Monday, December 03, 2012

Aging Gracefully ~ My Column from Sunday's Paper

It’s tough getting older. When I look in the mirror, I see the face of an 18-year-old kid blasting down the highway in a 1965 Impala SS with windows rolled down, my hair blowing wildly in the wind, and the music so loud that people in the next county could sing along if they chose.

Of course, if I looked closely enough, I’d realize my beard is now gray as wood ash, and my hair went south with the geese years ago.

But even so, I don’t feel that old. I had some support on this view this past week when I signed books on Black Friday. Several people came up to me and said, “You’re younger than I thought you were.” 

While saying “thank you, I’m flattered,” my mind wrestled with what they said, trying to decode the message.

Either I write like I’m really old, or the picture we use in the Daily Mountain Eagle does not do me justice. I can fix the picture, but trying to get more hip in my writing style might be more of a challenge. 

If I’d been clever, I would have asked why they thought I was older, and the path forward would have been simpler.

Fast forward to this weekend: Jilda and I have been saving to build an addition onto our house. We want a small sunroom on one end with a basement/storm shelter underneath.

These days when a bad cloud comes up, we round our critters up and head to my bathroom with pillows around our heads. So a storm shelter would be a welcome addition. 

While discussing what else we’d like, I suggested expanding her bathroom and perhaps installing a garden tub with a Jacuzzi. 

We were driving down the road somewhere between Sipsey and Jasper when I made this suggestion. I’d just taken a sip of tea, when Jilda said, “At our age, it might be better to install wheelchair ramps and a shower with a door wide enough for a walker.” 

I spewed tea all over the dashboard and laughed so hard I almost choked.

Her humor is often subtle and it sneaks up on me at inopportune moments. 

I gained my composure, and I took a napkin from the glove box and wiped off the speedometer and steering wheel. 

What she said was hilarious, but it was also right on the mark. We have friends our age who have houses so high off the ground that you’d need a forklift to get them inside once their knees go.

Aging is not for wimps, and there are no manuals. We’ve taken good care of ourselves. We eat right, for the most part, we exercise daily, we wear our seat belts, and do everything in moderation. Good Lord willing, we could live another 30 years.

And while I’d like to think that we’ll still be frolicking together in a Jacuzzi at 90, truth is, it would be much better to be able to take a shower even if I did have to lean on a walker.

Aging, it’s something to think about.


  1. That was my problem exactly. We had a house which was all inclined and once the knees go so do the ankles and then everything becomes very difficult to do, so we moved.
    Now everything is all on one floor or just a few steps and its much better to do chores and you feel less afraid to fall.

  2. I'm glad I already have a one-story house. Sometimes I wonder what I'll do if the day comes when I can't get up the stairs to the front door. I guess I just won't go out anymore. My microcosm will become even smaller, and that's okay. Is that a picture of a cheeky younger you? The boy whose music blared in the car? If so, you were a cute young dude.


  3. Aging is totally not for wimps! I so agree!! And I do hope when you and Jilda hit 90 you'll make time to frolic away in your jacuzzi! Take care

  4. As long as the passion is there, we will always see the younger pic of ourself in the mirror. Nice write Sir Rick!..


  5. to me aging gracefully, for women at least, means NO plastic surgery. c'mon ladies. youth resides in the heart, not on the surgeon's table.

  6. Aging is nothing more than an accumulation of accidents.

  7. My Mom still lives in the house my Dad built in 1951...stairs and all. At 86 she climbs them like a trooper..she also fell like a paratrooper once, but that's another story! She claims it keeps her limber...whatever, she is my hope that I might still be able to climb my stairs at 86! How people age is interesting. I can see 2 people the same age on the operating room table and they might look 20yrs apart in we treat our bodies makes a huge difference in how we age..although sometimes genetics sometimes can give us a "wedgie"!


Please consider sharing

Email Signup Form

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required