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Annals of aging, part eleventeen

First, good news, FYI, the garden workshop is sold out.

Second, it’s hot but not as hot as France, and it smells glorious here on the deck because it poured last night. Everything is fresh and sweet and soft. But it’s especially Wayson’s gardenia that scents my life right now. I miss him every day.

But this post is about aging. My friend Annie was over today; she’s a few months older than I, 69 already, also grandmother of two, working full-time but retiring next year. I can’t imagine someone so powerfully focussed – she works with the Jesuit Forum on world-changing issues – without work, and I told her about Lynn in France, turning – no! – 70 in a few weeks and busier in retirement than ever. We talked about Mick Jagger prancing about after heart surgery, and of course, my indefatigable Macca, touring the world at 77. How our definitions of old have changed.

But when I told Annie that I’d be taking a nap after our lunch on the deck with rosé, she laughed. She doesn’t have time, but I have started to nap almost every afternoon, especially if I’m teaching in the evening, but even if not. Until recently, I never ever napped.

I have 3 medical appointments coming up shortly – a mammogram, an eye exam to test for glaucoma, and a dermatologist to remove the hideous white bumps on my forehead. They’re minuscule, but I can see them and I hate them. Trying to keep the physical plant going and keep the unsightliness to a minimum. But it’s there – the crepey drooping skin, the brown mottles on legs, chest, arms, hands, the deep grooves in the face. I spend at least ten minutes a day fixated on the magnifying mirror, to see what horrible thing has sprouted recently – pimples! moles! miscellaneous bumps! – and removing hair on upper lip and chin.

What’s wonderful, though, is that I really don’t care. It used to matter so desperately how I looked, but now – who sees me? Who cares how I look? I haven’t given up, I still keep fit and try not to wear clothes that would make my children cringe. And yes, to keep the hairs to a minimum. But otherwise, feh.

And don’t get me started on the body, the sore knees, the swollen fingers – I need to put cream on my hands at night to get my rings off – the creaking joints.

BUT I’m sitting on the deck with the magnolia and roses wafting my way, sparrows fluttering at the feeder, the garden lush and green – oh look, a dove and a cardinal and seven rosebuds about to open. I’ve just had supper – ham and fresh asparagus from the market this morning with more rosé. Randy Bachman is on the radio and later there are interesting shows on TV. I have money in the bank, health, healthy children and grandchildren, many things I like to do and work I love. Soon I will be 69, and I have to say, these are the best, the very best days of my life.

Yesterday Ben was over. He found a calculator and pressed it so rows of numbers came up, which he counted. “There’s fives – one, two, three, four, eleventeen, nineteen, twenty six.”

Decided that I’m eleventeen and shall remain so.

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2 Responses to “Annals of aging, part eleventeen”

  1. Claire Speed says:

    Love this entry Beth! So honest, and relatable…

  2. beth says:

    Claire, you are much younger than eleventeen and surely know nothing about creaking and sprouting… Glad you liked the post. Happy Canada Day.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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