Ungraceful Aging

“Diet! You’re 80 for g-d’s sakes. Eat what you want.” My son-in-law managed to give me the look, while still watching the road as we drove home.

“I want to stay with my wardrobe; now’s not the time to buy new clothes,” I responded. However, I buy new clothes all the time, maybe just not as many I think to myself. 

At night, as part of my going to sleep process, I turn off all screens and read a book until my eyes cross and I fall asleep. I try to read something that won’t come back and haunt my dreams. Lately I’ve been reading disc world novels by Terry Pratchett. Subtle satire and weird comedy . . . perfect before bed reading . . .until this passage and the conversation between Death and Miss Flitworth:

“Why don’t you dance?’’

Cos I’m old, that’s why.”

“You are only as old as you think you are.”

“Huh! Yeah? Really? That’s the kind of stupid things people always say. They always say, ‘My word, you’re looking well.’ They say, ‘There’s life in the old dog yet.’ ‘Many a good tune played on an old fiddle.’ That kind of stuff. It’s all stupid. As if being old is something you should be glad about! As if being philosophical about it will earn you marks! My head knows how to think young, but my knees aren’t that good. Or my back. Or my teeth. Try telling my knees they’re as old as they think they are and see what good it does you. Or them.”

I get it. I’m quite young and fit looking for my age. The result of genetics (my mom lived to 99.6) and two very expensive facelifts. I’m also relatively thin, the result of two divorces and a bout of dysentery in Asia when I was working for the United Nations. I don’t turn to food when stressed. Instead, I can barely choke down a bowl of Cream of Wheat.

So, my advice is light reading before sleep, but be wary. You never know when you could be confronted with a universal truism . . . especially when reading Terry Pratchett. You will laugh a lot, but you could cry too.

Published by Carole J. Garrison

I’m a conversationalist, an observer, a passionate participant in life. And now, in my later years, I’m a recorder of the lessons of my life through essays, stories, and novels. I live in the fourth moment of life, just outside the normal distribution of most people and it is from this place that I write.

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