Saturday, January 7, 2012

I'm sorry--it's a rerun. But it's been busy here lately. One More Summer came out last week and I gotta tell you, the fifth book is as fun and exciting as the first one. Thank all of you for adding to the fun part, and speaking of exciting...

Since I’ve grown older, I write a lot about...well, about growing older. About grandkids and the unkindness of gravity and how to stay married when single looks like more fun. About how difficult the workplace is for those of us over 50, the fallibility of my knees, and how much I don’t like any rock music written after 1975. I wonder what’s happened to television and movies and I canceled my subscription to “People” magazine because no matter how beautiful and thin they are, I just can’t bring myself to continue reading about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

I also write that getting older is cool. It’s fun. Mentally and emotionally, it’s a whole lot better place than being young ever was. “Because I felt like it” is a good enough reason for doing something. “Because it was there” really is a viable reason for going somewhere. You can say “just because” any time you feel like it because...well, just because.

Then there is aging’s learning curve. About coming to know that the calendar that hangs in the laundry room is necessary, not decorative, because the truth is that I can no longer remember even the most basic of appointments. If my daughter asks me to pick the kids up on Thursday and it is only Monday when she calls, I tell her to call me again Wednesday night because I know I will forget and I am afraid I won’t check the calendar. While I hate missing a nail appointment, it’s worse if my grandsons are left waiting for the Nana who doesn’t show up.

I had laser eye surgery, so after 30-some years of wearing glasses to correct extreme nearsightedness, I can see 20/25 without correction and am thrilled to do so. However, I’ve learned to have reading glasses on every table in the house, in every purse I might carry, and in both of our cars. This comes in handy for reading menus, the back blurbs of paperback books, and warning labels on medication. (This is very necessary, because the consumption of medication has gone up proportionately with my age.)

I’ve learned that if I overuse joints, they will hurt a lot and if I underuse them, they will stiffen up in a matter of hours. I know that, while I can still work eight hours at my job, there is little of me left over for the rest of the day. Being someone who was unable to sit still for more than 10 minutes at a stretch, I used to sneer at people I considered couch potatoes; only now do I realize they weren’t potatoes at all, merely a long curlicue of peel that’s left after the potato is all used up.

Even with the coolness and the learning, there isn’t a lot of excitement. Sometimes I miss that. I’ll bet you do, too.

Oh, but wait...

The boyfriend—that’s my husband of two-thirds of my life—and I have rediscovered bowling. The truth is that I greatly resemble Ma Kettle as I approach the lane and my score would look more impressive on the golf course than it does at the bowling alley, but it’s fun.
We’ve discovered, as Lauren Bacall would say, the thea-tuh. We’ve seen comedies, musicals, and dramas, all of which have left us breathless. We’re going to see Scrooge in a week or so, to sit on the front row and have our disbelief suspended for a couple of hours.

I’ve rediscovered the charm of sitting on bleachers. Although I don’t go nearly often enough, there’s still nothing better to watch than school-age kids playing sports or singing Christmas songs on an elementary school stage.

And there’s where being older comes in handy, because regardless of things I’ve forgotten, there are more that I remember. I never walk into the theatre, the gymnasium, or a restaurant to be a critic. I walk in to be entertained, to be excited, to eat that which I haven’t had to cook. I know by now that it really doesn’t matter who wins or loses; it’s how the game is played that makes it worth watching. Perfection doesn’t matter; for the most part it’s unachievable and not much fun. It’s the doing, the watching, the music and the laughter, the unexpected three-point shot that are fun, are exciting.

So go ahead, live a little. Be excited.

Till next time.

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