Falling Asleep While Reading | Opinion

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Aging can be great fun if we’re kind to ourselves and have a good sense of humor. Frustration solves nothing. Like worry, it’s a waste of time. Also, it’s silly to compare ourselves to people who are older, younger, or the same age.

We just got back from a week on a lake in upstate New York. We were with our nephews and their families, all of whom were waterskiing. I taught a lot of them how to ski, and I was so tempted to try skiing again. Getting up wouldn’t be hard, but my lower back and arms would really pay for even a short ride around the lake.

Sometimes when I acknowledge a memory fog or loss of balance, someone will say, “You’re just 75. I know people in their 90s who are very sharp.”

But, I’m not that 90-year-old, and I’m not sure I want to live that long. My fog and my imbalance are not eliminated because I hear about the sharpness of someone much older.

We all have different DNA, and different role modeling from our parents and grandparents.

At the pain doctor’s office today, we learned that if you had chickenpox as a child, you’re more likely to get shingles. Shingles painfully manifests itself to stress. That’s why we need to be kind to ourselves, to laugh, and to keep things in perspective. I also learned that the tramadol I take to ease the sciatic pain causes brain fog and fatigue. Tough choice.

A good reason not to compare yourself to someone your own age or older is that you don’t know what meds they’re on, or if they’ve had prostate cancer, or heart surgery, or a hip or knee replaced. Just because someone replaces all of their car’s parts doesn’t mean they’ll be the “winner” of the race to see who lives the longest. And who cares who wins?

My dad used to take naps, and I thought it odd to miss any part of the day. For years now naps have been an essential part of Ray’s and my day. We eat before most restaurants open and are in bed when a lot of people are savoring their second martini.

Recently, I caught myself falling asleep while reading a book. Whoa! “Old people do that.” When I let go of the judgment, I loved the experience. I can do a lot of hard labor. Now, if I feel tired, I stop working without shame.

If we seniors acknowledge that age will manifest itself in different ways and at different times for each of us, and that we can’t do a whole lot about growing old, it can be a wonderful, well-deserved time of leisure, reflection and perspective. The wisdom that comes with being a senior can make death much less scary. Embrace aging as the key to understanding, for gratitude, and for letting go. And laugh with yourself in loving kindness.


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