No matter how I grouse and grumble about creaking joints and failing eyesight, I keep quiet when I am visiting my retirement home readers.
How can I complain when “Catherine” is in a wheel chair and struggling to read large print books? She has every right to be frustrated by her aging body. The other day she confessed with a sigh that she sometimes envies the other people on her floor who are mobile but whose minds are blunted by age. “They seem so happy. It doesn’t bother them to have staff do everything for them. They just don’t notice.”
Catherine, of course, is smart as a whip. Her brain can jump hurdles over the competition, so I was a bit distressed to hear her speculating about which would be preferable-- a cognoscente mind or a healthy body. (It is a different conversation when a really old person is weighing the choices.)
Coincidentally, I had recently been discussing physical decline (aka falling apart) with Sandra, a friend who reads my blog. She recalled telling an older lady that she looked wonderful, and the woman replied “Well, I used to look much better!” I whipped this story out for Catherine’s benefit, and we laughed together. We all used to look much better, we agreed. And wasn’t it a shame that we hadn’t appreciated it more at the time?
Knowing Catherine would soon be leaving for a “seated exercise” class, I offered one more bon mot from Sandra, a yoga devotee. She says that in spite of health problems, her aim is to be the very best version of herself that is possible under the circumstances. “Well”, Catherine replied, after I quoted my friend. “I guess I'll go and try to be my best 93-year-old self, then.” And she propelled herself down the hall.
You go, girl!