Tag Archives: aging

I Get Around. Or so I’ve Heard.

Be sure to check out my post over at Life in the Boomer Lane today. It is one I wrote early in my blogging career and was read by only a few folk. Renee is very passionate about promoting awareness of issues concerning boomers and aging – and she does so with humor, compassion, and words that will make you spit your coffee all over the keyboard or laugh till you cry. Either way, there will be body fluids. Plus, she wears really cute shoes.

I also have a new blog “DreadMill Diaries” about my adventures in trying to whip myself (literally and figuratively) into shape. You can pop over there by clicking on the tab at the top (up there at the top of this page, on the left) if you’re interested. No need to follow both blogs – unless you’re a true glutton for punishment, that is. I’ll try to let you know on this blog if I post anything exciting (like if the DreadMill attacks, I choke that effin’ know-it-all other voice, or I commit some heinous crimes due to low blood sugar). It’s going to be an adventure.

And, if you didn’t see it already – I have a post that I wrote for Romantic Monday over at Edward Hotspur’s place.

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The Real Housewives of Charlotte County

Charlotte County, Florida has the highest percentage of people of over 65 in America.  I know this because Wikipedia said so.  Vendors here sell T-shirts and bumper stickers that say “I See Old People”.  And I’ve been out there on the street.  Researching.

I doubt there will ever be a reality show about the Real Housewives of Charlotte County, but if there ever is my research tells me it might look something like this:

The housewives will have names like Eleanor, Margaret, Mary and Frances.  They won’t stab each other in the back for ratings – they will HAVE each others’ backs – there when a spouse is sick, a beloved pet dies, a diagnosis is delivered, or loneliness overwhelms.

Instead of dining on caviar and champagne at elegant charity balls, state dinners or celebrity shin-digs, these housewives will meet on Friday nights at the VFW for the fish fry.  Or at their favorite restaurant.  Instead of ordering separate meals, they will order one Early Bird special, 2 plates, and a pot of hot water for the tea bags they brought from home.  They will chug prune juice before bed (somewhere around 7:30 pm).

Instead of designer gowns and glittery shoes, they will wear house dresses with easy front snaps, and house slippers.  Instead of manicures and pedicures, these ladies will arrange appointments for diabetic foot checks and fungal toenail infections.  They will buy orthopedic shoes, with velcro closures, and support hose.

Instead of getting hair extensions and highlights, these ladies will get rinses with a lovely blue tint.  Their hair will be set on rollers, then styled into a helmet shape that will be heavily lacquered for stability. In fact, their hairstyle will have more strength than their bones.

Instead of spending money on elaborate parties for their children, these ladies will get swindled by callers impersonating their grandchildren. Who claim to be in serious legal trouble and who need quick cash.  They wire the money because they love their grandchildren; even through they haven’t called or written in several years.

These women don’t have to try to decide which fancy school their spoiled brats will attend, or which charity to support.  They have to decide whether to get prescriptions this month OR groceries.

Instead of catered affairs, these women are likely to dine on culinary offerings from Meals on Wheels.  They own playing cards older than the televised housewives; and they play euchre, bridge, or canasta with friends they’ve kept just as long.

Instead of cosmetic surgery to erase wrinkles, sagging skin and laugh lines, these women carry the evidence of years spent without sunscreen.  Instead of getting their eyes done, they share a pair of reading glasses with their spouses, taking turns reading the Sunday paper.

Speaking of Sunday, these women are likely to spend it at church. It may be the only trip their 20 year-old automobile will make this week.  They may not remember their neighbors’ names, their own phone number or which medications they take, but they still know every word to their favorite hymns and Bible passages.

Instead of arguing with, or browbeating their husbands for not providing MORE, MORE, MORE, these women will know there is no more.  These women are likely to outlive their husbands.  Many will become 24-hour caretakers for men who don’t know the old woman sitting across the table from them.

Instead of employing drivers, gardeners, and housekeepers these women struggle to maintain their homes and yards with gnarled hands, hips that no longer bend, and knees that don’t permit kneeling.

Instead of forking over dough for personal trainers and massages, these women will spend their precious resources on physical therapy, chiropractors, and incontinence supplies.  Instead of tummy tucks and boob jobs, these women endure colostomies and mastectomies.

And instead of trying to convince the world that their televised lives aren’t scripted these housewives will be living out their own – sometimes harsh, sometimes desperate – reality.

With quiet strength and dignity.

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Dear Perky Blonde

Dear Perky Young Blonde.

Yes, you.  I know you don’t know me, you probably can’t even see me.  But I know you.  You got my dream job.  Yes, that job.  The one we both interviewed for and that you got.  I know you because I make it my business to look at everyone in the room, not just those most like me.  Yes, you sat with the other perky blondes who probably got dream jobs over older, wiser women like me.  That’s okay.  I’m good.  I mean it.

When we went around the room and introduced ourselves, I thought I’d hear how you must certainly be older than you look; you must certainly have YEARS of fabulous experience and education that qualified you for the job more. Much more than me or anyone else who applied.  I nearly choked when I heard the year you graduated from nursing school.  I own underwear older than your degree, PB.   And when you said you had applied to various graduate schools, my head wanted to spin off my shoulders but somehow I kept it securely in place. I’ve already done that. With honors.  While raising a family and working 60 hours a week. I have entries on my resume older than you, PB.

When you were directed to consult with me, you had no idea who I was. Even though I had introduced myself, explained my new position, and outlined my education and experience just as you had.  I was as invisible to you as I was, apparently, to the hiring gods.  I cannot prove, but certainly believe, that age discrimination was at work here.

As cruel fate would have it, I was offered a different job.  And I will have to work with you.  As ironic fate would have it, you will have to depend on me for a great many things.  Like arranging hours in the skills lab and assistance with your clinicals.  I believe every opportunity comes to us for a reason, and I am certain this position will lead me to the place I am supposed to land.

What I have before me is an opportunity to prove myself to those who chose your “qualifications” over mine.  What I have here is an opportunity to prove that my white hair, near-orthopedic shoes, and crow’s feet do not disqualify me from being an outstanding educator, model employee, and innovative thinker.  What I have here is an opportunity to be a gracious, supportive colleague for the good of the profession I love.

I am sick of traveling this high road, PB, but I’ll do it.  After all, I was once young.  Perky.  And blonde.

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Sponsors I Won’t Be Seeking

CLAIROL

I probably need Miss Clairol more than most people my age.  I have white hair.  I have gone beyond salt and pepper – that was in my 30s. I found my first gray hairs at 16.  I plucked them out.  It soon became apparent that this would not be a good long-term strategy.  So I colored.  I have had every hair color known to mankind not found in nature, except for the blues, greens, purples and magentas.

I have thick, white, goofy hair. It grows very fast.  If I did decide to color it again, I would have to touch it up every few days.  I’m far too busy (read – too lazy) for that.  If it bothers you, please look away.  I’ve come to accept it, along with everything else that makes me – ME.

COLON CLEANSE

Not only will I not seek their sponsorship, neither do I need their services.  My colon cleanses itself every morning, sometimes five or six times before I leave the house. A long morning commute is not a good idea for me.  If you look in the dictionary under “regularity” you’ll find my picture (you’ll recognize me by my white hair).  We’re good.

AHH BRA

I have spent many hours and dollars attempting to find a comfortable, supportive undergarment for the upper region.  I am here to tell you that this product is not it.  I got six in the mail.  Maybe, MAYBE, if I put all six on at once there might have been a HINT of support, the fabric was so thin as to be see-through.  The design could only work if supplemented with massive amounts of DUCT TAPE.  It is not easy being a size 40 LONG  and these bras do absolutely nothing for a generous bustline.  I looked like I was sporting a couple of cantaloupe in a pair of wind socks. In a paradox not understood by anyone, I have lost 25 pounds and gained a cup size.  Go figure.

WEIGHT WATCHERS

Speaking of losing weight, I simply cannot stand to attend Weight Watchers meetings.  The leaders they hire have got to be the some of the worst public speakers I have ever met. So far as I can tell, their only qualification is that they must have lost weight with Weight Watchers and kept it off.

I NEED Weight Watchers, but I just can’t stomach the commercialized meetings and mindless crap spewed by members.  The handwritten flip charts are so tacky from a corporation that has bilked billions from desperate wanna-be losers.

It seems ridiculous to me  to assign an artificial value (POINTS, or now, POINTS PLUS) to foods when learning about real nutritional values makes more sense.  Ironically, Weight Watchers does have a program that espouses whole grains, lean proteins and minimally processed  whole foods.  They just don’t promote it (Simply Filling Technique).  Apparently, the program that lets you eat M&Ms and Little Debbies as long as you still have points left over is good enough for most people.  I’m working with www.nutritionmirror.com and my own workouts for now…with pretty good success.

BOTOX

I am constantly surprised by the twists and turns of life, but I do not wish to look as though I am constantly surprised.  The unwrinkled forehead, to me, is not a good look.  These forehead wrinkles I’m carrying allow me to look as though I am deep in thought, without ever actually having to be deep in thought.  What could be better!!!

I spent 10 years as a nursing home inspector and met a lot of elderly people.  Some of the most beautiful faces (to me, anyway) were leathered, lined, crinkled and wrinkled.  Those faces had character, reflected joy and sorrow, showed both hope and acceptance.  I only hope to possess that much beauty one day.

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Get Outta My Personal Space

 

There are a couple of alter-egos who share my personal space and whose voices I spend a lot of time trying to mute/censor/edit.

The first is The Uncensored Broad (TUB).  She is likely to say anything to anyone at anytime.  She says the things I only think about saying, and would probably only say under the influence of at least 3 margaritas (rocks, with salt, thank you very much).  She’s a hoot.  She looks like Maxine, and her voice sounds a lot like Lewis Black.  I like her, usually, unless she takes over and gets my butt in trouble before I can stuff the words back into her mouth.

My second persona is Certifiably-Hot Unrecognizable Babe (CHUB).  CHUB is the hot mama that lives with me in this aging shell.  She remembers what it was like to be young, pretty, and desirable.  She would, if offered the options, choose sex over chocolate chip cookies.  She bemoans the fact that we have become quite round, white-haired, forgetful and nearly blind…in other words, invisible in our youth-obsessed society.  She also bemoans that fact that these days chocolate chip cookies ARE offered more frequently than sex.  She advocates for surgeries – gastric, plastic, and drastic.  Fortuntely, She is easily quieted, and if she does manage to speak her mind, people hear the voice but can’t figure out where it is coming from…after all, that kind of language wouldn’t come out of that sweet little granny over there.  I like her, but wish she’d come to terms with aging.

Recently, one of my students  explained that she often missed class because she couldn’t afford a babysitter for her children.  She showed me a picture of her 4 children and her live-in boyfriend, who looked sort of like Blake Shelton, if you squinted (a little), had been drinking (a lot) and you overlooked his rather large ears. Our conversation went something like this.

ME:  Cute kids.

TUB: Yeah, great looking litter.

CHUB:  He’s hot. What time is your class?  I’ll babysit.

ME:  There are some services offered by the college to help you with child care.  Here’s a brochure.

TUB:  You can’t afford a babysitter?  I know you smoke because you reek of nicotine, you’ve got a new tattoo, those highlights in your hair weren’t put there by Mother Nature, and your freakin’ fake nails are freshly done.  We’re paying for your stinking education, and probably supporting your entire household, yet you can’t even bother to show up because you can’t afford a baby sitter?  Why can’t Dumbo watch the spawn while you try to “improve” yourself?  You probably can’t afford a CLUE, either, can you?

CHUB:  He looks like Blake Shelton (did I mention that we are nearly blind and really like margaritas?).  What time is your class again?

Here’s another conversation, this time with my beloved Sweet Cheeks.

ME:  What do you want for dinner?

SWEET CHEEKS:  I don’t care.

TUB: Of course you don’t care, you think food is prepared by the food fairy.  For the last 31 years food just magically appeared in front of you at fairly regular intervals.  Do you know how impossible it is to figure out what YOUR sorry ass wants for dinner?  Why don’t YOU make dinner, Bucko?  The only thing you know how to make is reservations, that’s why.

CHUB (slyly):  I know something you could have….

ME:  Okay, I’ll see what I can put together.

SWEET CHEEKS:  Whatever you come up with will be fine.  I’m easy.

TUB:  Hah! Easy?  Sure, as along as it isn’t a fruit, or a vegetable, or most seafood or anything even remotely healthy for you – you’re easy all right you beer-guzzlin’, pizza-snarfin’, sausage-chompin’ slug.

CHUB:  (again, slyly with batted eye-lashes) Easy? now you’re talking!  I can think of a couple of things that could be put together….

SWEET CHEEKS:  Do we have any chocolate chip cookies?

Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to keep those two quiet.

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