AT LAST: FINAL DAY OF DONATIONS
This is it – the last day of the 2019 TGB donation drive to help support the costs of maintaining Time Goes By for the next five years. You can read the details on Wednesday's post.
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Two years ago
I was “the one”
who ran to hold the bus
for a slow-walking older friend...
and now I don't.
Two years ago I could spend all Saturday
on a flea market, department store shop,
no need for a break or a sit down
because I was tired...
and now I can't.
Two years ago
I didn't have periods of fatigue, didn't
need moments to pause in the day,
didn't contemplate the idea of a nap...
But now I do.
That poem comes to us from Jane Seskin, working psychotherapist and writer and having now read her latest collection, I feel like I've found a soulmate in regard to elder issues.
Talk To Me
Hey, is there someone who's
supposed to warn you of the
health stuff as you age?
Doctor? Friends? The internet?
No one sounded the bell for me on
belching, dehydration, constipation
or flatulence. No talk of elongated
earlobes, receding gums, facial hair
or that I would get winded and need
to pause in the middle of the sidewalk
to catch my breath. Were body
malfunctions too private to share?
Did I not make the time to ask the
questions? Did you not want to
tell me about my physical future?
I want to know what's normal and
what's not. Maybe...maybe we
could just be a little more honest
and vulnerable with each other.
Perhaps we could connect on a
deeper level through sharing our
stories, even the scary ones, of
our health fantasies and fears and
what makes each of us feel better.
There aren't very many people – actually, there is hardly anyone at all – talking about these real, day-to-day surprises that afflict our old age. Which is what makes me excited to have found a soulmate on “what it's really like to get old.”
In fact, I'm pretty sure the medical community knows more about cancer and diabetes than about Jane's list of belching, flatulence, facial hair and rest. And no one ever talked about this stuff when we were younger, so surprises – mostly unpleasant ones – become key elements of growing old.
Not that everything is a complaint. Here are a couple more poems from Jane's book that resonated oh so strongly with me:
Most of the time
I'm in love
with my single life
which is not to say
I don't have room
to be in love
with a good man,
but this time around
I think I'd just like
and every other
Ha! I cannot count how often I've had exactly that thought. Here's another, more whimsical than some others:
I look behind, in front,
around. No one
on the street.
And then I do
what I've been
yearning to do
since last week
when I saw and
and then grinned
while I watched
the two little girls.
Jane Seskin's book of poetry, Older Wiser Shorter: An Emotional Road Trip to Membership in the Senior Class, is available at Amazon. I highly recommend it.
Back in January, Jodie Jackson of Primaris, a healthcare consulting company, interviewed me about my blog, about ageing and about my cancer diagnosis for the company's blog.
I particularly like the title on the podcast page: The Space Between Life and Death which nicely captures this indeterminate period I'm in now.
We had a fine ol' time talking this over and in addition to publishing the podcast, Jackson excerpted parts that you can read at the website. What struck me is how closely what Jackson and I spoke about meshes with Jane Seskin's poetry. One example:
”What the aging 'experts' didn’t explain or even talk about were daily details about aging,” writes Jackson. For instance, 'I had dropped a knife that came perilously close to my toes.' She wrote about dropping things and the response was resonating.
“'It turns out that old people do drop more things' because their fingers lose sensitivity to touch. 'Yes, me too, me too, me too,” was the cacophony of responses. 'There are all kinds of things like that. Your doctor won’t tell you…the little things you’re going to have to accommodate as you get older.'”
You can read Jodie Jackson's article and/or listen to the podcast at the Primaris website.