Saturday, 5 October 2013

Ageing - When is it alright to admit to being OLD?

This is a frequently revisited question but sadly, I think I know the answer.

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?


  1. My first thought was "NEVER!" but how about a shopping trundler to save carrying the heavy bags. They always seem light to start with and get heavier the further you carry them.

    1. I'd still have to manoeuvre it on and off buses and always find other people's a nuisance so no, I don't think so.

  2. I arrived where you are now some time ago! You have to admit to yourself if not the rest of the world that your body is not quite up to it! But not your brain. The essential you is still that young woman who could conquer the world!
    Take taxis, use a shopping trolley. They are badges of honour for survival!

    1. Hmmm. Just have to remember to take a taxi when I am over-loaded, or better still, never get over-loaded.

  3. Awwww ((((((((Ray))))))), I wish I could give you a real hug. I think Jean is right, and I love the thought of having badges of honour for survival! xxxx

    1. Cyber hug welcomed and accepted. Thanks Jane.
      Yes I think perhaps just accepting that I am 78 not 28 is the first step along the way.

  4. I think we're old when we feel old, Ray, and that can be an on-again, off-again situation. There are times when I feel very old (and I can give you at least 10 years) and times when I feel quite the reverse.

    Take taxis when you need to - it's still enormously cheaper than running a car you hardly ever use, which many older people insist on doing, and sometimes the bus just won't do. Getting help when you really need it isn't a sign of being past it, just sensible husbanding of your energies for other things.

  5. Eminently sensible as ever Perpetua, and I know you are right. It's just getting my heart to accept what my head knows only too well.
    Of course it does come and go but bodily strength is a finite resource and it would be as well to save it for what matters. (Currently trying to cope with a bad attack of eczema on my eyelids and forehead) Deep joy!

  6. Oh know ... and here I thought my secret was safe. But it seems you (and others) are feeling the ravages of time (sounds better than "old") too! I've come to value naps, lazy afternoons with a good book, puttering, and paying attention to the lower back pain that reminds me that too much is too much.

    You may be feeling some age, but I can assure you that your wit & humor are anything but dim.


  7. Thanks, as ever, Kathleen. My "wit and humour" as you so kindly call them are being very sorely tried at present by a very severe attack of eczema (on my face). The itching is merciless and though I daren't use my nails, I can't help rubbing. The result is a hugely swollen, red, lumpy face and can hardly see out of my eyes.
    Not life-threatening - at least not in the obvious way - but wretched-making.
    Sorry, it's early morning and my customary mask is not yet in place.
    Blessings also to you.

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  9. Thanks for sharing and being bold enough to confront the difficult topic of Age. (Apologies I have been having trouble signing into comments.) Freda at Dalamory

  10. Age is not pretty, nor is a time of life when energy and strength are in ready supply, but it can be very rewarding, and from my perspective is worth having. (Most of the time).