Ever have a “senior moment?” Or maybe the way to ask it is, “How many do you have every day?” Wendy Reichental is wondering the same thing! So she’s trying to change every “senior moment” into a positive memory.
Woody Allen supposedly had this to say on the topic of aging at one of his press conferences at Cannes: “I find it a lousy deal. There’s no advantage in getting older. You don’t get smarter, you don’t get wiser, and you don’t get mellower.
Nothing good happens. Your back hurts more. You get more indigestion. Your eyesight isn’t as good. You need a hearing aid. It’s a bad business getting older, and I would advise you not to do it.”
His quote resonated with me after experiencing my recent “senior moment.”
Actually, I am not yet a senior but a very young-at-heart baby boomer. Up until now my lapses have been reserved for things I’ve heard we all do on occasion, like when I enter my kitchen and wonder, “Why am I here”… and not in a Nietzsche way. Other examples are bouts of frustrating fleeting amnesia like the kind I witnessed the other day, or was it last week? I forget names, numbers, and pertinent information I should inherently know. All these, I am told, are natural instances of what happens gradually to all of us as we get older, along with an increased risk of becoming grumpy and jaded! Is this true? Are we this doomed?
I thought nothing of it, until I took my newly acquired Mr. Magoo act on the road one drizzly dreary morning. I should preface this by saying, I am not a “rise and shine” person! My husband endearingly shoved me out of bed. Both the floor boards and my bones were in synchronized creaking mode. The only thing keeping me upright was the anticipation of a hot steaming cup of coffee gripped tightly in my cold hands. The thing about aging gracefully is that I find I care a whole lot less about looks, which saves me a whole lot of time in the morning getting ready for work. So with minimum fuss and sleep, I got dropped off at the subway, kissed my husband and ran for cover, realizing as I turned to wave goodbye that I left my umbrella at home!
With an hour’s ride on the subway, all that matters is scoring that coveted window seat. With my golden ticket secured, I slid into one and leaned my head onto the window pane, the lull of the train and muted sounds of chattering commuters sending me deeper into my blissful trance. At the announcement of a stop, I awakened from my stupor and stepped out onto the platform, realizing only upon the doors closing behind me that I missed my stop!
Not wanting to let on that I was confused and lost, I figured the best thing to do was to follow a group of business-attired people and hope I’d surface somewhere in proximity to where I needed to be. I arrived at street level and oriented myself and discovered I was only a couple of blocks away from my work, but with torrential rain added for good measure.
I stood before the revolving doors leading out of the subway station and had to get out-of-the-way to allow umbrella-donning people to exit the building. I decided the only way to get to work on time was to give even more disregard to my appearance and get drenched.
As I pushed the door forward and absorbed the first few drops of heavy rain, a total stranger, this woman about half my age, popped open her umbrella and invited me to share it with her. She wasn’t even concerned that my building was in the opposite direction from where she was headed. I gladly accepted her kind gesture. I felt like I was walking with my younger self. This woman exuded energy, sanguinity, and the ability to navigate high heels on our uneven sidewalks.
I was once young like that, not saddled yet by mid-life lessons and disappointments. She walked me right to my building and I thanked her profusely. She simply shrugged it off. I offered her some money for a coffee but she steadfastly refused.
If I was ever that gracious, I cannot remember, but I hope I will never forget when a simple act of kindness on a dismal day brought me the most improbable comfort to both my weary soul and my wet soles, and strengthened my conviction that not all forecasts of getting older must inevitably lead to cynicism or morph into a curmudgeon!