It is never too late to be who you might have been.
In old age we are like a batch of letters that someone has sent. We are no longer in the past; we have arrived.
Let’s face it – growing old, as someone once said, “is not for the weak.” As a woman of a certain age who works and interacts with both our twenty-something staff and our seniors here at Legacy Gardens, I find myself relating to both ends of the spectrum, sometimes with unexpected consequences.
I try to think of myself as an inhabitant of the planet of middle age, but then I do the math and realize that unless I plan on living to the age of 110, I am not only over the hill but coasting down the back side of it. It probably started the first time some fresh-faced stock boy snot at the grocery store called me “M’am” and I had to hold myself back from smacking him. Or maybe it is when I am coloring my hair, again, or looking at my own hands and seeing – God Forbid –age spots.
Remember the great scene in the movie When Harry Met Sally (no, not the scene in the diner, so get your mind out of the gutter, please!). It’s the one where Billy Crystal’s character Harry muses that his much younger girlfriend may be even too young for him. “I asked her where she was when Kennedy was shot and she said, ‘Oh, my gosh! Ted Kennedy was shot?!’” Like that. Sadly, probably none of our twenty-something staff would get the joke. Sigh….
But then I look at myself and realize, hey wait just a minute! I am physically in the best shape I have been in years. I have been married 25 plus years and we are still speaking to each other. I am at my professional best and I get to blog to my heart’s content. I have more sick time than anyone else in the building because I am never sick. Because at age 55, I look and feel great and I have a job, a family, and a life that energizes me. And I am blessed to spend part of my life with a wonderful group of seniors who shows me every day that life gets better and every day is worth living.
These seniors also keep me humble. Lest I get too complacent, I can always count on one of my favorite Legacy Gardens residents, Irene, to reel me back to reality.
One morning after I had finished making homemade waffles for the residents’ breakfast, I was taking off my apron when Irene called me over to her table and said, “Mary, I have a question for you. Every Wednesday morning you come out here and make us these wonderful waffles, but I never see you eat one. Why is that?” When I responded, “Well, Irene, I am watching my girlish figure,” she laid her hand on my arm, patted me sympathetically, and said, “Oh, honey, it’s way too late for that.”
Yes, I have arrived.