Monday, August 13, 2007

Getting Old Is Not for Sissies

This morning I spent time gathering everything I was going to need from my car for the day so that I could quickly transfer it from my car to the rental car at the dealership. My service appointment was for 7:45 a.m. and I ended up being five minutes late. But as I pulled into the lot, I suddenly wondered if I had the appointment right. I pulled to the side and hopped out to retrieve my Day-Timer from the back. Sure enough, my service appointment is for next week, not today. I sheepishly got back in my car, turned around and headed toward the turnpike.

My memory - how I miss it! Also my waistline, my hair, my flexibility and my stamina. 2007 is a milestone year - I turned 50 this summer and let me tell you, I'm much too young to be this old.

The memory thing, though, that's the worst. I started noticing that I was "losing" words about two years ago, after I had major surgery. I was sure it was due to the anesthesia in my system, but the ability to think and talk off the cuff had drained away.

Now, after talking to many post-menopausal women, I think it is more related to age and changing hormone levels. Suddenly I feel stupid. I communicate for a living, after all! If I can't speak fluidly and candidly, what use am I?

Thank goodness for the written word. When I write, I can put down whatever comes into my head and adjust the words in a later edit. Not so with the spoken word!

I have a friend who told me that when his dad started to move slower and more stiffly and grunted or groaned when he rose from his chair, the son was unsympathetic. He thought, why are you making such a big deal about it? Just get up!

Then my friend turned 40 and suddenly, it seemed, he moved slower, got stiffer, and had some aches and pains when he got up in the morning. Now he understood and had sympathy for his dad. His dad wasn't lazy or looking for sympathy - he was just growing older.

The good news, though, is that while time has temporarily robbed me of some vocabulary - temporarily because eventually I figure out the exact word I want to use - I still have my wits, intelligence, humor, and optimism. I'm still me, just a little slower.

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