Getting “Old”…I’m not planning to….


(I got the idea for the leaf rose I made above from:

I visited a former neighbor of mind yesterday who is presently living with her husband in a retirement/nursing home.  He’d had a stroke several years ago and they’d had 24/7 private nursing care for several years in their 2 homes before moving.  Their lifestyle before his stroke included much traveling(spending the winter in Jamaica every year, a month in Europe every year and at least one cruise).  In the years since his stroke, her lifestyle severely changed as well…she very seldom left the house because he would start calling for her.  I’d look at her life and see she was literally being buried alive.

When he and his two daughters decided he would be better taken care of in the retirement/nursing home, she basically had no say and they went from two homes to two rooms.  She was left with the painful job of downsizing to the extreme.  I helped her when she did this and I could see and hear how painful it was for her.

They’ve been there two years now and she has become a shell of her old self…focusing on his needs, both of their doctor visits, cramped living space and never having any privacy.  Their days are planned from morning to night…and they are 83.

I think about my neighbor’s Aunt Frances who is 100 and my dear friend Angie who is 94…both still in their own home and if you ask them about moving to a retirement/nursing home, the comment you will receive is, “That’s for Old People…and I’m not OLD yet!”  This got me thinking…what does it mean to be “OLD”?  Here’s what I came up with to define “OLD” for my vocabulary…maybe you can think of others.

Now mind you, any age group can be “OLD”…so, to me, being “OLD” means:

1. You are totally focused on YOUR needs…when you talk to someone, it’s very one sided…if they say anything about themselves, you bring the conversation back to you.

2. Mealtimes are a big part of your day…with dessert being crucial to make or ruin your day.

3. You do no hobbies anymore or maybe you never had any…for many people, television and the computer are their hobbies now…

4. You believe everything the “experts” tell you…the doctors, the nurses, etc. and do everything they tell you to do.  At some point in time you become invisible.

5. You no longer make an effort(or maybe you never did) to learn something new or try something new.

6. You enjoy being with the same age group all the time…this is in all age groups…think of college dorms, camps, various apartment complexes that gear towards specific age groups.

7. You have no goals or dreams.  If someone asks you what you are going to do that day, you say something like, “Nothing special”, “I don’t know yet”…

8. You find no joy in the simple pleasures of life…being in nature, pets, the laughter of children, sitting with a cup of coffee on the front porch and enjoying the morning or evening air and sounds, your favorite music playing, etc.

9. You don’t take an active role in watching what you are eating, drinking, what vitamins and meds you take and what is in them…you don’t read the labels.  You don’t do any exercising at all.

10. You live too much in the past…

I don’t plan to get “OLD”…I plan to follow in the path of Angie and “Aunt Frances” and so many others who, yes, have their days when they have their aches and pains but that doesn’t stop them from living their lives…doing what they are able to do…yes,  maybe taking a little nap once in a while to regain strength…

But let’s face it, a 100 year old who still lives at home by herself, still cooks for herself, goes shopping(doesn’t have her car anymore, son takes her…but that’s not because she still couldn’t drive), is organist for her church, sings in a county choir, is presently crocheting and finishing 6 afghans for her great grandchildren, reads romance novels, does all her banking and bill paying, does counted cross stitch, has a cat…has my total admiration.  When she went to her doctor earlier in the year, she told him she wasen’t feeling her usual self…the doctor remarked, “Frances, you are not a spring chicken anymore…you can’t expect to feel the same.”  She blew up and said, “Doctor, first off, I am NOT a chicken at all and your comment is totally insulting.  I know how I am supposed to feel and this is not it.  I want you to give me some tests to find out what it is.”

The doctor did and yes, she did have something minor wrong with her…when she found that out, the first words out of her mouth were, “Well, Doctor, I expect an apology from you.”  He gave her one and said, “you’ve taught me a valuable lesson and I thank you for it.”

We all have that choice…we can choose to become like Aunt Frances and Angie or we can go down that other path…I’m choosing  to follow Aunt Frances and Angie as long as I can.

Til next time…Eva

7 thoughts on “Getting “Old”…I’m not planning to….

  1. What a beautiful piece of writing! I was gripped by the time I’d got to the end of the first paragraph, and you kept me reading all the way through. I didn’t skip anything and didn’t speed read either.

    I love the whole piece and adore the people you have introduced me to and feel so wretched for the lovely couple who have found themselves in what amounts to Gods waiting room.

    They both need to be taken out of themselves. Taken to the theatre once in a while. The lady of the couple needs to go shopping with someone – not necessarily to buy anything, just to have a look around! If he could taken out in a wheelchair – with a ‘carer’ pushing and for support, then even a ‘walk’ in the park would be beneficial to them both. I feel as if they’re being let down by the people who are supposed to care about and for them. (Their family needs a kick up the backside by the way.)

    Eva, you’re so eloquent and engage the reader so well. You really should think about trying your hand at writing – maybe for a magazine, or writing your own book.

    But – whatever you do, please do keep blogging. I’d miss you so much.
    Sending love and thanking you for such an enjoyable read ~ Cobs. x

  2. Hello Eva, ~ Happy Friday!
    I just wanted to let you know that I have promoted and linked to your blog, in a blog post about the Autumn Rose Leaf. I have used your beautiful hand made rose (above) photograph which I’ve credited you for – but if you would rather I didn’t please let me know and I’ll remove it.
    Have a beautiful day. love ~ Cobs. x

  3. Cobs is right. She did promote you. I read this post and I agree with her – it’s a wonderful short story and you write very well. I too was hooked all the way through. The list had me thinking, especially about the meals, hobbies, and living in the past. It seems people go one of two ways when they get old. Either they want to jump out of airplanes on their 80th birthday (like my mother who is now 94), or they fold into themselves and become afraid of the inevitable. I was an Rn in the ICU for over thirty years. I’ve seen a lot of people die. Some are ready because they lived their lives on their terms, and took the bad with the good but never slowed down. I now know it’s the slowing down that kills you. So perhaps I can’t run a four-minute mile (actually never could), but I can walk five miles at 67 because I have the right shoes and I spent my entire career standing up. I just finished a five-day watercolor workshop and I was astounded that the other 17 women never got up to walk around outside. They sat for hours and hours over their tables painting, and incubating small blog clots in their legs probably.

    Angie and Aunt Frances are inspiring to us all. They got it right. Each probably knew that you can die at one or one hundred and beyond, so live life to the fullest. It’s not just the quantity, but the quality of your life that is important.

    I’m going to “post” your list on my icebox and if I see I’m leaning toward anything on it – I’ll give myself a quick kick in the arse.

    Great post. I’m following!

    • Thank you so much “whimsey” for your comment…glad it struck a chord in you. Sounds like you come from Angie and Aunt Frances stock with a mother like yours! Glad to meet you! Eva

      • Ah…I get it. Eva is Vanesseva. I just finished reading your comment on the yarn shops. I’m a little slow in the morning. Thanks for following my blog. I know I’ll learn from you, and you are extremely fun to read. Patsye

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