Monday, November 26, 2012

The Big Seven-Oh

Yep. Today is the day I turn seventy. How the heck did that happen so fast?

They say age is just a number, but I find that particular number a little sobering: both parents and two of my alloted four grandparents passed away in their seventh decade. What's even more sobering is that they seemed so much older than I think I am now. Sometimes I wish I could view myself through a younger person's eyes, although that perspective could be as skewed as my own, only in the opposite direction. (I remember clearly how old thirty seemed when I was seventeen:  Over. The. Hill.)

I feel better than I did ten years ago. That's a good sign, don't you think? I'm thinner, more agile, and have more stamina than I did then. I'm eating healthier foods, seeing my doctors on a regular schedule, and taking medications as prescribed--fewer medications these days, in fact. And I have good intentions about exercising more.

Nevertheless, I recognize the signs of wear and tear on my body. Neither my eyesight nor my hearing is as keen as it was ten years ago. Come to think of it, my nose isn't as sensitive, either. Or my taste buds. As for my skin, at some point it apparently assessed its long-term career of holding my body together, then muttered "Whatever!" and turned loose. Yesterday my daughter was taking my picture and asked me to stop squinting. I wasn't squinting; my eyelids are droopy. My brows are going all Andy Rooney on me, too.  The individual hairs are springy (the only perky body parts left). They grow out in random directions, making it difficult to tweeze them into narrow, feminine arches. And, speaking of random directions, one of my teeth has kicked out slightly in front of the others, and a few of my fingers and toes no longer line up with the precision of the good soldiers they used to be.

It's also possible that my brain function may have declined a little bit. Words and names seem to slip away more frequently than they used to, though they still pop right back into my head shortly after I force myself to stop grasping for them. I don't honestly know whether that actually happens more often than it used to or if I'm just noticing those incidents more. I am paying closer attention. In fact I've become hyper-vigilant about signs of memory loss, as if I want to make sure I'm the first one to know if I start losing it.

Last night my uncle called from Minneapolis. In the course of wishing me a happy birthday, he said he's read that seventy is the new fifty. He's seven years older than I am, so he probably wants to believe that even more than I do. I told him my plan is to keep myself in good enough shape to at least outlive my two dogs, Levi and Gimpy. They're slightly over two now, so that could be doable.

We all know plans are subject to change, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to mention that timeline, just in case God is open to suggestions. I think I'll proceed under the assumption that He is. It'll make me happier about stepping over the threshold into my seventies.


14 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday! You look great!

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  2. Happy, happy birthday, my friend. You look wonderful and the fact that you feel great is important. I think of you often and wish for a long, catch-up visit. May this coming year bring you more happiness and love.

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  3. Happy Birthday! The best is yet to come - I hope.

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  4. Lucylocket, thank you very much!

    Writing My Novel, I'm happy every day that I hear from you, but thanks for the birthday wishes. As for that catch-up visit, I'd like nothing better!

    Betty, thanks! I hope you're right.

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  5. Happy Birthday! I think you look terrific! Actually you look just like I've pictured you to look all these years I've been reading you. Many more, dear friend....happy, healthy ones.....a good book in your hands and a warm pooch at your feet.

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  6. Val, it's so good to hear from you! Thanks for the good wishes.

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  7. Happy birthday! You look wonderful. Why are you counting the deficits? You mention a few positives. Good. But what about the positives of live experience? What about the depth and breadth of the life you've lived? When I hit the big 7-0 my first impulse was to say, "well, I can pass for a while and people will think I'm in my 60s." Then I got real. Yes, maybe I can pass (I've been told so.) but I decided to fess up and started a blog called Big7-0andgoing strong. I don't have to make an effort to write about the positives because my every day life IS positive. The physical deficits? Yeah, I've got them, but they're not getting in the way of living the life I want to live. Have wonderful 7th decade!

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  8. June, welcome. And thank you. I didn't mean to list negatives, only to chronicle some fairly common age-related changes I've noticed. You're right about the value of life experience, and I also treasure the extra time I have to spend on favorite activities now that I'm retired. I'm really very happy with my life, 70 or not. Sorry if I came across as whiny. :)

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  9. don't get to much of a hurry to pass away just cause your parents died at 70. I have lived longer than either of my parents and I think older than 2 of my grand parents but will have to check on grandma powell's 'age at her death. we or I have forgot more than I knew.

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  10. Happy belated birthday! I love what you wrote. At 50 this year, I notice a few changes as well... but you inspire me to take control of what I am able to (diet and exercise). I wish you all the best in your new years!

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  11. Patsy, I'm counting on living longer than my parents did. My maternal grandmother lived to be 92, and several aunts and uncles on my father's side have lived into their 90s. Hoping I got those genes.

    Duly Inspired, thank you! Sounds like you've learned to make good health decisions at a much earlier age than I did.

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    http://asthecrackerheadcrumbles.blogspot.com/2012/12/sites-to-see.html

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