Musings on Growing Old

by Dan Roberts

I’ve become an absent-minded, decrepit, sleep-deprived, unfit, anti-social, wrinkled image of my former self.

For one thing, I’m forgetting words mid-sentence.  My listeners usually suggest a few words until either they either lose interest or hit upon a good substitute, at which time I forget what I was talking about anyway.

Then there are teenagers’ words. My granddaughter said, “Juicy woodeye rodinyer birdie car?” I told her I think her mouth is set at 78 rpm, while my brain still turns at 45. She said, “What?” . . . End of conversation. 

Speaking of food, I’ve lost so many teeth, the only thing I can chew is yogurt. I’d be willing to let a juicy steak melt in my mouth, but I can’t afford the steak . . . or the time.

And sleep. Even if I could sleep more than two hours straight, my incontinence wouldn’t allow it. At least I get twenty-or-so minutes of snooze time on the toilet. Sometimes I doze off riding the stairlift, so that helps, too.

I takes so long going to the next room, I forget why. I could write myself a reminder, but I couldn’t read it even if I could find a notepad. Or a pen that works. Or remember why I’m going to the next room.

I’ve gotten shorter, weaker, and smellier. I think I’m decomposing early. 

The only productive exercise I get is when I trim my toenails.  I can’t reach my pinky toe, though, so that nail’s just going to have to fall off on its own.

I used to lift weights. Now the only weight lifting I do is when I stand up. 

No one calls, no one answers. I would leave a message, but by the time I remember who I’m calling, why I’m calling, and my phone number, I get beeped.

The only times I get out are for weddings and funerals. I don’t mind ceremonies and church services, but receptions make me meshuga. I can’t dance from the waist down, bright lights blind me, alcohol makes me tip over, and cake makes me sleepy. Plus, I can’t hear or understand a word anyone is saying, so I sit silently in the corner wondering things like how I know the word meshuga when I’m not even Jewish.

I remember when I was under-age. No alcohol, no sex, no driving, and no one listened to me. Now I’m over-age. No alcohol, no sex, no driving, and the only time anyone listens to me is through a stethoscope. 

I’ve been on the shelf so long, I think I’m reaching my expiration date.

Why is my body wrinkled everywhere except where no one can see it?

Here are ten things I’ve learned as I’ve grown old:

1. Gravity is not my friend.
2. If I can see well enough to look for my glasses, I’m wearing them.
3. If the walk from someplace is as far as the walk to it, there’s a 50% chance I won’t make it back.
4. Waking up in the same position that I fell asleep doesn’t mean I’m dead.
5. Waking up is usually a good sign.
6. I can save money by not buying extended warranties or 25-year paint and caulk.
7. I can’t come up with ten things I’ve learned.

So with that, my musings end with this little rhyme: 

If you’re growing old like me, I know you understand.
If your trek is yet to be, enjoy it while you can.
If your remaining time is long, may you live it in peace.
If your spirit is strong, may your blessings increase.