Thoughts on Aging
A high school friend emailed me to say one of our classmates, who is suffering from dementia, has now been placed in a good, caring place to live out his remaining days in comfort and safety.
He is in his mid 70s.
We've lost other classmates along the way to heart attacks, cancer and other diseases, but not to just age. One has his name on a long, black wall in Washington, D.C. while another was in an accident on an unfinished highway shortly after graduation.
I began to wonder. Why is that one person at 75 is old and one at 95 such as Betty White, who is still performing at that age, still active?
A neighbor in Geneva is teaching university in her mid 80s. She will rattle of the dates of treaties, battles, political struggles from the Greeks on, including major events in Africa and Asia and not just Europe and the Americas. Her knees give her some trouble, though.
I read on Facebook some of the things my former classmates are still doing. One woman drives from the Atlanta, GA to Alaska summers to work in a camp.
Why is it that I think of 75 as old when I remember my grandmother at 75 in her sensible shoes, hat and gloves, but I don't think of myself as old at almost 75.
There are signs that I am no longer in my 20s.
I sometimes forget a name, and it frightens me but I remember what I learned in "Old People's School" paid for by my company when I was retiring in my early 60s. That wasn't the workshop's real name. The leader said one shouldn't worry about dementia if you forget where you left your keys, you should worry if you don't know what a key is."
Not sure where my keys are at this moment, but I know what they are for.
At a high school reunion my classmates looked as if there were 20+ years differences in age. I have been blessed with slow wrinkling skin (thank you Mother). I am small. That makes people knock a few years when guessing my age. I want to dress well without being that mutton masquerading as lamb. It's fun.
There is so much I still want to do. I can't remember ever being bored. I did meet a fellow "old People's School" attendee, who complained there was nothing to do and "life is horrible" because of it. Between writing, a newsletter I'd started, places I wanted to go, books still left to read, write and a list that would take me thru age 150, boredom wasn't a problem. I still have that long to-do list. When one item is checked of, at least two more appear.
Does being newly and happily married make a difference? I doubt it, because I was happy before.
I'll admit that cancer and chemo caused a glitch but I'm almost back to normal.
Two of my grandparents lived into their 90s and one into her late 80s. If there is an anti-aging gene, hopefully they bequeathed it to me like my mother did with her good skin gene. I am hoping to reach at least one more if not two more decades, but I want to do it with, as John Kennedy would have said, "With Vigah."