My parents are only in their early 70s…not so old, right?  Two weeks of vacation with parent 1 and then parent 2 brought me face to face with the brutal reality of our immortality.  Actually, I don’t think it’s the immortality that worries me.  It’s the aging.

Mother has always been a challenge.  Apparently, as we age we become extreme versions of ourselves.  The thought patterns magnify.  The world shrinks.  Patience is gone.  Everything is a crisis.  She is even harder to accept than before.

Father has always been a delight.  But his patience is gone too.  And his confidence as a fierce and aggressive road warrior is cracking.  But worst of all, he has only 40% hearing in each ear.  The social animal is plagued by the poor design of hearing aids.  We can send many men to the moon, smash atoms and put all sorts of exploratory machines on Mars, but we can’t sound engineer hearing.  The pub is a blur of sound.  The family a cacophony.

Mother asks what I will be like at 71 after a long night in which she has persistent and dramatic nightmares about losing her mother.  What she really wants to say is: you will be old too.  And you’ll regret not having children (my grandchildren).  And you’ll regret every decision you made.

I am now resolved to live big for the next 20 years and engineer a painless demise at 74.  You?



5 responses to “Old”

  1. LP says:

    Live big now = yes. But I’d like to be the old lady at 99 who delights everyone by singing bawdy songs at her 100th bday party after downing a scotch. By then, I’ll be so old that people will swoon with amazement that I was alive WHEN MAN LANDED ON THE MOON! Or WHEN BOBBY KENNEDY WAS ALIVE! Or that I actually lived and worked IN THE SOVIET UNION!

    I hope to amaze the whippersnappers into my triple digits. But then again, I can’t imagine what it really feels like to be old and unable to do the things I can now.

  2. lane says:

    yeah, it sucks to be old. my parents are in their 80s and they are both shocked and embarrassed by how their bodies are failing them.

    they do not regret how they lived their lives however. they are both quite content in that regard, and love each other profoundly.

  3. J-Man says:

    I plan on taking after my dad, who at 81 still has more energy than most people I know. He’s recently “retired” from being a real estate broker and has begun playing clarinet with three different groups. So now whenever I call him, he’s always busy either running off to or coming back from some rehearsal or another. Also, he rides his bike or walks every day, and has a great sense of humor. He’s sort of that whippersnapper, LP, but acts more like he’s 35.

  4. I am on board with your solution. My parents are sidling up to 70 and diminished in various ways. They’re really happy but they’re better sports than I am. My grandmother is 90 and indestructible (her son predeceased her, as did her husband and most of her friends) and likely to see 100. I’m glad for her. But I don’t need to see 100.

  5. Stella says:

    LP just told me I have an extra 10 years until I’m 74…woohoo. Time enough to retake math.