In the last few years, I have gotten in touch with my aging. I am not sure I have anything more to say than any other woman of sixty-nine. I am a Native American woman, so that may show some differences. But otherwise, aging is not only my topic.
The first thing I did when preparing to write a book about aging, was I looked to see what is already published on aging. I don’t think there will be much overlap.
The second and this is important to say is how I know I am aging and what may tell you that you are becoming an elder. I am not okay with being an old person! I am an elder, I’m not a senior citizen or an old woman!
I understand if you don't care. You have gotten used to it or aren't there yet.
I found myself scolding a younger guy after I read his article on caring for an old person. He had written in his short article old or older person, 17 times. That would upset anyone. Any older person.
Some young guy talking about how to care for elders was another thing that I had some difficulty understanding until I remembered my mother's caregivers were all young men and women when she was in a nursing home for rehabilitation.
It was cute when my grandson said I am older than dirt when I was 59 as I didn’t feel old at all! Now I am close to 70 and feeling like I’m getting old.
In my culture, I have been considered an elder since I was 55 (some will say I was a baby elder at 55). Everywhere else in this country, it is 62 or 65 and getting later.
Why am I feeling the titles now? Let me explain:
Wings – I have wings, like bat wings flapping in the breeze while riding my motorcycle. I don’t know this for sure. I just happened to see another woman whose arms were flapping as she rode on the back of someone’s motorcycle.
I have a motorcycle and I have those arms that have that loose skin, so I’m just guessing that is my condition on my bike as well!
The other noticeable sagging skin is under your face. Some have it real bad, others not so much. I have some sagging in my jaw line and an occasional saggy chest area, above the boobs.
Crepey skin – it looks like crepe paper only it’s your skin. My skin is thinner. Not as thin as when I’ve seen women in their 90’s and 100’s though. It has started just this year.
It is difficult to find pictures of crepey skin or closeups of wrinkles on women, closer to my age. I may use photos of me and mine in my book. The photo above has a collagen product that I just discovered when I found this photo. Without a before and after photo, I would not use it.
Wrinkles – the worst are the ones that go down from the corners of my mouth. It may be called something else but the only other thing I can think of is howdy doody mouth. If you can't picture this, google him. Wrinkles started at a younger age, I could see them by my eyes and on my forehead by the time my children were grown.
I think raising teenagers will give you wrinkles.
When I was talking to my husband about my signs of aging, he didn’t want to hear about it. I already know that he doesn’t notice anything. Makeup or no makeup, he doesn’t know, or at least he says he doesn’t notice anything different.
Grey hair – I don’t have shiny grey hair – it is dull grey, showing more on some days than others. My mother was a salt and pepper yet when she died at 75. I’m guessing it will be that way for me too. I think that is my Native American ancestry.
Shrinking – I have lost 2.5 inches of my height and at this rate, I will be under 5 feet before I am gone. I always wondered if my husband's aunt, who was such a tiny woman in her 90’s was always so short. She didn’t reach my shoulders.
She was definitely under 5 feet at 103.
Yellowing teeth/losing teeth – I only have one lost tooth, but my teeth have not been the whitest for many years. I don’t use a whitener. I have used the toothpaste on occasion, however, I always think it is probably hard on the teeth.
No one asks about teeth whitening when I go to the dentist and I probably can’t afford anything so then I go without any help for my yellowing teeth!
Hunched over – my mother would always remind me about poor posture. I remember the nuns in catholic school were always saying sit up straight. My sister told a story about a nun putting a ruler behind her back and telling her to sit up straight.
Dealing with stiffness – from sitting in one spot for more than an hour, whether in the car, at home on the computer, or anywhere. Then it takes time to move easily again. I imagine at some point I won’t get the moving easily back!
Comments about incontinence – like it’s expected! I have been asked about it over and over like, of course, I have incontinence, I am old. I don’t, but it sounds like I can expect it. I thought that is why Kegels were pushed on me after pregnancies, so I don’t struggle with incontinence.
Memory issues – this deserves a whole chapter. And it comes up soon in my book. There may be too much for some in that chapter, but that is what happens when I want to learn about what will happen if I get dementia or alzheimers.
I take “Happy PMS”, which I wish was around when I had my worst pms at age 37, some say it was during their pregnancies when they couldn’t keep anything down. It is a natural topical progesterone cream.
It helps me with my memory. I am guessing I have always had too much estrogen and not enough progesterone. Taking the cream means going off of it for 5 days a month, and during that time, I have no memory.
I have little to no memory of names, places, what I am doing or not doing, what I just started to say, etc.
When pregnant you don’t take those breaks, until delivery and when nursing.
There are, of course, more symptoms that are not quite mine yet! Hearing loss and sight loss are big for some for example. Not mine yet. I was borderline for glasses for the last two years. I have used reading glasses for several years now.
Many of my friends have hearing aids. They are significantly better than they used to be and many can't be seen.
Other areas are balding or hair loss, sexual difficulty, like erection difficulty, interest or libido, and loss of muscle mass. Then just a few others. Well, maybe several more that we may or may not get into.
It is so good if we can laugh at aging. Humor is good medicine! Sometimes the best thing for aging is our resilience and resilience comes from laughing at ourselves and with others that we can relate to. Not at others, unless they can handle it.
As I was writing this on November 3, 2023, I wrote, I am going to take a nap as I am very tired and planning to go out on the town this evening for the First Friday art walk in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. A nearby town that I live by has an art walk, every first Friday of the month.
Then I wrote, my nap didn’t work as I forgot to turn my ringer off on my phone and a friend called to complain about a group that we both spoke to.
She offered to call later, but I was now awake, kind of. And once I heard the topic, I wanted to hear the rest of the story. Can you say I am nosey? I don’t know if I would go that far. Read my book and you tell me.
About the Creator
I am married with 7 children, 26 grands, and 11 great-grandchildren. I am a culture consultant part-time. I started writing A Poem a Day in February 7 years ago. I wrote 4 - 50,000 word stories in NaNoWriMo. Writing on Vocal/Medium now.