It isn’t the growing old that is so difficult, it is the attendant aches and pains of poor and failing health that makes one feel old. And this can happen at any age. By the time we are in our fifties, we have a list of same-age friends who have come down with serious illnesses or live in chronic pain. I know this fifty-something-year old does.
Some of our residents shock and amaze me when I find out how old they are because they are so active, happy and the picture of good health. Some have all their teeth and many don’t wear glasses. And guess what? They are in their late 80s or early 90s! Every time I see Robert, age 82, who works out at the gym and drives a car and has a sturdy, steady stride, I say to myself, “See? He is proof that growing old is not so bad.”
Then there are much younger residents who are wheelchair-bound and even look older than their age. But we know that life isn’t fair.
What about those who look young and healthy, but suffer quietly and invisibly? As the Winslow Gardens author laureate, Myrna Griffith, writes, “Age isn’t always the reason we sit, viewing life from the sidelines.” She explains that “Others assume that because I’m younger than 80, I should be able to do more, but there are a few reasons that I can’t keep up anymore. They are all medical and mostly involve chronic pain.” She figures some folks might think she is lazy sipping her coffee and munching on a cookie while watching others do the work she used to do.
However, Myrna is adaptable to whatever happens in her life and applies a philosophical outlook to her physical ailments stating, “God and I know I have done my part in the past. I can relax and enjoy being a spectator now.” I marvel at her positive attitude and acceptance in the face of chronic pain. Why do we appreciate the folks who paint a happy face on the figure of pain?
God bless Myrna and all our friends who are younger than they feel.