Monday, March 13, 2006


Unless we go to our Heavenly Rewards, we all get older. This is a fact that just cannot be ignored or refuted, no matter how many Botox injections you indulge in to mask the results of aging. The signs of aging do not come overnight, but creep up on you slowly, like kitten feet in the shadows of evening. One minute you have jet black hair. The next minute there is a strand of gray. Pluck that one and another one arrives. They just keep coming.

The thing is, hair can be bleached or dyed or even turned a lovely shade of bluish white until it is a beauty to behold. You may have wrinkles on the face, but your hair can be a crowning glory until you are placed in that final satin resting place. You may not look so good from the front, but from the rear, you can look as though you have drank heartily from the fountain of youth!

However, some parts of aging are not so easily disguised or embellished. For instance, there is the problem of getting down, and getting back up. When you are young, you spring around like a lamb, hopping and jumping, with no effort expended at all. Not so, when you are older. Hopping and jumping are out, unless you are afflicted with a permanent, debilitating hop and jump, which frequently happens. But the problem of getting down on the floor to perform a chore, then rising again, is one that could use the services of a hoist, but seldom does. It is up to each person to figure out a way to do it.

Getting down isn't so bad. You just bend and plop. Unless you have very fragile bones, this is easy, and usually involves landing on the derriere that is pillowed to an extent where soft landings are not difficult. It is getting back up where the real problems enter the picture.

Sometimes, if you are lucky, there is a table or chair or some solid, stationary object nearby that you can latch onto with a grip as strong as a vise and thus pull yourself upward. But, at other times, you are on your own and the trip upward can be a sight to behold.

This upward thrust usually involves flipping over to face the floor, or the earth, if you are outside doing some gardening. Then, you go into what I call the pyramid position, the toes touching the earth at one point, and your hands gripping the earth at the other, your bottom pointing skyward. Then you bend one knee, if you are fortunate enough to still have knees, and thrust upward with all of your strength. This will result in a sort of bent standing position that looks similar to a football player's crouch. But, if you flex the back muscles and wriggle around a bit, you will find yourself erect enough to continue with your life.

When you become older, your horizons shrink. For instance, when you are young, you think of next year or ten years from now, or even twenty or thirty. No young person ever thinks too seriously of ever getting old, so they feel free to envision a youthful life extending into infinity. Old people do not do this. They seldom plan for next year. They do think about the next day, the next week, and the very optimistic, think of next month or even next year. That's about as far as it goes.

Most older people hope they are the first of their family and friends to die. With acquaintances, it is different. It is always a bit uplifting to read an obituary and see where Joe Blow, that guy who was the friend of a friend, passed away when he was even younger than you. But, on the other hand, it is a frightening thing to see your real friends and family passing on, leaving you to face an old age with no support at all. That would be Limbo, the end of the world as you have known it.

Another secret of aging that I can reveal to you is the fact that your eyebrows go haywire. Now, I am speaking of women, since I know nothing of these processes when it comes to men. I used to have very nice eyebrows. They were pretty little things, like dark wings above my eyes, great for frowning or looking startled. But, with aging, the hairs in my eyebrows seem to want to grow straight out. And since you can't walk around with your eyes embellished by hairs standing at attention above them, you can only pluck, clip or lather them with some substance akin to glue that will possibly keep them in position.

The reason that chin hairs frequently plague older women is because the entire hair population of your body repositions itself. Spots that had an abundance of hair suddenly have none, and spots formerly free of hair begin sporting them. This happens with fat deposits, too, but this is not only indicative of aging. Younger people have fat deposits, too. In fact, it seems that everything in America is being downsized except the people themselves and obesity has become a problem.

Aging is an interesting process because it brings out a Herding Instinct in your children. I have one son who is a true Shepherd. If I walk with him down the street, he propels me along with his hand on my back and keeps saying things like "This way, Mom!" "Be careful, Mom, there's a car coming!" "Turn here, Mom!" For him, it must seem something like shepherding a herd of recalcitrant sheep through the maze. I'm sure he sighs with relief when he finally gets me into a car or somewhere safe.

Aging isn't so bad if you go slowly when you rise from a sitting position and wait for the juices to flow and your muscles to limber. There are some aches and pains associated with it, and the array of medications to alleviate them is staggering. The fewer medications taken, the fewer side effects...because, if you are aging, you don't need side effects. The effects at the front and the back, the top and the bottom are bad enough as it is.