I Am Retired But I Am Not Old
Old age is a mental state - ignore the body
This morning, I stood in the bathroom looking hard into the mirror. The corners of my eyes looked like somebody had crumbled a piece of paper and then attempted unsuccessfully to smooth it out. A little extra pudge rolled over the top of my pajama bottoms and my hands resembled the hide of a giraffe — tan with random brown spots of differing sizes and shapes. Whatever occurred in my dreams last night wreaked havoc with my body. I recall dreaming about aging and turning into an old lady who hunched over at the shoulders, always wore a support bra to keep her breasts from sweeping the floor and shuffled when she walked.
It was a relief to wake up and see old age had not consumed my body — yet.
Then I started thinking, never good before my coffee. What does old age look like? When is a person considered old? These thoughts bounced around in my head for awhile and then I forgot them. I mean, I really just simply forgot what I was thinking about, so I went on with my day.
Coffee first, then a high fiber breakfast provided nourishment. I needed food to settle the jitters from the coffee and then keep my stomach from getting upset when I digested the morning meds. I counted out two Fiber Well Gummies to round out my drug buffet.
Since retiring, mornings moved slower and the pace suits me. Proceeding with my daily practices, I flossed using those plastic green picks, (the handles are so much easier than wrapping that string around my fingers), brushed with Sensodyne paste designed for sensitive teeth and maximum whitening power (for the coffee stains), washed with anti-aging cleanser, and applied Neutrogena Wrinkle Repair cream under my eyes — the kind advertised on TV with retinol. I adore all these new and improved products.
After evenly spreading flesh-toned cover-up to my face, I began to recognize myself but noticed that the mole on my forehead grew large. I am not sure if more time in the morning increases my awareness of my imperfections or if something else is happening, but concern added another tiny crease to my collection. Finding the 5X magnification daunting, I rotated the vanity mirror to greet a face of normal proportions smiling back.
A thought from earlier invaded my mind as I wondered if a person must look old to be old.
While drinking my third cup of coffee, my husband and I started a list of should-do items. Another great fact about retirement is there are seldom any must-do tasks on the list. The change in season would soon bring icy roads (at our age we don’t like driving when the streets are slippery) so we planned some needed appointments.
We headed to Costco. Randy grumbled a little but no more than usual. We scheduled a time with the ophthalmologist to get new glasses. With the time change, it gets dark earlier making it harder to drive. Randy’s hearing aids needed adjusting – no appointment necessary.
We needed to refill prescription for arthritis inflammation, high blood pressure, and hormones. Randy reminded me to add Band-aids to the shopping list. When asked why he had a Band-aid on his arm, he explained he scratched it on the car door. His thin skin bleeds so easily now-a-days. I wonder which prescription thickens the skin.
With a plan for the day, I proceeded to dress, making sure to put on the control top underwear to conceal any unsightly bumps, pulled a casual, loose fitting sweater over my head and laced up my maximum cushioned, extra stability, size 9 (I used to wear an 8) running shoes with the Good Feet insoles to support my fallen arches. Dressed for comfort, I was ready to run errands. (Thus, the reason I wore the shoes. It’s not like I actually run anywhere!)
While in Costco we completed the necessary tasks and enjoyed a filling lunch of the samples offered at the end of each aisle.
Our next stop took us to the hair salon. Randy patiently read a book while he waited for me. He brought the Kindle, a priceless invention because the novel’s pages are backlit, and the print can be enlarged to enhance the reading experience. I had actually forgotten about the appointment until the phone sent a reminder.
My visit took a little longer than usual, because I needed to cover up my mistake. Let me explain. Randy applies some wash-in dye to mute the grey tints in his hair. (I am not supposed to tell anyone so don’t mention it.) Since I hadn’t had time to get my hair done, I thought I would borrow a little bit of his, only to discover there is a reason it is called Just For Men. Upon exiting the shower, my hair took on a tie-dye appearance with streaks of greenish-blue offset by splotches of chestnut brown.
After the dye and cut, we waxed. I have the eyebrows done professionally since I can’t see the tiniest black hairs and I do not want to look in that magnifying glass if I don’t have to. The wax was already warmed to the perfect temperatur and she removed the hairs on my chin at the same time When we exited I thought, “I am sure glad I am not old yet! This is a lot of work.”
Before going home, Randy and I met friends for dinner. It is nice to not have to cook and since we order off the senior menu, it is not too expensive. Sometimes we split a meal. We enjoy a meal with these friends most Monday evenings. Years ago, we shared stories about childbirth and the men compared tales of their vasectomies. Now, we discuss colonoscopies and chiropractic adjustments — or the number of times we got out of bed to pee. Tonight, I asked if anyone else farts uncontrollably throughout the day — apparently not.
In the parking lot, we parted and someone shouted, “Don’t start any long novels.” We snickered. I farted but the laughter drowned it out, or everyone was too polite to mention it, or the batteries on the hearing aids were dead. Dang, we forgot to buy new batteries.
Well, it is 9:00 p.m. so we agreed to call it a night as it has been a full day. Ah, the luxury of retirement. Glad I am not old because this is a wonderful time of life that I hope to enjoy for many years.