Saturday, 5 October 2013
Ageing - When is it alright to admit to being OLD?
Never one to willingly admit to being old (not the same thing as admitting my age), I feel the time is approaching when it will be necessary for my own survival to say openly "I am quite old and need a bit of help".
Yesterday shopping in town I left M & S to cross the High Street, three heavy bags in hand and made the fatal error of not heading for a taxi. Instead I passed half a dozen of them on my determined way to the bus stop.
The bus in question was a small single-decker with only a few (already occupied) seats at the front, and the rear seats were up a couple of steps. By now my arms were aching and it was a struggle to get to the seat.
Arrived at my stop, having to reverse the procedure and climb back down to the front I dropped one bag, had to stop, holding up the bus while I gathered it - and my wits - together and started the walk home.
This is a mere eighth of a mile or so yet, by the time I reached my doorstep my arms were nearly pulled out of their sockets and my back was aching abominably.
Dropping the bags into an armchair I fell into another one and sat for 10 minutes before I could face putting everything away.
By then my back was so painful I could hardly move and I abandoned all attempt to do anything else but lie down and rest.
Later I phoned to apologise for my non appearance at choir rehearsal, feeling a total twit.
This morning I spent half an hour doing a bit of dead-heading and light pruning in the front garden, a job which even two years ago would have taken me five minutes.
Glumly returning indoors to start cleaning the house, I suddenly realised, this is what getting old is about.
Not looking despondently in a mirror wishing one's youthful face to appear, rather than a lined, drooping sagging old wreck. Not even looking wistfully at young slim women and thinking "I used to look like/better than, that". Not even waiting in vain for an appreciative wolf-whistle as in days of yore.
No, old age is about not being able or even wanting to do the everyday tasks which were tackled so lightly and unheedingly only months? well years ago.
Unfortunately the human body does not arrive complete with repair kit and spare parts, so the wearing-out process takes its toll.
Many people I know are far less able than I to go about their everyday business without aid, and I am grateful for my own reasonably good health and strength, but oh dear, the time is arriving when asking, paying for assistance for even simple little things will be the stuff of life and I do not relish the thought.
So, back to my original question. When is it alright to admit to being O L D?
Posted by Ray Barnes at 1:22:00 pm