Recently I turned 70. I do not fear aging. So far aging has only affected my back and knees, my brain, my skin and other things I can’t share. But I am thankful for the good health that I do have.
I have a good life. My mind is sharp, except for lunch dates or appointments, not written down immediately. But I can play “Sudoku, Word Blitz (not super well but pretty well), and several games of “Words With Friends” at a time. I think they all help me keep my brain sharp (sharpish). But I do love to be creative in my writing and blogging. There are so many activities that I enjoy, including learning from Google when I want to know something or YouTube, where I can learn how to do almost anything!
My fine textured hair used to be quite blonde but has shifted to a dark blonde with white strands coming in. I am proud of every white hair because I earned them. I always thought white hair was beautiful on a woman who had many years on her. Something tells me I may be that white in a few more years. I am enjoying wearing my hair long, because I can do more styles with it than I can when it’s short.
But I do feel rather strange about the way some parts of my body are changing. I remember as a young nurse, seeing some elderly people having to take 14 or more pills every morning! I was shocked and told myself I would never take that many pills. Well first it was the Vitamin pill, then the anti-inflammatory pill, then the pill that keeps me from having a fast heart beat. And so on it goes. Now I take nine pills in the morning and seven at night,( down by three from last year.).
After I lost thirty pounds over three years, I noticed my skin had changed. When you age, you lose fatty tissue from under the skin; so your skin gets crepey with tiny wrinkles seen only at times when the light hits your neck or arms just right. But you know what? I am alive and functioning well. I don’t care.
My eyelids are droopier than they used to be. But I can see 20/20 with my glasses. My glasses opened up a whole world I had been missing out on because I was nearsighted at about 11 or 12 years of age. If I had seen the animated Aladdin movie back then, I would have been singing, “A Whole New World!” I am so happy to be able to see the beauty of my grandchildren, families, friends, nature, and enjoy the comforting and mostly organized disorder that exists in my home.
My ears still work fine but the ear-to-memory connection gets a little wobbly every now and then, when I am tired. But in the mornings I can hear the red shouldered hawks, down in the valley below, arguing with their enemies, the crows. I can hear the crickets’ song at night and the birds and cicadas in the morning. Soon at night I will hear the frogs down by the creek.
There is another sound I love to hear; the laughter of my grandchildren, or anyone, as they play or the sounds of their voices, as they call me, “MaHa” or “Friend” Or when anyone of my family or friends tells me they love me.
My smeller has never worked perfectly but I can still smell some flowers without having my eyes and nose burn. I found out long ago that I was allergic to roses. I used to read Glamour magazine as a teenager. One article suggested putting rose petals in my bra so the perspiration would mingle with the scent and make me smell extra nice. Well, I just got itchy and got welts under my bra. I never did that again!
Since the enjoyment of food is tied in with my nose, I am never sure if some foods taste the same to others as they do to me. I can smell good food from far away though. Funny how that works.
One knee gets tired sometimes and aches in the mornings. But once I get moving, warm it up, and take my anti-inflammatory pill, it works just fine. I have a few back problems which seem to have stabilized with care, weight loss, and careful lifting of nothing over fifteen pounds. My knees and back depend on those same pills to prevent the aching that came from 37 years of walking hospital floors; helping turn patients; (and I have to admit) being more overweight for far too long. But I can lift and move what I need to; if not with my back and knees, with my brain by lessening the load or using something to roll a heavy object to another place.
But one of the best parts of my body that still works quite well, is my heart. It beats just fine. It can be filled to overflowing with joy and love when I see my grandchildren; my loving sons and their wonderful wives; and any of my family; children playing; beautiful trees; butterflies, interesting insects, the sounds of birds, the feel of the wind, rain, sunshine on my skin. Or a hug from one of my grandchildren or family or friends.
My heart can fill to the brim with: joy at Christmas; seeing the love and pride of a parent for their little ones; or a reunion of a lost child with their parent; seeing children playing and laughing or dancing brings me joy too. The love and faithfulness of a pet, the beauty of a sunset, the sound of a bird’s song, can also make me happy.
My heart can break though when I see an innocent child or animal suffering from abuse or sickness. I try not to harm insects, if I can help it. I figure their lives are as important to them as my life is to me; so I try to respect that creature and capture and release it outside. It kind of makes me happy actually to know I saved a little being .
My heart can also be filled with thankfulness for the beauty of nature, a beautiful song, memories, thoughts of my parents and the love they gave to each of us kids. I have all that I need right now, (well a few extra thousand would be nice; but no more than that.) I am thankful for my life and all that I have learned, seen, felt, and experienced because it all has helped make me the person I am today: a woman who loves deeply and treasures the people in my life and the natural world I live in.
Maybe these reasons are why my heart is the most important part of me.