We are at that age where our hands have become our mother’s hands. We are raising the volume of the TV, and we are struggling to find the simplest of words. We might address our daughter by the dog’s name, and we are for sure eating dinner no later than six, in order to watch Wheel of Fortune which begins promptly at six-thirty followed by Jeopardy at seven. (Good for your brain..well, Jeopardy at least!)
When you hit your mid-sixties, the aging process seems to accelerate. It has been likened to the unrolling of toilet paper and we are heading faster and faster toward the last strip. Last week our next door neighbor, a single man in his early 60s, came to his last strip. He was found unresponsive, apparently the result of unchecked heart disease. His passing came without warning – leaving his family and friends overwhelmed by grief and if-only’s. If only he had gone to the doctor sooner, if only he had had his cholesterol tested regularly, if only he had known his roll was growing smaller.
But then, even if he had been more proactive with his health, something totally outside his control could have claimed his life. The fact remains that we all irrationally believe that death will never come to us. We look at our thinning and wrinkled skin with amazement, and think, how on earth did that happen??? (see our earlier post on bat wings!)
As Joy and I grow older, we are reflecting on choices we can make now that will support our mental, spiritual, and physical health. The bottom line is that when our own rolls diminish, we will have led lives characterized by love and humility. We don’t want to have regrets.
CNBC published an article in 2019 citing regrets shared by those in their 90s. Let’s listen and take heed. (Click here for the article, written by Lydia Sohn)
- They regretted not cultivating closer relationships with their children.
- They regretted not putting their children on the right path in life.
- They regretted not taking risks to be more loving, such as being more open about their feelings for new people or more affectionate with those already in their lives.
- They regretted not being better listeners; they wish they had been more empathetic and considerate.
- They regretted not spending enough time with the people they loved.
One man was asked if he wished he had accomplished more. “No,” he responded. “I wish I had loved more.”
That’s it, isn’t it? To love more. To choose to love even when we have been wronged. Yes, it’s a high bar and perhaps a naive one. But each morning we have choices. We can smile at someone, write an encouraging email, overlook a harsh word, or marvel at the architecture of a spider web, a nest, an anthill even.
And yes, at the same time, we can and should address our cholesterol, our cataracts, and our clumsiness. And start shopping for hearing aids.
Joy here. I always knew cataracts were going to be an issue for me. Everyone in my family has had them so they are a rite of passage into old age. I was told I had them in both eyes about 15 years ago but thankfully they have taken their sweet time to develop. (You kind of think that day is never going to come. It seems so far away when you are younger.) Recently, however, they have re-announced themselves and darkness is not my friend when driving. My night vision issues were quite apparent last summer when I very calmly told my passenger daughter that I couldn’t see that well and that the oncoming headlights were super bright (very calming for this passenger who probably thought I was about to drive into these bright headlights!)
So, now at long last I am seeking opinions on whether I can wait another month or two or do I rush to get them removed. After a very thorough ophthalmologic exam here in Mexico, I was relieved to find out I don’t have glaucoma or macular degeneration or need to rush to remove my two cataracts. It does need to happen, but it can wait until I get home. My wonderful cousin, Fran Lisa, has offered to do all the night driving on an upcoming trip to San Francisco (phew!) so I don’t jeopardize anybody’s life with my driving! Not a small matter. I didn’t like driving in the dark with better vision, so I certainly don’t feel comfortable now. One of my many idiosyncrasies!
The advent of cataracts hits you in the face with a splash of cold water – you are old! The good news is that the technology is fantastic. This is not the cataract surgery our parents had. Your vision can actually be restored to near perfect with no need for glasses.The basic fix is an IOL (intra-ocular lens). A host of options are possible and your ophthalmologist will advise as to what is best for your needs. It’s an amazing surgery which allows you to return to seeing again within a short period of recuperation.
Nevertheless, with vision and hearing loss, and flapping bat wings, we are aging before our very eyes. That person staring back at you in the mirror is the same one she was at eight years old, but carrying wisdom, experience, battle scars, wonderful memories, and the desire to stay healthy as long as possible.
-Take each new reminder of the aging process little by little. What we can prevent through good diet, exercise, mental attitude, we should go for and be diligent in doing so.
-You don’t have to look old. That’s what injectables are for! There are also mini face lifts, neck lifts, threading, LED wands, creams and moisturizers. Do your research and do what you can afford that makes you feel good about your appearance. Some women and men don’t care about wrinkles and grey hair. Each of us is an individual and makes these choices.
At the end of the day, it’s all about enjoying the ride!
And befriending the bat wings… which are here to stay!
xox Barclay & Joy