Turning 58 was a celebration, because of the bike ride I had accomplished, but more so because of the awareness of so many, who never get to be 58. When I was working at Williston State College, in my 40’s, we had the habit of celebrating birthdays. One of the instructors turned 50 and did not want a celebration; she wasn’t happy about getting older. Another instructor stopped in my office to visit about our lack of a birthday lunch for the psychology instructor. Jackie had Lupus and worked with her disease most days. Her comment is one I have never forgotten, “I am thrilled to gain every year, because I don’t know how many I will get.”
Do any of us know how many years we will get? I always had a smug satisfaction, because both of my grandmothers were in the 90 range, give or take a year, that I had familial longevity on my side; the death of my mother at 75 changed that feeling.
Granted Mom was a life-long smoker, a type-A, who lived a life filled with stress, much not of her own doing. While I am not a life long smoker, maybe two cigarettes in my life and parts of a couple of joints, I have the weight issue that my mother never had. I’m more diligent about my health care, get more exercise, and work fairly hard at being a type-b, but I have her genetics as well. Her father died of lung issues, while no autopsy was held, pneumonia was the official cause, but many of us suspected cancer. Mom also had a minor heart attack, that was undiagnosed for years, my paternal grandfather died of a heart attack, and my Dad has been saved from one by modern medicine a couple of times. My husband says, when I voice my worries, “We all have to die of something.” He is nothing if not pragmatic. 🙂
I am 58, if I’m allowed to survive for twenty more years, I will have three more than Mom. Thirty three more years, will give me the same time as her mother, I of course am hoping that along with the other traits of my maternal grandmother, that longevity will survive in me as well!
Do I fear death; of course I do, but not for the reasons I would have imagined at twenty. I want to see my grandchildren marry and have children of their own; I want to see my children to retirement, know they are all happy and successful in their life choices.. I want more time. I feel my body aches, even when I’ve done little. I try to remember the words of Elizabeth Taylor. She said she jumped out of bed every morning, ignoring the stiffness, and soreness and went on about her day.
Today I will enjoy today; hopefully next year, I will enjoy 59! Looking forward to longevity, praying for it, and counting on it. Live long and prosper. 🙂
One thought on “My body is getting older, my mind is fighting it….”
I love my birthday because it means I got what some others could never have and that was time. Time with others to share love, understanding, and kindness before we too run out of time. Celebrate every day you get!!