Don’t Hate Me For Being Old, But Don’t Love Me For It, Either

old woman BandWI’ve written before about being old, not because I’m proud of it or sad about it or wanting to exploit my age when all else fails (okay, I may have done that), but whenever I do it I feel the need to apologize for even bringing it up.  Talking about old age is boring.  It may be more boring than any other subject I know, except maybe that talk about having to walk a mile to school in a snowstorm.  Without boots.  Or a hat.

Aging is something that happens without our permission.  No matter what those ads say, it is permanent, irrevocable and out of our control.  In my case, aging doesn’t change who I am or alter the fact that I really, truly believe I’ll live forever.  Crinkly skin and creaking bones aside, I’m doing okay.

But  here I am, talking about it again.

I’ve been having trouble with one knee lately, so I’m using a walking stick.  That damned stick has changed everything!  Suddenly, people are all over me, wanting to help.  They lean into me (in case I’m hard of hearing, too), and use their best Kindergarten voices to let me know they’re there and they’re ready to help.

My god, I’m in Hell.

Sometimes I do need help.  Don’t we all?  But it’s not because I’m old, it’s because help is what I need.

Something else has happened:  Now, suddenly, because I walk with a stick and look the way I do, I am no longer capable of helping anyone else.  Those days are over, either permanently or until I can throw away the crutch, dye the gray away, get Botox treatments, remove those eye bags, pull that chicken neck tighter, suck in that gut, and lift those useless, drooping boobs. (Can somebody please tell me why boobs keep growing as we age?  Don’t we have enough trouble staying upright?)

I can still walk a mile (though much slower and not in your shoes), troubleshoot my own and my daughters’ laptops, drive across the state without being afraid of flashing blue lights behind me, and virtually, though not literally, kick ass when certain politicians get out of line.

I can still laugh and joke and at least seem like I know what I’m talking about. I used to be pretty good at Trivial Pursuit,but now the answers seem to have to struggle through the tangles of my brain.  (I hear their teeny-tiny voices saying, “Wait!  I’m coming!” so I know they’re on their way.)  But, since Trivial Pursuit isn’t my life’s calling,  I’m okay with it.  I’ll manage.

So please let me help when I offer to help.  It may take me a little longer to get the thing done but I promise I won’t offer to do more than I’m able.

Do me a favor:  Do not smile and coo and throw roses my way because I’m old.  My age doesn’t require congratulations.  It’s the least of who I am.  And, for god’s sake, stop asking me how I’m feeling.  I feel like steaming horse dung some days but I felt dungish some days when I was young, too.

In fact, do me another favor:  Ignore everything I’ve said here.  Pretend we never had this conversation.

I’m really not myself today.


(Also published at The Broad Side, my favorite feminist website)


About constantcommoner

Ramona Grigg. Freelancer, blogger, essayist, photographer, dreamer. Island dweller. Yooper.
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Don’t Hate Me For Being Old, But Don’t Love Me For It, Either

  1. I’m so laughing right now! I think I may have to do a post on old age, too, but it won’t be as funny as this! And yeah, the boobs are ridiculous. Just like I think we should grow extra arms when we’re pregnant that go away once the kid can walk by themselves, the boobs need to just go away at some point in time. Having a belly button between them, is just not all that attractive.


  2. Di says:

    I loved this (and not because you’re old). I have this idea that age is a construct, especially as I age 🙂 Lovely writing and good luck with the knee and the walking stick.


    • Thanks, Di. I never thought much about age until I got to that point. I try not to think about it even now, but there’s always something to remind me.

      Going tomorrow for a cortisone shot in the knee. I should be dancin’ by midnight! Maybe.


      • Di says:

        Excellent news, the cortisone shot! I have more than a few much older friends. Age hasn’t come into it so far, as they’re usually fitter than me but mostly I’m not good at seeing the exterior. Good luck tomorrow.


        • Had the shot today and my doc (I LOVE my doc) assured me I wouldn’t feel it at all. “Sure”, I thought, but I swear, I didn’t feel it AT ALL. Not one little bit. Years ago I had a couple of cortisone shots and they hurt like hell. Doc says it’s because they were barbarians who used needles that were too thick. Not necessary, he says.

          So now we’ll see how much relief I get. But if I get none, at least I can say the shot didn’t hurt!


  3. Nedra Dinger says:

    This is my first giggle of the day. Those cortisone shots should help. But above all that, to treat age with a sense of creative humor and irony is truly a gift to those of us who “read” this but it is just plain healthy; boobs and all! Love you


    • Love you, too, dear cuz. Had the shot (see above) and it feels better already. I’ll see how it feels when I get out of bed in the morning. That’s the real test. He says I don’t need knee surgery and may never. That’s great news!


  4. Anonymous says:

    I guess when you get to that social ignorant point, the point where society sees you as useless, you have to fight harder. We don’t grow old gracefully do we, we go down fighting the knees, boobs, and attitudes. Great blog, I’ll remember your advice. I’ll go down hard…..


  5. paintedjaguar says:

    Hey, walking uphill both ways in a snowstorm doesn’t have to be boring. Ever read Robert Paul Smith’s wonderful 1957 memoir “Where Did You Go? Out. What Did You Do? Nothing.”?


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