What a year! I am officially in the 70s club…How did it happen? I can hardly believe it. Is this my last decade? Will I be able to travel? Will I have fewer friends? Will my kids stay connected to me as a person? Will I still swim in the ocean and continue to kayak? Will I be able to ride my bike? Will my legs keep walking? Will my eyes keep seeing?
When I turned 60 I was amazed! Where had the time gone? How could I be 60? I didn’t like my older appearance but my mind and my body worked as well as it had for decades. 70 is different. Some where along the line I developed Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Glaucoma. Double Damn! How will I navigate these diseases without letting them control my life? How can I go about grabbing fun, satisfaction, adventure, new experiences and joy as I live each day?
I now deal with physical limitations and the irritation of taking drugs. I wake up putting drops in my eyes. I go to bed putting drops in my eyes. I take RA drugs twice per day. I am a regular at the drug store. I think of my mother-in-law and father in-law each time I go to the pharmacy. In the past I was the person who picked up the “older’s” medications. Today I am the older. I have to remember to take my medications everyday. You would think that should be easy. Not… I have to plan to get extra drugs when I travel. Insurance companies make this a chore. This is just one of the changes I am forced to deal with as an older who has chronic diseases. It is really the tip of the iceberg. Am I changing because of my age? Or am I changing because of these diseases? And do doctors view me, an older. as a medical management issue rather than a patient to be cured because I am at the end of my life? Are there new treatments which aren’t considered because of my age?
Joining the 70s club makes me acknowledge that I am “Coming into the End Zone” as described in Doris Grumbach’s book. A book I read in my 40s when I thought I was getting to be an older woman! My advice to 4os somethings – live!! Don’t waste time worrying about age. I am now really at the end of my life. There are two important goals for me. I want to love my days and I want to expand my life.
To celebrate joining the 70s club I took a scuba diving lesson. I loved it! I will take another lesson this fall and then go on an open water dive. I am excited to experience a new adventure. Scuba lessons fits both goals. I am grabbing an adventure which makes my day fabulous and I am expanding my life by learning a new skill.
Being an older, creates interesting times. I have time to spend the way I want but my body limits some choices. This is a place to reflect on the reality of my life as an older. All in all, I am blessed. I refuse to quit living before I die. “Life is a banquet and most poor slobs are starving”.