Sunday, 27 July 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Age-Old Questions

“Age is just a number,” says the well-worn adage. But is it a number you care about, or one you tend (or try) to ignore?

Sweet Pea

I planted my everlasting sweet pea seeds about twelve years ago. I wanted to add some colour to my privet hedge. I did and they grew every year, but no-one told me they were indestructible. Not that they have taken over, but they do tend to reach out and multiply. I cut them down every year, but they return with a vengeance. OK, I am going off at a tangent, but I did not want to punish you all with yet another photo of a golden oldie that is growing grey gracefully. When I come to think of it twelve years ago I was a youthful 55 years old, still a working woman and could run for the bus if necessary and this plant is everlasting.

I will be 68 years old in December, that is if you live in Switzerland you are already 68 years old, because I am living in my 68th year. This is some sort of Swiss logic, which makes no sense to me. It would mean that when I was born I was already a year old, because I was living in my first year. The Swiss have a different way of working things out, and make you a year older than you actually are, but it is not important. You are as old as you feel. There are days when I feel that I am approaching the end phase, when I do not spring out of bed but first of all sit carefully on the edge and think about it. Shall I stand up and risk it, or shall I remain seated and wait until I have to move because nature is calling? These are the decisions that approach in the last third of your life and let us face it, whether it suits me or not, I have arrived.

All my life I was sort of waiting for something to happen, around the corner. I was a kid at school wanting to be a grown up. Eventually I left school, was grown up, at least old enough to earn my own way, and began to work. I got married (to a Swiss that made me immediately a year older than I was – see explanation in first paragraph), I gave birth to children. I was still a working woman, but without earning money, I was doing it all for the family, like washing, ironing, changing diapers, ironing, cooking etc.: all the things that are part of life. At the same time I was growing older.

One day I decided this was not enough, I was working for the “pleasure” of working, so I decided to work and earn money. I farmed the kids out to a day nursery and joined the working woman’s club. The kids grew up, became independent, no more day nursery, but I was still working. This was the second phase of my life, but I was looking forward to the third phase when I was retired, receive money from the state and my company without having to work for it. Mr. Swiss being a few years older than me arrived there a few years earlier than I did. He became a houseman and I did the last few years. Eventually we were both there. We had arrived at the last third and phase of our life: end station

At first you have fun; you do not have to rise in the morning to the tune of an alarm clock, alarm clocks are a thing of the past. To be quite honest today I do not even know how they work, but I have an iPhone that does it all for me when necessary.

You can retire in the evening when you want to. At last the days arrive when you can watch the late night film without falling asleep before the end. Yesterday we watched a film called “Transformers” about extra-terrestrial machines that adapted and changed in all sorts computer graphic. We changed channels after a human which was a machine tried to strange her boyfriend with her 2 meter steel tongue which suddenly appeared. Were we too old to understand or was it just a boring film. We changed channels to find the remake of King Kong, the film about the giant ape on an island that fell in love with a beautiful blond. Unfortunately the remake was so remade that there were cannibals, dinosaurs and t-rex type of animals and this went on for three hours. I gave up after the first ninety minutes. Mr. Swiss lasted longer, but only the first two hours. Were we too old or do we no longer understand modern film techniques.

Life is fun then one day you are working in the garden, pulling out some sort of weed (that you cannot smoke) and you notice your body no longer wants to return to an upright position. Just a little twinge you think, but the twinge might continue for a few days until a visit to the doctor is necessary for pain killing medicine.

Up to now you were helping your other half because he could no longer lift heavy objects, now both of you think about who helps who. Sightseeing trips to the local cemetery visiting ancestors, that you actually knew in life, become trips where you wonder where your little corner will be one day. Ok, let us not be morbid, there are other places to visit. Just around the corner to where I live there is a senior home for those that no longer can cope with an independent life. Now that might come in handy one day and the village also organises gymnastics for the older generation.

You are no longer Mrs. …., but OLD Mrs. ….. according to your acquaintences. Your colleagues seem to be disappearing from time to time, never to return. This is stage three of life, so make the most of it while you can. At the moment Darby and Joan (English expression for older couple like Mr. Swiss and I) are sitting outside on the porch enjoying a pleasant day. There were slimy patches of dead melted slugs in the garden, due to my efforts with salt which I cleared away this morning. Another job I should have left. It took my back half an hour to recover, but now we have a restful moment. Mr. Swiss is reading (on his iPad/Kindle of course) and I am writing my prize winning blog entry of the day on the computer.

Yes, we might be old, but we are online, we are cyber golden oldies and we move with the times. I was thinking about having a tattoo done last year, but after a discussion I was discouraged from the idea by a certain person. Mr. Swiss has become quite modern with his Bruce Willis hairstyle, although I think Bruce Willis chooses to have it like that and Mr. Swiss no longer has such a choice. I now have meche highlights in my hair, although like Mr. Swiss I did not choose them, they just arrived. I used to wear dresses, even skirts, but now I am very modern and stick to trousers, shorter or longer according to the season. Thank goodness for blue jeans, they are so ageless and come in all sizes.

All being well, I will return tomorrow with another episode in the life of a digital, cybernated online golden oldie if I do not have an attack of rheumatism in my keyboard fingers.

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  1. Beautifully written as usual Pat. *my have I missed this.* I am sure you were reading my mind when you wrote it, described to a T a lot of me though I am 70yrs young. 71 in October. That will make me 72 in Swiss years. How dare they make us a year older than we are just because they count from the date we were conceived.It is amazing how many actually do that!

    Great to see you again.

  2. At the moment, being a young whippersnapper still in his 50's, I still treat age as just a number. Yes, there are a few things I can't do as quickly as I used to, but so there isn't anything that I can't do that I used to!!