Leaning into Older Age

As a mom, I well remember that sweltering August in ages past when my sweating son sported his red sweater over his school uniform, denoting his “senior” status at his grade school.

I’ve just ordered small pierced earrings for my elated granddaughter whose parents let her get her ears pierced, a bit earlier than they wanted.

My pre-school grandson is coming to visit, so I’ve just ordered a toy razor set, so he can be a big boy like his daddy.

It starts as young as toddlers, this rush to be a grown-up.

Every culture marks coming of age whether it’s a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, Quinceañera, the all-important driver’s license, the cap and gown, a voter registration card, engagement ring, baby bump, or legally buying that first six pack.

Why is it we yearn to be adults when the realization happens pretty quickly it means paying taxes, mortgages, staying up all night with those colicky babies, or waiting up for the straggling teens?

Soon enough there is a tipping point. It could be the first gray hairs, the receding hairline, the crow’s feet, the disappointing job, the aging parents, or the surprising torn ligament after a routine jog.

Middle age. We’ve peaked, or are getting close to passing our prime. Then what?

Some go middle-age crazy and blow up their lives, but most just grab the hair dye, get Botox, a personal trainer, new diet, and try to stave off the opposite end of the spectrum: OA or older age. Who wants that? Not those toddlers, kids, teenagers, and young adults. Yet it’s the inevitable flip side of all that living, if you’re lucky.

I yielded to OA. Something I swore would never enter my home is here. Buddy – I cuddle with Buddy; I look forward to our time together, I can’t wait to hang with Buddy. My new dog? Nope, I got a recliner. Not one of those honky leather monsters that look like first class on an international flight. After hitting stores I’ve never entered, I found a neutral, almost looks like a regular chair thing that hides in my study. Oh, the pleasure of leaning back and reading a good book. What’s next, orthopedic shoes? A cane? A hearing aid? Well, they make some inoffensive ones I’m discretely told. But for now, I’m just trying to go with a more plant-based diet.

Len Bourland can be reached at [email protected]

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