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Reflections November 2016

Agelessly Yours

Hear This If You Dare

By Karen White-Walker

I had a mere 16-pound turkey in my cart when this I-wish-she’d-mind-her-own-business cashier asked, “Hey, Ma’am, do you need any help carrying that thing out to your car?” Help carrying this lightweight turkey out to the car? Couldn’t she see by looking at me that I was used to lugging around 35 extra pounds — no sweat.

Don’t you just hate it when you’re maybe 55-plus-plus and people will surprisingly come out with such ignorant things like, “Don’t tell me that at YOUR age you’re still working?” What,
I wondered – senior citizens can’t share our wisdom and invaluable experience in the workplace? Certainly not our patience with nincompoops who continue with their questioning, like what they asked my spry, active, darling mother when she was only 87 — “You mean, Ann, you’re STILL driving,?!”

But that’s nothing compared to what was asked of me just the other day when I was innocently grocery shopping for an end-of-summer special dinner. Oh, how memorable it was going to be. I would be stuffing a centerpiece with all things I hold dear and am grateful for: family pictures, my four children’s handprint molds from grade school, NOT my husband’s fingerprints for when…, Mom’s scapular that she always wore, Dad’s corn cob pipe he smoked, my only brother’s last picture that was taken of him. And a “paid in full” mortgage receipt so that now I’d have enough money to travel while I’m rather “young!” But I still shudder when I think of that day at the grocery store and, because of the incident, have suspended all my exercising classes and stopped buying tons of face cream. I ask you, what’s the use?

I had a mere 16-pound turkey in my cart when this I-wish-she’d-mind-her-own-business cashier asked, “Hey, Ma’am, do you need any help carrying that thing out to your car?” Help carrying this lightweight turkey out to the car? Couldn’t she see by looking at me that I was used to lugging around 35 extra pounds — no sweat.

Actually, I don’t know what or who to believe anymore about my age. It’s amazing how on a Monday people will say I look like my daughter’s sister, and on Tuesday of that same week they think I’m my sister’s mother and only five years difference separates us. But since when is age defined by what others think, or what we look like? We might as well be back in high school with that mentality.

One consoling thing is that as we grow older most of us don’t want to go back. Maybe that’s the way it’s meant to be, so why not just gracefully embrace old age and realize how some poor souls never were lucky enough to make it that far? And longingly I looked at my beloved brother’s picture, gone 21 years now. Golly gee, on paper what I just said about others not making it into old age sure sounds so insightful and wise, I’m rather proud of myself. Now to apply it to real life and see how it works.

It doesn’t. All because some people speak without sensitivity, failing to realize what age group they’re talking to. Recently I was so thrilled that my sister once again invited me to go to
Italy with her. I realized that whomever I told they wouldn’t be as delighted because they weren’t “the chosen one.” But for Pete’s sake, I just had to tell somebody, anybody! What good is exciting news if you can’t share it with somebody?

Remind me next time to be a little more selective and maybe to keep my big mouth shut. As I was relating this incredible news to a much younger woman, she jumped back, scrutinized my wrinkles and stated, “I sure hope that when I’m YOUR age I’m still alive to travel!”

Some people are just jealous of others’ good fortune and will say anything to crush one’s joy, but my maturity and good will toward others won’t allow me not to be gracious and forgiving – but between you and me, Italy isn’t far enough from the likes of that one!

 

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