My grandmother said you weren’t worth the powder and lead to blow your nose off if you didn’t make your bed every morning.
I have adhered to that wisdom all my life. And I don’t mean ‘spreading up the bed,’ which is not the same as making the bed – not at all.
As I diligently pulled and tugged, making sure that the drop was the same all the way around, smoothing any wrinkles, I thought – as I have so often these past couple of years – what it would be like to have fine linens in a color other than white. Fine linens like Pratesi, Frette, Sferra, you know, the kind Danielle Steele’s characters sleep on. No point in buying anything expensive or anything other than white these days – they can’t be bleached. Don’t get me wrong, after blue, white is probably my favorite color, I simply did not foresee that it would be necessary. Bleach has become my new best friend. You can look wrong at my husband and he will bleed – well, here I go exaggerating things, but merely bumping against something and his hand, arm, leg will bleed. We are buying stock in the company that makes Band-Aids.
I think it was George Bernard Shaw that originated the saying that youth is wasted on the young. Had I known it would come to this, I would have saved my pennies and splurged on fine linens in the most exorbitant of colors! But that is the way of a whole boatload of things these days.
In my mind, I am somewhere around 30 years old. I bet there is a Facebook quiz that can tell me just how old I am mentally or emotionally, but in all actuality; I am staring hard at 64. My dear sweet husband is ten years older. What does that make us, seniors? Are we in the autumn of our lives or the dead of winter? Or am I in autumn and he’s moving into winter? They (who are “they” anyway?) say that age is just a number. Or this one – “You’re as young as you feel!” As I sit here with a moist heat pack on my hip due to referred pain from a pinched nerve, I think bulls**t. It is pure bull that no one has prepared us for the inevitable breaking down of the human body and the brain. Oh no, we’re all way too interested in keeping young and no one wants to talk about the realities of getting older. We don’t embrace it, we don’t enjoy it, and we damn sure don’t talk about it. Oh, I’m not talking about having to endure an older person regale you with an endless recitation of their ailments, I’m talking about preparing you for the reality of life in your 60s.
As a woman, I have taken good care of my skin, delightfully played with this palette which is my face with all kinds of makeup, and been hair obsessive for years. Things – they are a’changin. A dear friend of mine remarked the other day that she puts her makeup on with a trowel these days! A joke indeed, but I got what she meant.
Years ago, I was at a friend’s home, a friend who was several years older, and the perimeter of her computer monitor was covered in little yellow Post-It notes. They were reminders of things to do, conversations she had, where she put things, etc. I thought it was very funny at that time, now, not so much.
I want to embrace becoming 64 and I want to be proud to be that age. How do I accomplish that? We all know the things we’re supposed to do to care for our bodies, eat healthy, drink water, exercise, yada yada. But other than that, and I’m not sure of all the answers, but three things I do know for certain – find something to make you literally grin from ear to ear or laugh out loud every single day, try to learn something new every single day, and surround yourself with loving relationships – your spouse, your family, and your community. And, of course, there is a fourth – live with whatever type of four legged friend makes you happy!
And if you are young, buy those expensive fine linens in whatever color suits your fancy!
My father, who lived to be 85, and was one of the happiest people who ever lived on this planet, found this article years ago and took great delight in sharing it with others.
Words to Live By
Lord, Thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older and will someday be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to straighten out everbody’s affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody, helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends in the end.
Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing and the love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others’ pains, but help me to endure them with patience.
I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.
Keep me reasonably sweet – I do not want to be a saint – some of them are so hard to live with, but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. Give me the ability to see the good things in unexpected places and talents in unexpected people. And give me, Lord, the grace to tell them so. Amen.
Contributed by Marilynette Cox, Guest Writer