The urge to purge. That’s what gives me immense pleasure these days. Getting rid of all the old stuff, to prepare for the new that I will infuse into my life. A momentous day includes a trip to the landfill to toss broken appliances, used engine oil, and dead batteries. I love going to the Salvation Army where I’ll bring old clothes, worn household items and no longer needed books. All are relics and artifacts of years past, in the feng sui tradition of clearing space to let in the light of a new day.
I love my cellphone or hate it, depending on the day and the circumstance. My iPhone 6 comes with a battery I must soon replace. It seems to operate on its own speed in its own time and I just can’t rely on it for accuracy any more. But, venturing into the Apple store is one of my least favorite undertakings, so I try to find other more creative ways to encourage my phone’s performance.
In a very short period of time, we have become dependent on ubiquitous gadgets and systems that can improve our lives, entertain us, or drive us crazy. I will admit a wistfulness for days without the all-consuming web of data, especially during moments when my bank’s website states “system down” just when I’m desperate to find out exactly how much is in my account. Or, how about those times being immobilized at an airport during a “system failure?”
I am a baby boomer, maybe what you consider the scourge of your practice. When I walk into your office, perhaps you see anemic Medicare reimbursement, knees that will soon need replacement and a don’t-tell-me-sonny-I’m-half-your age attitude.
But, I’d like to give you some advice, which my age permits. It’s in your best interest to treat me with the same respect and attention as you give your millennial patients, at least those who acknowledge that they won’t live forever.
I advise you to stop treating boomers like old people and face the possibility that we’ll be around for a long while. Continue reading “Dear Doctor”
I consider myself something of a retirement maven, having left my full-time career almost 15 years ago. On paper and in practice, it would appear that I have followed all advice in my preparation for a worry-free future. My financial advisor gave me the thumbs up, I mended any social rifts and I have maintained a grueling schedule of doctor’s appointments in the interest of remaining healthy. Over time, I have gradually eased into a “life is good” lifestyle, and I thank all those retirement gurus who helped me get here.
I am the grouchy lady standing behind the young father in Williams Sonoma telling his sticky-fingered five-year-old: “No touch, please.” The darling is pulling large pots off the shelf, squealing in delight as they clatter to the floor in all their copper finery. In my day, we didn’t beg our kids not to destroy merchandise in high-end stores. We tied their hands to their strollers, gave them the stink-eye, and hissed: “Don’t make me have to talk to you.” They didn’t have a chance. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
While we’re looking for potions and pomades to keep us looking young, what are we doing for our wrinkly insides? Is it possible that the bumps and bruises of our external selves are really reflections of what’s going on within?
I recently returned from a family reunion. Such a daunting experience. Photos from decades ago flashed on a 65-inch screen while friends and family dabbed their eyes in fond memory. Loved ones turned to me and said: “You were so beautiful back then.” What is the right response? Thank you for noticing that Mother Nature has ravaged me or At least I’m not dead yet? I doubt that any retort is apt, and so, like any other public angst, I grinned til it was over. The slide show, that is. I still gotta a lotta living left. No matter what those people said about me.
The reality is I’m a senior citizen. The world thinks my job consists of trekking to countless doctors’ appointments and draining the Social Security trust. I may say things like “Age is just a number” or “You’re only as old as you feel” but I will admit that I’m not happy that the hands that drum to Bohemian Rhapsody on my steering wheel sometimes look like my grandmother’s. And, while my mother is an example of graceful aging, I sure don’t want my reflection in the mirror to be a dead ringer for her.