Sunday, February 6, 2011
Golden Years? Who the HELL dreamed that up?
I talk to my sister, Donna, on the phone every Tuesday. Most of our conversations are about how we are both coping on a day-t0-day basis. I have to admit her life is more interesting than mine. She has three sons, two of them are close to her, all three have kids of various ages. The oldest has three: two are married, the third is going to community college. The middle son has two, a son who is married with one child, and a daughter in high school. The youngest is married with three kids: all under six years old. It is usually these latter grandchildren who dominate the conversation. I have one unmarried daughter who has no interest in children or old people. That includes me. I can understand why she has such an aversion to the elderly. She was dragged along on visits to a series of nursing homes where her grandmother (her mother's mother) was housed after she fell and broke her hip. This woman was never going to win Grandmother of the Year. She was the most demanding and selfish woman I ever met. To make matters worse, she didn't talk, she screeched! Her voice grated on you like fingernails on a chalkboard. She did nothing to rehabilitate after her accident but complain about everything. She had complained about everything all of her life. It was a constant gripe session. No wonder the girl hated being around her. I did, too, but had to bite my tongue for my wife's sake. Now, I, too, am old. At 71, with not much to talk about except my writing, my shop projects (which do not interest my daughter), and my aches and pains, there is little to engender a desire to be around me. And besides, she live 40 miles from me. My golden years are severely tarnished. I have a mind full of marvelous things to do, but a body than won't let me do them. I had to give up my motorcycle, one of my greatest joys about a year ago, and I miss it. When I lost it, I not only lost a means of transportation, I lost the freedom and exhilaration that came with riding it. There is no other way to put it: getting old sucks. If I could catch the person who came up with the notion of Golden Years, I would rip out their tongue and beat them over the head with it.