It just seems like yesterday that I was - seemingly - the same age as my parents. I can remember hiking with them in Cooks Forest, taking the kids to the local swimming hole, tagging along with my mother as she did her marathon shopping trips. I remember trips to Erie to visit my favorite aunt and uncle and my cousins. Little things bring back these memories so clear, so sharp, it is almost as if I've gone back in time.
It also takes just little things to bring me back to reality: the tickettaker at the local fair asking me if I was a 'young senior' (I cried), a young girl whispering loudly at how gross I looked in my shirt (it was a fully-covering shirt I borrowed from my daughter because I had dumped grease on the shirt I was wearing), or a weekend with my parents watching my dad shuffle from place to place.
I was devastated by the former two harbingers of time. I almost said 'screw-it'! Why should I bother running and eating healthy when I just look like hell anyway! Thankfully my pity-party lasted only a short time and I've gotten back to me. I don't know why it bothered(s) me so much. Seriously, if I cared what people thought, I would wear makeup and all of the other cosmetic things to make me appear younger.
I hate that I'm periodically reminded of the cruelty of humans. Of how we compare others to ourselves and how we think we/they should be. I know I'm guilty of it. In fact, I'm writing this blogpost about it which indicates that it does matter to me. When I'm at the receiving end of thoughtless remarks and unintended insults, while it does hurt - it reminds me to be a little more careful in how I communicate.
But getting back to oldness and parents and all of that . . . . I spent the weekend with my mom and dad. I hate that my mom has a hard time hearing even with her aids. I hate that my dad is becoming forgetful at times and has a hard time walking (despite this walking difficult, he still continues his job as a consulting forester). But I'm also seeing something that is truly amazing - that 30 years ago, I never would have thought possible. My dad is happy. My dad is enjoying being around family. And even though he doesn't participate a whole lot in the conversation, he is actively listening. We were at the wedding of my younger cousin - young as in 44 years old. A few years ago when my dad was still drinking quite a bit. He would have sat and pouted in a corner and then complained the whole way home making everyone miserable.
Dad no longer drinks more than 1 or 2 beers and the change in his disposition is nothing short of miraculous! He doesn't complain - he could complain and be depressed about his waning ability to hike in the woods but he doesn't. He seems to genuinely be happy! And everyone has noticed!
No, getting old is not for sissies - only the strongest survive! But surviving to an old age, no matter what age - is a blessing!