09/30/2015 09:56 am ET Updated Sep 30, 2016

Old Age Is a Strange Enigma


I'm finding old age so complicated. On one hand my calendar constantly reminds me that I am now 85 years old. It's that simple, yet it's so hard to define. I realize that this past year my body has changed drastically. Things I did without any thought at all have now become somewhat difficult. When I leave the house I no longer walk with a bounce to my step; not that my legs won't do it, but because I'm afraid I might take another fall. I had two very bad falls last year, one broke my wrist, the other simply caused my leg to turn black and blue from the knee down and made walking difficult. The leg has finally come back to looking normal, but it can't take the long walks it used to. It gets so painful that I cannot do anything but hope to find a place where I may sit down. If I just sit for five or 10 minutes I can continue onwards.

Yet, I am one of the lucky ones and I know that. I don't use a cane, I don't use a walker and I try very hard to not let fear rule my life. I look around at some of the women I pass in my neighborhood who appear to be so helpless, and then I look up to the heavens and say "thank you."

Another thing I have discovered that occurs very often among senior citizens. are our sleeping problems. I can fall asleep and have two or three hours of really good sleep and then I'm wide-awake. I'll look at the clock and moan because inevitably I'm going to now spend the next hours partially asleep and partially awake. I will first take my NOOK and play solitaire. This convinces me that my brain is still in tack, no Alzheimer's thank goodness.

And then I begin my night of memories. All the good and all the not so good come crashing back. It's fascinating how I can visualize the man I loved for many many years telling me he loved me that very first time; and this old lady still relishes the memory. I can remember so many beautiful moments, and so many unhappy moments. Each moment so vivid, so meaningful. Yet I sometimes can't remember if today is Tuesday or Wednesday.

And this is what I have finally realized and must accept; these memories are my life, and I have so few years left to have new adventures, to have a new love, to make new friends and to walk without fear. But, I am one of the lucky ones because by some stroke of luck I have had a very full, very rewarding, and very loving life. All the hurts and disappointments, all the struggles were all meant to make me this person I have to live with each day. I have been blessed with so much, and I the forever optimist can still believe in dreams.