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Thu, Jan. 23

Joining That 70s Club

In just a few short months I will be joining the 70s club. I call it a club because most of the family and friends I hang out with have already passed their 70th birthday.

I am actually looking forward to that special birthday. In fact my sons had better be planning a memorable party for their mother. We have quite a few birthdays during that month, within our group, but mine gets to be separate this time.

I am the youngest of my siblings, and the last one to enjoy entering this new decade. Sadly, we have now all lived longer than either one of our parents. When they passed away at sixty-five and seventy years old, we thought they had a long life! Interesting how what you consider OLD can change as your own years pass.

We were blessed with many aunts and uncles when we were growing up. Of course, they became the OLD people once we became adults. We loved all those old relatives of ours, and would often comment to one another how lucky we were to have such a big family. The only drawback being, having to lose them, one by one.

It often amazes me how conversation changes, as our lifestyle and interests do as well. You may not have been vocal about politics, Medicare, Social Security, etc. But suddenly all these things affect YOU and your life. They matter! Conversations with friends and family will often include your most recent doctor visit, as well as how much you are paying on your medical co-payments. These conversations can often clear a room of anyone under fifty, in just a matter of minutes. I seem to recall one of my friends granddaughter saying, "Is that all old people talk about is their health?"

I remember when my mother used to say that "whether or not you are old, just depends on who you hang out with. If your friends are all younger than you, you will probably FEEL old. If you visit someone in a nursing home, they might call you the kid." It's all relative. People will often use phrases like, "You are as young as you feel, or Age is just a number." None of that really changes anything. When your parts start wearing out, your time starts running out. Period!

Certain things about aging, we just have no control over no matter what we do. You can remain as fit as a fiddle, and suddenly you find yourself in a hospital. Stuff just seems to happen, and more often to those of us in our senior years. Even just a fall can change everything.

We just do the best we can, and enjoy the things we are still able to do. Whether you are 70, 80, or even older, it is all about being able to enjoy life. There are those among us who seem to be angry at the adjustments they have to make in their lives. They may refuse to park in the handicapped parking at the grocery store. Maybe they refuse to use a walker, even though everyone else knows they sure do need one! Perhaps you have been yelling at them for six months, just to be heard and they still insist their hearing is fine! Personally, I think this growing old thing is pretty OK. Much better than the alternative, of course.

Hospitals treat you different when you are old. I recall being in the hospital a few years back while still living in Washington state. They could not offer me a DNR fast enough! For those of you who are not familiar with this, it means Do Not Resuscitate! If you should find yourself dependent on machines to keep you going, they want your permission to pull the plug! I think my answer was something like, "Gee, can I at least give my kids time to come and say good-bye?" Sister thinks they do this so that your family is not left with making that decision. Personally, I think the hospital is more concerned with the possibility of a big unpaid amount of the hospital bill! Keeping you plugged in for any length of time can add up to lots of money.

I used to think I would want to know my ending number, if I had the chance. Now that I am approaching the big 70, I don't feel that way anymore. I still continue to buy green bananas, and hard avocados, and one of my sons recently gave me a 16-month calendar. Now that’s a vote of confidence a mom can understand.

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