It’s only realistic for any baby boomer to acknowledge, we have more years behind us than ahead of us. Sherrill Pool Elizondo knows this— she calls it her Swan Song— and is trying to cope with it. From the looks of things, she’s pulling it off, because it’s not over, she says, until the fat lady sings.
Older boomers know we’re experiencing our swan song for doing what we want to do and chasing a few rainbows.
While recently parking my car, a woman in a red luxury vehicle was parking next to me. She got out apologizing for her bad parking saying that I must park far away, like her, so my nice car won’t get hit by other people’s car doors. She wistfully said, “This will probably be my last car.”
“Same here,” I replied.
So many “lasts” to accept after a certain age.
We continued chatting and, since this retired librarian had been so frank, I mentioned that I was curious about how others our age REALLY feel about aging. I wasn’t interested in merely hearing the same old adage, “Age is just a number.” I told her that I wake up terrified some mornings and get out of bed almost immediately to go work out and that I’ll do anything to stop thinking about the fact that I have fewer years ahead of me than behind me.
Remember when people had maybe ONE doctor and a dentist? In adulthood, until the age of 43, the only doctor I saw regularly was the one who delivered two of my babies. He finally felt uncomfortable prescribing cholesterol medication.
There was a message there: find an internist. I did. Turns out his specialty was geriatrics. I first met him when he was right out of medical school and I had taken my mother to see him. An elderly gentleman, who knows me from an assisted living center where I volunteer interviewing people and writing their biographies, asked me why I was seeing a doctor for old people? Couldn’t think of a good answer but suddenly, I realized, I AM that “old” person.
Little did I know I would be seeing more specialists. The list of doctors got longer. So did medical tests. Depressing. I’ve observed my primary doctor aging himself though… gaining weight like the rest of us and hair turning silver. I wasn’t happy to eventually have an irregular EKG in his office and be sent to a cardiologist. I almost skipped town that day!
When I knew I was in trouble concerning my feelings about all this, the doctor whipped out a questionnaire and asked, “Are you depressed?” I looked at him with an unsmiling face and said yes. He didn’t ask if my dog died or if everyone in the family was okay. Assuming my condition was age-related, he continued with his litany of “Look at all the wisdom you’ve gained at your age.”
Great! I was actually glad to get blood work completed so I could go to the doughnut shop and down some orange juice, some coffee, and several doughnuts.
Recent fantasy: I imagine a certain age when I’ll go to my beach house to stay. It’s a place where I don’t feel my age and am not reminded of it. I’ll dance at the Sugar Shack, where I’ll wear a Mumu and think that a hot fudge sundae sometimes makes a perfectly acceptable meal. In my fantasy, I’ll write without thought to word count, and I’ll greet each morning with happiness and contentment and live out my days on my terms. And I’ll never visit another doctor again.
Not over until the fat lady sings.