Friday, September 16, 2011

Thoughts on A G I N G . . . . .

Recently, on a web-site,
there were postings in response
to a video.
The video showed a couple in their 70's in front of the computer trying to
get a program to work....they wanted to take a picture of themselves. They didn't realize they were actually recording themselves and not getting the still shot they wanted.
They were having a grand time.
He was goofing off, making faces and flirting....she was more serious but still going along with his sillies. It was warm and funny...they were having fun.
Several responses followed..."Oh, they are so adorable"...."Could they be any cuter?" " I hope to be that silly and pleasant when I'm their age".
I thought, only if you are that
happy and that silly NOW.
They responses made me cringe.
Oh, I knew the responses were well meaning...but also demeaning. It was as if it were 'just so cute' that someone THAT age could still be flirty and have fun and enjoy each other. Their responses fit into the, ahhh isn't it a cute little puppy, category.
A couple in their 30's wouldn't have solicited the same responses.
I guess I hated the weird we age are we really different people?
We don't feel any different. The mirror doesn't show how we actually feel....20 pounds lighter...arms without wings.
Sometimes I'm grateful for the diminished eyesight...I can keep my delusions.

A dear friend made a remark to his Dad as his Dad was getting ready for a date.
"Hey, it's no big deal....your almost 70". Dad turned to his son and said..."What the hell do you mean?...going on a first date still feels the same at 70 as it did when I was 16!"
I shouldn't be so harsh about the well-meaning comments. I should be grateful that someone noticed the sweet relationship.
I guess I wish/hope that the
responders realize that that sweet relationship
developed over years and
that they too can have the same thing...if they put in the years. It just isn't something nice that happens when the wrinkles appear.

The last 3 years have been an odd ride.
I've been dumped into old-age
When people see Paul and me with the wheelchair,
cane....and other old-people-stuff we get very different reactions than we did just weeks prior to his stroke.
The reactions Paul receives break my heart.

Most of the time he is ignored.
But sometimes he is talked 'about'....or shouted at. One doctor pinched Paul's checks upon greeting...another asked me "How's Paul's pain"...I turned to Paul..."How's your pain?"
It's hard to watch isn't comfortable to watch a man drag a leg and struggle to walk assisted.
To top it off...when someone talks to Paul and he can only answer with one word.

They stop.

I wish they wouldn't....I wish they'd give him a chance. He can still communicate and communicate well. He is very funny and still brilliant.
He is still here.
He still is the same man with all the fabulous life experiences.
A few months ago we went to dinner with a group of people...everyone was pleasant. Nice evening...but one of the men was on the boring on-n'-on type of guy.
I thought to myself...I still find Paul more exciting and fascinating than this able-bodied gent.
I looked at Paul and he gave me a look....a look that said 1,000 words.
His real words still echo in my head...and I still find him warm and fascinating.
And yes he still flirts and says whoo-whoo when I walk in the room.
What more could a girl ask for?

Note: Photo is of days.
Top photo is by Santy Ago....


Cindy Rieth said...

You are so lucky to have each other and appreciate what you still have and are able to do!

Lani Gerity said...

So well said! Thank you!!!

Chopstik said...

I have to admit, I've occasionally been guilty of doing the things you've railed against here. Your post has helped me to see it from another perspective and I will hereby endeavor to do better. Thank you for your insight.

And I hope that Paul will continue to improve.

BaileyZimmerman said...

Chopstick...thanks for your note!!

I hope I didn't come on too strong. I know that everyone means well.

I guess it's sorta like when you were a kid and people come over to visit and they'd pinch your cheeks and talk about you and not to you.....oh sh$# here I go again.


SimpleSue said...

I saw the video you mentioned. If it had been me and my husband we would have been swearing at the computer and one of us stomping off in a huff, ha ha ha.
I've also been having thoughts on aging. I used to look forward to the future and now it's becoming something I fear.
I like how you exchanged a glance with Paul and it was worth a thousand words! That is the part of aging that I like.

BaileyZimmerman said... sorry I didn't mean to make you panic about aging.
Not everyone has a stroke or some other malady.
But that said...don't put off doing the things you love...going on adventures.
Paul and I had non-stop adventures. He would do anything at a moments notice. If I mentioned anyplace that I wanted to go...he'd be at the door.
I'm thrilled that we did so much, but it's terribly sad to see him live such a limited life now.

Anonymous said...


I check your blog regularly for updates on DR.Z...I now understand how come he was both captivated and fascinated with you as a person you show both great insight with a keen awareness of the "day"( <-- hard to explain in a short comment) and great intellect...thanks for the updates on both you and Dr. Z and though he doesn't know me I found the good Doctor to be both amusing and profound...good luck to both of ya and say hello for me to the Doc.


BaileyZimmerman said...

Zaxor...Boy, what a nice compliment!! I've xeroxed and sent copies to all my relatives!
Your kind words are much appreciated!

I'll be happy to pass along your greetings to Z.....

Theresa Cheek said...

I don't think life ever turns out as we planned it when we daydreamed about the future....You have helped so many people with this blog...including me! :)

BaileyZimmerman said...

Theresa.....I'm happy that Paul and I had so many adventures. We were on the move all the time.
I'm happy we didn't know this was would have put a shadow on the fun. Now we try to take it in stride.
Thanks for the encouragement....sometimes I hesitate being so direct about my observations. But I feel it's important to be honest...just in case someone else is going through something similar. I'd hate them to be struggling and afraid to voice his/her opinion.

Kimberly said...

beautiful--don't know how i missed this

Kimberly said...

;) voicing opinions--we're good at it!