Lebanon Reporter

March 26, 2013

Aging gracelessly on down side

By Ginger Truitt
Reporter columnist

— At 43 years old, it’s probably time to stop saying, “when” I become middle-aged, and accept that I’ve arrived. I don’t know what the official marker is for middle-aged, but I seriously doubt I’m going to make it to 86.

I have found that aging is actually kind of fun, because all of my peers are doing it, too. I’ve always been susceptible to peer pressure though, so when my 25th class reunion rolls around this summer, I’ll be on my guard if they start passing around the Geritol.

Once I hit 35, I began to realize that nearly every life experience is universal. This is why old people just sit back and smile when the young folk get all up-in-arms about some issue or another. They’ve been there, done that, and got the T-shirt to prove it.

And even though there are some things that, as young people we swear we will never do, they are inevitable. For example, when I was 19 I moved in with my widowed grandmother. The two of us would sit at her little kitchen table, and she would say, “I just can’t eat bell peppers anymore, they make me so gassy.” This was punctuated by covering her mouth with the back of her hand and releasing a small burp.

I swore no matter how old I got, I would not give up my favorite foods due to gas, nor would I apologize for eating them. Then, a few months ago, I went through a serious burping stage. It got so bad that hubby started remarking, “My goodness, woman! What is wrong with you?”

The bad thing is, I never felt it coming. I’d be talking along, and halfway through a sentence, bwaaaah, out would come this huge, man-sized burp. I’d cover my mouth with the back of my hand and say, “I just can’t eat onions anymore, they make me so gassy.”

I also said I would never avoid sitting on the floor if my excuse was that it would be too difficult to get back up. But once again, I find myself channeling my grandmother. If she wanted to play games with the kids or help put their puzzles together, she would place them on the foot of her recliner. I don’t have a recliner, so I make do by pulling the coffee table closer to my chair. In the words of my grandmother, my father and every other old person I’ve ever known, “It’s not getting down that’s the problem; it’s getting back up.”

When my parents were about the age I am now, they started going to the tanning bed. I thought it was silly that old people would put that much effort into trying to look good. I mean seriously, when you’re that old who cares what you look like?

Hubby and I are tanning bed regulars now. I have never seen him with a tan before and I gotta say, it’s very, very pleasant. It became more pleasant after I convinced him to start tanning with his socks off.

I don’t run because it hurts my hips. I don’t drink caffeine after 4 p.m. if I want to sleep that night. At bedtime, I wear a wrinkle cream that smells remarkably like my great-grandmother.

I have changed the color of my hair dye to blend the gray rather than cover it. I squint at people in the store, to determine if I recognize them or not. When I do wear my glasses, I push them onto my forehead while reading, and move them back down to see the TV. Recently, I found myself perusing a selection of eyeglass chains, but am not quite ready to make that commitment.

In a crazy fit of trying to prove God-knows-what, I attempted a cartwheel in the backyard. Medical attention probably would have hastened my recovery, but I was raised on the philosophy that people who get hurt doing stupid stuff don’t deserve to go to the ER. This is why I will never make it to 86.  

Truitt is an author, speaker and mother of five. Find her on Facebook, Twitter (@GingerTruitt) and Pinterest, or visit http://www.gingertruitt.com.