By Chris Moesch
Monday is my 65th birthday. For years, I have made a lot of jokes about getting older, but in reality, I have been in deep denial, to the point that I received a second notice from Social Security because I kept putting off filling in the Medicare application. When I did start filling it in, I actually felt anxious.
Sixty-five! At a recent lunch, one of my friends put her head down on the table and only half-jokingly asked, “How did this happen?”
The number seems so big and it came on so fast. It’s always been the landmark number assigned to old people, to the blue-haired women wearing flowery grandma dresses and clunky black shoes, to the people stealing sugar packets from fast-food restaurants and to the really short drivers peering through the steering wheel, straddling two lanes at once with the turn signal on.
I’m about to start saving extra paper napkins from restaurants and telling people I’m on a fixed income.
I thought I might feel better if I bought or did something to cheer myself up – something that would make me forget my big birthday.
I don’t want jewelry. I don’t collect anything. I don’t like to go out to eat. I don’t like live theater or going to movies. (I watch them at home with a Coke that only costs $1.) I’ve already traveled to all of the countries and cities I care to visit. And I haven’t needed new clothing since I retired.
I was stuck up to my neck in a serious funk until I looked through some family photos and realized that my parents had died at 62.
Too many family members, classmates, friends and children of friends died decades too early, yet I’m upset because I’ve lived this long. What inexcusable nerve.
I have mentally slapped myself back to reality and realized that for some reason, God has blessed me with good health, an outstanding husband, wonderful friends and a loving family.
I was never out of work, out of food or out in the cold. Never. I live in a warm and dry house. I go to the gym, I don’t smoke or drink, I’m a vegetarian and I mostly eat right. I even have health care, in spite of the fact that it’s soon to be Medicare, or as my friends call it, Club Med.
Is 65 “old”? Yes. There is more road behind me than in front of me, so yes, I’m old.
I’m the oldest I’ve ever been. I creak and make noise when I try to stand up from the sofa. I’ve had cataract surgery and I even wore those big black sunglasses for a couple of days.
I do enjoy comparing surgeries with my friends and telling my nieces and nephews that in my day, a Milky Way was a nickel and the World Series was played in the afternoon in black and white.
Hundreds of millions of people in the world are struggling to find food or safe shelter and I have the gall to be upset because I can’t eat spicy food anymore.
My aging process started out as a joke about fading memory and hearing loss, then progressed to realizing that I am, and have been for a long time, way past middle age.
They say that with age comes wisdom. Well, it seems that wisdom took its good old time getting to me. It lumbered along, stopped several times on the way and finally sat down and waited for me to get there.
Kind of like I mall walk.