bottle anymore, or see well at night, or carouse with my grandchildren. My shin bones have no padding on them. Any little bump hurts like crazy and leaves a big ugly bruise. Hair grows where it shouldn’t and stops growing where it should. Weird spots appear on my hands, white crusty lesions on my arms, skin tags under my breasts. It’s just sun damage, says the dermatologist, a life-time of exposure to that California sun. Every new spot looks like malignant melanoma to me.

I’m seeing a physical therapist for neck pain. Good posture helps a lot, he says. We practice. But both of us know at 76 years of age with severe scoliosis, good posture is not in the cards. Nor is pain-free living. I’d give my right arm for some pain-free living. Well, okay, my left arm. Maybe. So he mentions posture, and then we talk about Warriors basketball while he applies traction to my neck. Maybe it’ll help me regain those three inches of height I’ve lost.  Three inches! Good thing I started out tall.

So, dear friends, you’ve probably read many things you didn’t want to know. I do not apologize; knowledge is power. Go climb a mountain while you still can.

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8 Responses to What they don’t tell you about old age

  1. mishedup says:

    Things I don’t want to know…are you kidding?
    My goodness, I am so glad you wrote, so glad you’re back!
    I have missed you my friend, your gentle spirit (tho bring the cranky!) and your lovely writing.
    I’m sorry you’re going through all that crap…old age, not for the faint-of-heart! I’m not all that far behind you, how great it would be to have your evocative words back here making sense of all that mayhem!

    I’m happy!
    Welcome back…please stay for a while!

    xoxo
    michele

  2. sswl says:

    Michele, how lovely to hear from you! Last time we were in touch you were selling your house and moving on to new adventures. I can’t wait to check out your blog and find out what they were.
    I’m really hoping to keep my blog going this time–it feels good to be writing again.
    Let’s keep in touch.
    xxoo Susan

  3. Margit says:

    Susan, dear Susan, my jaw dropped when i got this in my mailbox; with relief and gladness to see you!!
    Hello!!!

  4. Lisa Neumann says:

    Susan, Well, I’m a little late to the read, but here nonetheless. Always a joy. I love your post. I’m here moaning about ’52’ … thank you for a big dose of what I have to look forward to. My goodness it is nice to see you. I few of us have commented on your whereabouts, so it’s nice to see you. ♥ Lisa

  5. sswl says:

    Lisa! How nice that you’re still around! I’ll check out your blog and see what you’re up to these days–besides “moaning about ’52′”, that is. It made me smile.

  6. Welcome back! Me, too, me, too, about disappearing for a while. I feel like my community on here is always with me, and closer than my “real” friends. Thanks for posting…

    • sswl says:

      Hey DDG! How great you’re still around. Sorry for the slow reply–it’s been an overwhelming couple of weeks. Will check out your blog & see what you’re up to.

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