Republican Beliefs About Elders
My Short, Accidental Foray in Politics

Meditation and Music on the Conditions of Age

category_bug_journal2.gif Last week when we were discussing age-related hair loss in women, I was reminded that getting old is just one damned thing after another. I don't mean diseases or conditions that need ongoing medical attention, but the less serious changes that nevertheless impede our once carefree daily lives.

Remember when we were young (and throughout most of our adult years) when we could roll out of bed, throw on some clothes and know that everything was in such good working order that we hardly thought about them?

Now, most of what we took for granted about our bodies needs to be replaced, attended to or accepted as gone forever. My personal checklist:

Hair
Here one day, gone the next. Wigs, scarves, hats or a combination thereof will play a strong role in my future.

Teeth
I already have an upper denture and the lower teeth need constant extra attention.

Nose
My ability to smell much of anything disappeared years ago. Except, weirdly, for cantaloupe which my nose can detect from across a football field.

Joints
No replacements, but they creak a bit when I've been in one position too long.

Hearing
No mechanical aids needed yet, but it is impossible to hear someone speaking next to me when there is a lot of ambient noise.

Eyes
I've been diagnosed with cataracts in both eyes. They are not far gone enough yet for surgery.

Sometimes all these changes make me sad because there really is no way to interpret them except as indications of life's decline. I could dwell on that or, since there is nothing I can do about it, I can adjust and keep going while trying not to resent the additional time and effort involved in upkeep. Which is what I choose.

With that in mind, here is a Peggy Lee song I've been listening to since 1975, when it was released on her “Mirrors” album. Ready to Begin Again neatly sums up these late-life developments, gives me a laugh of recognition and the heart to carry on. Lyrics are appended below the video.

When my teeth are at rest in the glass by my bed,
and my hair lies somewhere in a drawer,
then the world doesn't seem like a very nice place,
not a very nice place anymore.

But I take out my teeth from the glass by my bed
and my hair from a drawer in the hall,
Still the world doesn't seem like a very nice place
not a very nice place at all.

But I put in my teeth and I put on my hair
and a strange thing occurs when I do.
For my teeth start to feel like my very own teeth
and my hair like my very own too.

And I'm ready to begin again.
Ready to begin again.
I'm reaching for the soap,
my heart is full of hope - again, again.

I'm ready to begin again
Feeling like I've just begun
Now I'm not afraid to raise the window shade
And face the sun.

I put on my bracelets and brooches
My rings and my pearls and my pins
And as the new day approaches
As the new day begins

I'm ready to begin again
Looking fresh and bright I trust.
Ready to begin again,
as everybody must.



At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Lyn Burnstine: Sacred Places


Comments

I just remember that these signs of aging are more desirable than not having them (i.e. - dead)

Have to agree with Kenju. Better to be over the hill than under it...lol.

It's definitely a life experience to get to old age, as it is constant changes, and we are the lucky ones who got here even if somedays we are thinking-- what the heck is this.

Wonderful heartwarming message from Peggy. Thanks for this uplift, Ronni:)Dee

And I thought I knew every one of Peggy's songs (I'm a great fan), but that's one I seem to have missed. Guess I just wasn't ready to hear it before. It's haunting, and I love it.
Thanks, Ronni!

Lately, I utter a little prayer of appreciation about this time I'm living in. All the benefits of my computer, that cataract surgery is effective and fairly easy, that these 2 little thingees on top of my ears, that nobody sees, let me hear fairly well again and finally, that my dentures look natural and didn't change my appearance at all. I may hate the way the world has changed in many ways, am not thrilled my body parts are wearing out but I am glad for the technology that has made massive improvements just in the time since I was born. Getting older? Well, it is what it is....

Love it! Nice change of pace. When I got home from work yesterday evening, I wrote a spirited rant in response to Wednesday's TGB post. Since I didn't finish it until quite late and TGB has moved on, as it must, maybe I'll send it to my local paper.

The gist of my comments was that we of the disappearing middle class need to band together to save ourselves from the Far Right/Tea Party madness because nobody else will. I'm not sure how we do it, but we'd better figure it out while there are (at least for now) more of us than there are of them!

One lady at the gym looked at me in surprise today and said "You're limping?" I didn't say "why yes, I always limp, I'm short of hair, teeth, feet, skin, and a few other things," but I just smiled.

All you can do is laugh sometimes.

"I'm reaching for the soap,my heart is full of hope - again, again." Love that. Being in the shower makes me feel new; even if I have wrinkles in places I'd never considered possible.

Maybe you're having one of those transition times that seem to come for me more often now, your big move and everything changing. I know I am being divorced six months, I am alternately very calm and happy, and then dismally aware of feeling like I failed so late in the game and will probably not have date much less a partner anymore. My small yard is killing me, I can't keep up with it, half a day gardening which I love, gives me a whole day of gimping around, stiff as a board in spite of good shoes, knee pads, nice equipment. Coffee which I also, love gives me indigestion. I recall my paternal grandmom drinking a glass of bicarb and water every morning so she could drink coffee at my age, 69. This year the world became a blur without my glasses. But many things are good, I own my house, I have friends, I go to the gym, I am able go the gym which is a different thing entirely. I am going on my first cruise ever thanks to an expected tax refund. And, I get up and read your blog everyday. Love that you are there Ronni!

As the old song says, "Oh, the old gray mare, she ain't what she used to be."

At 69, I sure can vouch for the accuracy of that statement!

But as you said, Ronni, we can adjust and keep going.

Just like my mother (almost 95) has done and is still doing.

That Peggy Lee song reminds me of an old music hall song we used to sing when I was a Scout (it is a parody of an even earlier song popular in the 1890s):

After the ball was over
Nellie took out her glass eye
Put her false teeth in water
Corked up her bottle of dye
Put her false leg in the corner
Hung up her wig on the door
And all that is left goes to bye byes
After the ball

That's so funny, Ian. Peggy's is more a lament.

At 95 the cataracts are gone,the teeth are fewerer no hearing aids yet, see better with glasses, some aches and pains, hair is thin but still live alone. God is good.
Alberta French

Just turned 68 and will continue to quietly disturb relentless media fueled stereotypes of seniors.

Stealth disturber!


I think another gift of aging is the change in my skin. I used to be a sun worshiping tanner, but now have age spots to remind me not to forget SPF 30. If I do too much sun, even with sun block, I can see little blisters under the skin which can't be a good thing.

I remember a carnival show where a barker would bet that he could tell your age within five years. He'd pinch the back of your hand if you were my age. He'd just look at the faces of the younger folk. He was almost always the winner in the contest.

What a song!!!!

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