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Archive for the tag “aging”

“HeyMs.Parker…..”

Anyone who knows their way around the “Friday” franchise is familiar with that quote. I can smile as I think of my younger brother’s friends who charmingly referred to me with that greeting from time to time. I was amused at the time and feigned flattery. Now as I look back, flattered is exactly what I should have been. I recall being told that the actress who played Ms. Parker, Kathleen Bradley, was a former Miss Black California and had been a model on the Price Is Right. I “tahtahed” that off, because as a part of the cult-following of the movie itself, almost all of the characters were special in their own rights.

Over the years there have been remarks some complimentary others had undertones of jealousy, judgement and judgmental. Being tall a lady makes one stand out. Yes, I emphatically consider myself a lady. I do not believe I have done anything to exclude myself from that classification. I am mostly amused by the reactions of my contemporaries and counterparts. I can only imagine what goes through their heads when a person who falls in the average category sees me (standing 5’10 in my bare feet) wearing heels and a dress that reveals my legs. Legs that probably look like they are far longer than they actually are. The standards of size, beauty, what is and is not acceptable, varies from one being to the next. Then the judgements begin.

When I used to deliver mail, female carriers had uniforms that included an item called culottes (split skirts). Doing a physical job like that, it is imperative that one is comfortable. The culottes were my choice. Neat, clean, and in approved standard attire I was still subject to snide little off-color comments. I was younger so not only did I not care, but I also had answers back for my critics and commentors. Years/decade later I still meet with the same types of critiques. I am fortunate enough to have decent health, I also try to stay healthy, I eat fairly good, I go to the gym daily, and I follow my physician’s advice. When I walk past the ladies in my community, a senior community that I bother to pick up trash around (that other have not so courteously dropped), and I greet them I am well aware that they do not approve of my look. If I am honest, I have to say, I STILL really do not care. I am not harming anyone and just like my old letter carrier uniform; neat, clean, and within the approved standard of… in this case decent. What I wear has all to do with MY comfort; how I feel and how I feel I look.

In my mind see Ms.Parker bending over in her shorts watering the grass, I wonder if I appear that way to people in the neighborhood. I am not even close to her image, but when we talk about perceptions who knows. One thing for certain, no one around this community will be invited in to “pray with me or “prey” upon me.

Now Don’t Get It Twisted

The one that voices their opinion without concern for those who have opposing views. Yet, giving respect accordingly. The title or name that gives identity to someone in your life or presence. My late husband and I would often take notice and revel in the need of our society to give everything a label. Oftentimes the name alone did not suffice, it had to have a catchy little phrase to draw much more attention to this person or thing. Why? you ask…because it is our feeble way of trying to appear as though we truly understand. Remember the word appear.

This may already seem to be a collage of rambling thoughts. Thoughts of confusion; thoughts of disappointment and “being let down”, thoughts of anticipation and the need to “hurryup“, thoughts of “gut-wrenching pain” from loss and grief, finally thoughts of reflection forgiving and “letting go”. Each of these categories worthy of time devoted to them individually but instead tossed about in our psyche in no particular way, with no rhyme or reason that we can pinpoint. Well, it is understandable that one might not be able to make “heads or tails” of anything

The feeling of, “I’m not gonna show you mine until you show me yours, can sometimes overtake us emotionally. Yet it also serves as a warning. We have to preserve our dignity, our ego and that which is familiar to us. For without this familiarity, we are lost; and at this juncture in our lives, we can ill afford to be lost and possibly have to start over. The thought is ridiculous. Yet it plagues us. Is your head spinning yet?

Here it is the real twist. This piece is twisted because at times that is just what we are. We are bobbing and weaving through our lives. Afraid to move or sit still because we may miss something. Being painfully aware that we do not have our entire lives ahead of us, because our chronological age tells us odds are we now have a very finite number attached to us. Yet once again, things have always been like this. Our navigation process may have changed, but our ultimate destinations remain as they were when we began our journeys. Whether we see ourselves as taking a direct route, wandering off the beaten path, or floating about into oblivion many of us find ourselves questioning where we have ended up.

Good, bad, or otherwise it IS in our very nature to say, “What if….” That does not mean we want to or would change things; it just means that we entertain thoughts of the possibilities.

Happy Endings

Are there such things? What does the title say to you? I think to figure the endings out we must start with the beginnings. In the spirit of where many of us are let’s address this as a result verses a consequence. On the road to connecting with a partner/ companion/ love interest we encounter many obstacles.

Our age group being a huge factor. We can lie to ourselves and say, “age aint nuthin but a number” but in actuality age is far more than a number. With one’s time on the planet we gain certain things by virtue of mere exposure. Some of these things we keep, cherish and utilize. Others we carry like heavy baggage waiting to be unloaded.

For me treading these “murky waters” of senior dating clearly (forgive the pun) there have been far more failures than successes. I am being kind; for the plain truth is they have all been failures. This is not a blame game either. I do believe they have been simple mismatches, well at least the majority of them. Yet with that in mind, it is still not easy to tell someone This is NOT working. People take that statement personally in the most negative of ways and that is NOT always the case.

Like I said earlier we need to examine the beginnings. I have experienced some seemingly great starts. Good conversationalists, intelligent, attractive, tall… most of the ones that have not worked out, I am thankful have ended in very early stages. Not a lot of time, effort, or emotion vested. With this particular “relationship” type things usually just drop off, the calls become less and less until there are none, you look up and months have gone by, and soon you realize YOU have gone on. Then there are the “ghostings” a bit more of a sensitive subject and covered briefly in prior piece. I will again state sometimes there is just nothing to say, no case to be made, but when it happens the party being ghosted does not understand. Why not just take it as… if this is all they have for me there truly is nothing that needs to be said. However, we are human; rejection does not sit well with most of us, we are curious and sensitive. There IS the need to know “why”. This writer is challenged by this very thing as well. I have to say I should follow my own advice in these cases. I am certain there will be more not-so-pleasant breaks. I also feel like we have to be subjective in the way we view what a happy ending if. Sometimes you are lucky you get the one you want, and everything is good. Other times you do not walk away with the intended party and that too is a good thing. Just a couple of brief examples and in either case, the respective endings can still be happy.

Do You Think We’re Sexy?

Remember that song by Rod Stewart…”Do You Think I’m Sexy?” How many of us danced to, sang aloud, whispered the lyrics into the ears of a lover and even laughed at the idea certain individuals would even suggest the mere idea came to their head? Let’s be honest here sexy is not just a look, it IS a state of mind. Back in 1978 many of us were teens and young adults; we were in our most perfect forms and at the height of our sexuality…of course we thought we were sexy!

I recall having a discussion with a “sister/friend about a Human Sexuality class she was taking in college. I remember being absolutely repulsed when she described a film/video the class watched in which seniors were interviewed. Plus, they not only discussed sex at their age, but there were also visuals. I could not imagine why people that age would want to have sex. My immature mind could NOT wrap around the idea of folks with their particular type bodies would want to see one another naked, let alone be aroused by such a sight. Keep in mind I had seen a grand total of ZERO naked seniors. My opinions were solely based on what I could see in their respective faces and therefore I figured the bodies had to have a similar look.

Fast Forward: here I am now that person that I imitated throwing up at the thought of, facing the question of sexuality. We must couple the idea of physical beauty, with physical limitations. Pregnancy has gone from being covered up like a nun (which was in direct contrast to the condition) to painted and bared bellies. Perhaps a better question for “US” would be… Do you think we’re sexual? The answer is as varied as we are, but once again our numbers draw attention to us. Senior dating sites are as prevalent as ones focusing on the young. Why is that you may think…short answer is because we as human beings still want to connect and to be connected. As life progresses things happen, spouses/partners leave us either through death or through divorce. Then we are left to do what our very nature tells us we must do…find a mate/companion/love.

Sex is everywhere on one level or another and that is NOTHING new. Yet as we move forward and evolve, we cannot help noticing the changes in ourselves, our contemporaries, our environment and society’s attitudes. I have said this time and again as I have written in this blog we “baby-boomers” are a group that none of the likes have been seen, we are trendsetters by virtue of existence. Our numbers alone call for recognition as we draw attention to what it looks like to live, grow up, and age in a modern society with instant access to record and catalog it all. Have we changed our minds about sex and being sexy? I say,” YES absolutely”. When you see a muscular young man at the gym or a toned young woman at the beach in a skimpy swim suit, do you judge them or do you fondly recall when that was YOU or someone you would set your sights on? Don’t be creepy or forgetful, it can be easy to fall into those pigeon-holes. Do you think we’re sexy…HELL YEAH WE ARE!

Redefined

Things aren’t like they used to be. No surprises in that statement but making that statement and NOT truly recognizing what is being said sets one up for a bit of confusion. At one time or another one may find themselves in what used to be a familiar situation, and although one might be compelled into thinking the same strategy, plan, method would still work, you must resist that train of thought. Instead, you must embrace the idea that change has likely taken place and you must approach from a different angle.

It was an innocent looking encounter, if you were not paying attention. When we are in close proximity to one another and couple that with the fact human beings are social, there is nothing extraordinary about a chance meeting on a bench. What isn’t so innocent is when one gets too close too quickly. Everyone is not easy to get to know. One must be mindful of this, or one could “scare” the other individual away. I am a people watcher just by nature and I was given a unique opportunity to see the failed attempt to become familiar unfold. I was not privy to the conversation itself; I saw body language and facial expression. I do not believe anything inappropriate was said or done. I summed the entire episode up as one individual simply not wanting to be bothered. In this situation as the other person persisted it then became more personal and now took on the tone of, she was NOT interested in talking to this man specifically. Sometimes you have to know when to stop, sometimes you have to know when to simply move on. Cut your losses, live to fight another day…but it was clear this fellow was applying methods that worked a long time ago. He was lucky, from my vantage point, that he did not get an old-fashioned slap. The fatal blow to what was left of his ego. Yet, I do believe because his intended target was not flat out mean, he will try again.

Don’t get me wrong here, there is something to be said for persistence. The only thing I can say is the desired effect was NOT achieved. How much time do you invest in the tried and true? When do you come to grips with this is not working…? Some goals are unattainable, we must learn that “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” does NOT have to be our mantra. Instead shoot for, “I’ll try something new”. Hit the gym, don’t cut your long hair, take that painting class…. Our advancing years do not always indicate we are increasingly limited. Make this your venture into becoming…REDEFINED

Once A “Playa-Playa”

Walking through the parking lot of a noted senior living complex, I spotted beautiful and bright red Mustang. I could not tell you the year, but it was an eye-catcher. It was the kind of car; younger men want for obvious reasons. It is the same car that law enforcement has been “rumored” to target for speeding and insurance companies govern themselves accordingly. Back to my walk…I noticed more than the red paint job. The car was adored with chrome. The rims were red and chrome, there were chrome door guards, for a moment I was propelled into my past and I somewhat laughingly took a look for chrome mud flaps (there weren’t any thankfully I may have not been able to contain myself). I did however see inside the chrome chain license plate frame “OG”. I dropped my head and had to look away. I was being judgmental, and I could not get a handle on it. There it was, my mind was in a whirlwind…”Oh my goodness, get real, poor guy is delusional, Dude you live in a senior complex!” Now I am still walking but obviously looking at that car. I saw the vanity plates, the car is a convertible, his side view mirrors, and the shaker hood are all chrome. Does he want to be seen or what? I have seen this guy a few times. I never recognize him without his car and when I see the car I basically “tah-tah” him off with thoughts of the level of ridiculousness he must possess to drive around at his age like that. Sometimes I think what he must have been like when he was young…. He is not alone.

There are a few wannabes and maybe actual ” once were’s” who are now “has beens” in the complex. They walk around with cigarettes in hand, they wear various hats or caps, mostly to hide the receding hairlines or the bald/balding heads. They dress in a fashion that is a cross between gardener/construction worker/”tennis-shoe pimp”…you gotta see for yourself. If they are not sitting on the bench waiting for the local free-to-senior’s omnibus running their mouths, they are standing about 100 feet from the security doors finishing a smoke or about to begin one. Gone are their glory days. No more women, no more fights, just reminiscing the days gone by, but with the arrogance (in appearance) that they could still do their thing. It is a funny thing to watch; beings like these guys attempting to be charming and humble. Characteristics they are completely unfamiliar with. I applaud the effort silently, speak in accordance, and keep walking at a fast pace so not to give the impression there is time or room for conversation. What do you suppose these OG/Playa-Playa’s have to say? I imagine it often covers what they used to do and what they “think” they still can do. Whatever it may be I would say it IS indicative of their mindsets and that mindset tells them who they are…for all time.

Senior’s Day Discounted

It had disappeared a few years ago to the dismay of many. Afterall, we have earned any little retail perk the grocers, clothing stores, etc. cared to bestow on us. We all know what the reversal was about; greed AND the fact our group, the baby boomers, are just too doggone big!

I could not believe it when one of the two markets I frequented decided the discount day was to be no more. I then decided I would take MY business to the other store for that reason alone. Low and behold a few short months later my second choice followed suit and my discount day was totally gone. I mean it wasn’t a huge savings, it really broke down to sales tax, but it was the principle of it all. I once again shifted my loyalty to another store, a store that did not give the discount either, but it felt like a “show of power”. This new store never had given the discount, yet I made the informed decision to spend my hard-earned retired dollars at a place that had no real care about where I was in my working career or chronologically in life itself. I told myself, “At least this market did not start something and then abruptly stop.”

Well, I can happily report our senior discount has returned. Here I am paying homage to store chains that are doing something that is a tiny step above dangling a carrot ahead of a racehorse. Yet, we will accept this perk. The parking lot which is normally pretty empty in the early morning of a weekday is packed. I find there is a shortage of the smaller shopping carts, but notice the large ones designed for parents with babies and toddlers are in abundance. I ventured inside; I did not really need anything much so I feel like I can make my selections without the aid of a cart, but I did find a lone abandoned one to utilize. My peers were out in force, moving up and down the aisles with purpose if not with speed. We smiled from behind our masks at one another as we approached the check-out area. I went to self -service to avoid the wait, after all I AM a busy retired lady. I asked the attendant if I needed anything to note I am to get the senior discount he politely scanned his barcode, and I was ready to go. I was not asked for I.D. nor was I questioned about my age to determine eligibility. I simply checked out and proceeded to the parking lot.

I casually glanced around, noticing once again the gray brigade out in force. In a passing thought I found myself annoyed at the speed in which one of my elderly brethren was moving, I wanted to return my cart to the designated area but continue to be socially distance. Finally, the way was cleared, I thought of my mom later in life and how she vehemently objected to going to senior centers, because as she would say, she did NOT want to be around a bunch of old people. What has our society done to us? Then it occurred to me that with that small break in price (given and taken at will) …the senior discount, we too were being slighted, reduced, and yes discounted.

I Wish I Could Dance

As I sit at my computer and listen to the silliest music ever (but I love it just the same) over and over again (my family get this), I find myself wanting to tap my foot sway my body, nod my head. I wish I could dance, because dancing seems to be a happy thing to do. This time of year, I just want to be happy. I just want the people I care about to be happy. Honestly, I want everyone to experience that kind of happy. However, I am VERY uncoordinated. I am also very aware of this fact and do not want to feel embarrassed by my lack of rhythm. I will sit on the sidelines to watch and admire others. My granddaughter and I dance together, but I am so bad that even she in her five years, recognizes Abuela  looks like she is in trouble so she better sit down. I imagine Kai (my grandson) when he gets older, will stop me as well. Smile, laugh, because I am and I do. They bring me unadulterated JOY.  Grandchildren do that for you.

A very good friend of mine, my Libra sister Tammy sent me a DVD of the Jackson Five cartoon series, now remember she sent the DVD to ME. Well I played the video while I was in Addison’s room(at my house) and she was engrossed on the computer. She stopped and came over sat besides me and started watching. Soon she was standing up singing along and dancing to the music from a 1971 cartoon. I got up and we danced together wildly..and this time she did not stop me. This went on for about 10 minutes solid.

So for no apparent reason at all, I needed a smile today and I thought of Addison, The Jackson Five and how I wished I could dance. Then I realized when those two circumstances come together whether or not I can, I do.

Old People and Getting Into Heaven?

More and more you see them, Bill Cosby(I know he is somewhat taboo these days but he is a point-of-reference..look up the routine) joked about them in a stand-up routine decades ago. He said,” That is NOT the person I grew up with!” Faces fixed with a seemingly genuine smile, talking to random strangers, and adoring the babies..all babies.  These kindly elderly folk will be given all the sweet consideration you have within.  Then there are the OTHERS, the ones who seemingly DEMAND respect but are ugly and disrespectful. The very same ones who at one time told a young person how “they” must respect their elders. Do you ever wonder who these people are and who they were in their past/earlier lives?

ALL of these folks were once smooth skinned, silken haired, athletic and energized. They were the “go-getters”. Now they are captured by the worn, broken and damaged vessels; some flicker in and out of rational consciousness, but all are left to navigate the remainder of their lives in a condition they certainly did not select.

Funny, we never think about people’s condition beyond what is set directly before us. That is until we are faced with circumstances that force our hands. The elderly gentleman who appears to be homeless in our neighborhood asking for food..we never think he has a home of his own and people who love him waiting there. Yet, if we knew this we would likely wonder why he is doing what we perceive as begging. However, one must be careful there is likely an explanation that reaches far beyond what we have time to examine as we rush to work.

What do you say when the well dressed older lady approaches you, as you sit in the park, and proceeds to curse you for no apparent reason. How can you know she has been a widow for 30 years, today is the anniversary of her husband’s death, and you look quite a bit like the doctor who told her her beloved mate was gone.

You may think the solution is to spend more time with them, or their loved ones should keep them under control. Do you realize these people still have some control and wills of their own? Do you realize that none of us can help anyone who does not want or will not accept that same help? I think these same folks feel “themselves slipping away”, away to a place where they do not know what to expect, and they are afraid. A feeling that they probably have not had, in an overt sense, for many years.

Faith is challenged each and every day; where is their faith now, where will yours be when YOU are faced with this from someone you love. They look and sound like your loved one, but many times the one YOU knew is not consciously in the present with you. Now YOU must pray, not only for them but yourself as well.

As our time continues to move forward, as we forget names and dates I wonder how we will react. I suggest you be kind and understanding when you meet these people, any of them. Perhaps the ones trying to gain entrance into Heaven may actually be us;  by what we do we are determining our fate and we may be occupying a similar “place” in the near future. How do you want to be dealt with?

Twice A Child V-LIVING

Okay,  here we are and we now know,  It is what it is.  Trouble is where do we go from here? What do we do, how do we cope now that life has changed on us, where are the solutions ?

This is a very difficult entry for a couple of reasons. Due to the fact it is the final entry for this series, as well as it is something that I am currently experiencing. I do not know how to feel from day to day. Am I guilty because I am not right there physically, in the “trenches” or does my guilt come from relief that I am not there in the “trenches”. Is my bravery and acceptance a disguise for fear and denial. Do I keep busy so that I am not in a state of constant infantile bawling, because the person I love, respect, need is no longer here with me. Yet an image and a sound-bite tells me different.  What is it like for her; trapped by her surroundings real and imaginary. Moments of being seemingly lucid only to be followed by complete confusion. She is angry, she is determined, and she is afraid.

The process of life gives you 9 months to prepare for the arrival of new life, yet when life ends it is a flash. Be it prolonged illness that feels like it will never end or a sudden unexpected accident, the truth is life still does stop in the cessation of one tiny breath. The deterioration of the mind is a cruel painful experience. Each time I see a lost soul walking down the street I fight the growing lump in MY throat, because I know that IS someones loved one.

Think about scenarios you have witnessed, someone speaking crossly to a poor soul weak and frail. Nurses and doctors along with family members  trying to hold down a silver haired being who is screaming and fighting with ever bit of their strength. The Aging Process can be cruel. You do not witness that poor frail person being spoken to in a cruel fashion telling their child how bad each and everything they try to do is, yu do not see the silver haired person fighting off nurses, doctors and loved ones throwing things when they don’t get their way or wandering off time and again without a trace. You don’t have the “luxury” of knowing the worry, the pain, the frustration, the hurt that WILL take it’s toll on an able-bodied strong human being. Try not to judge as an outsider, as an observer. As a participant, buckle yourself in this is GOING to be a rough ride. There it is life coming straight at you; yet YOU can be blind-sided, YOU can get the sucker punch in your face. There is no preparation for this experience.

I recall aging friends and family members who have been confined to assisted living facilities, convalescent hospitals,etc. I can clearly see the faces of folks I do not know lined up in the hallway or sitting in a chair in their solitary rooms. Some faces cry out for help, some stare blankly ahead. We, the ones left behind search for a glimmer of hope, a slight chance that the person we love will return.. Medical science has yet to  figure out a way to release the mind from the confines it sometimes finds itself locked in. Therefore we are left with that hope, that prayer the one we love will one day come back. How heartless would we be if we said,”They are gone forever”. How heartbreaking is it to know and feel that very same thing. I wish I could tell you how to accept,” My loved one is gone and I didn’t even get to say good-bye”. I cannot. Remember your heart is fragile and so is your soul. Try to keep loving them even if they are not aware, even if they are mean to you…try to remember the love.

 

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