Tuesday, May 13, 2014

60 As the New 40 & Me

We recently realized that we have turned into our parents and most especially Jim's parents. It really shouldn't have surprised us but it did.  No one wants to make this discovery after all. It was rather insidious in the way it crept up on us.

Perhaps the reason this really stood out to us was that we are now spending our seniors years in the very same condo where they spent theirs. So when we move around the condo development with our gray hair and lesser stamina levels, we can really see ourselves as them. Frankly, they were in better shape than we are at the same ages and we used to think they were aged and ill a lot! Ha!

We also used to think they spent an inordinate amount of time in doctors' offices. What a joke that seems now as I feel as if I've taken out a lease or an easement in such offices compared to their doctors' visits. 

Jim's parents used to take walks around here and they did quite well together on them. (barn to left is on that walk). However, Jim hates walking with me because I am a slow walker so he bikes and I swim. We both do less exercise than they did. They also were the gardeners in chief here at the condo, year after year churning out the top winning garden of the year. Jim is making a garden this year but it is a lot more modest in scope and size. It is hard to imagine how his folks found the energy to make their masterpiece garden every summer. They also knew everyone who lived here and socialized constantly. We know Rebecca and get together for cocktails every week or so and travel to Trader Joe's together. They did aqua-size in the pool with all of the other seniors plus traveled all over with them.  I get exhausted just thinking about all of it.

Some of their stories from these senior outings were hilarious. I wish my senior time had these moments of hilarity. I could use the comic relief. One of these was an Amtrak journey with the group across the desert with a stop in Las Vegas, among others. Do you think they talked about the wonders of the Grand Canyon when they got back?  Nope, for years all I heard about was the great Las Vegas floor show Nudes On Ice and that it really was tasteful.

On another trip to Myrtle Beach, they all saw Richard Gere and Debra Winger in An Officer & Gentleman. The woman who ran the tour was so outraged by the steaminess of the movie that she got up and left with the bus! The senior group had to finish the movie on their own and then get her on the horn to bring the bus back so they could get back to the motel. I thought what she had done was outrageous but the group didn't even get mad at her.  They just got her to bring the bus back.

So when someone says to me, "Oh, don't you feel so much younger than your mother or grandmother did? Haven't you heard that 60 is the new 40?", I feel as if my head is about to rocket off my body. First, I want to clunk this person over the head with something but I restrain myself. Second, I have had more medical problems at 65 than my mother, Jim's mother and my grandmother rolled into one.  They were all balls of energy at 65 with hardly a day of sickness to keep them down, much less cancer and other maladies. 

So, no, I do not believe that people in their 60s now are more like people used to be decades ago in their 40s. Evolution does not change people in the space of several decades. Yes, more people are living longer but that does not mean we are an improved species! Evolution is a much, much slower process. Although I do like the above illustration which shows man with his cell phone may be moving backwards, as he becomes once again more ape like.

The only consolation I have is that my sister, who is seven years younger than I, is spending even more time in doctors' offices than I am.

It is now a weekly event for the two of us to trade medical news. Last week I emailed my sister my colonoscopy polyp report while she emailed me a YouTube video of her upcoming neck surgery. First, her surgeons will literally slit her throat, as if they are murderers, and then they will converge on her like a bunch of welders to fuse a new piece to the neck portion of her spine. If you want to see the animated illustrated neck surgery movie go here

For my part, I may go back to being 12 and just resume reading my comic books but with a medical slant, hoping for a super hero or heroine to save the day or that I will become such a creature. This plan certainly is not any less idiotic than stumbling around here with my bad knees informing all and sundry that I am the new 40.

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