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The Once and Future Me

July 19, 2010

My friend sent me an email with lots of silly pictures of the elderly.  The subject on the email read, “Live Long Enough to Be a Real Concern to Your Kids.”  When I opened the email, I experienced a (what’s the opposite of deja vue?) future shock. There I was, serious as ever, playing music and delighting others.

Here I am in 2030. Aren't I beautiful? Isn't my music dandy?

You’re right, Wendy, I’m not all that shy anymore. And plan to be even less shy as the days, months, years progress.

If I were walking down the street, and saw me sitting there all decked out in my bonnet and scarves, making music to beat the band, I’d run up and give myself a huge hug.

This, my dear friends, is what I was talking about yesterday. This leaping into the dark. This is being non-sensible on very sensible grounds.  This is “unheard-of.”

I love this lady!

Joie de vivreLa vie en rose. Making lemonade.

The intent of the author of the email (and perhaps my friend) was to give us something to make us smile, giggle, laugh at.  And I did.  But also, I suspect, behind the intent is our fear of aging unattractively, of losing our memories, or worst yet, our minds, our teeth, our hearing and our ability to be mobile and independent.  I know it is for me!

My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 18 years before he died.  That was a long time to watch his cognitive deterioration.  It’s not a pretty sight.  I have no idea what it was for him to live with the disease, but my mother’s life was not easy for many year.

My paternal grandfather also had Alzheimer’s although not diagnosed.  He died when I was seven.  All I remember of him was a crotchety old man sitting in a chair, never smiling, or doing much of anything.

That is a legacy that hangs heavily over my head. Has for many years.  Each time I can’t remember something, I worry. Each time I struggle to find a word or a name, or am halting in my speech because words just don’t come, I worry. Whenever I get confused, or act ditzy, I worry.  (I know that a certain amount of ditziness is in my nature, but this is different.  And scary.)  So, I started taking Aricept, just in case.  I’m now much more confident in my mental status and clarity.  It also helps that I’ve reached 64 and all my friends of the same age are struggling to find words, names and put ideas into words.  (Either we’ve got an environmental epidemic of Alzheimer’s or it’s something that just comes naturally  with our 60s).  Nonetheless, I’m relieved and less worried. And I believe I will be conscious and aware in my future — at least for longer than my dad was.  If not, well, like the email said, I’ll be a real concern for my kids.  I plan to be, anyway.

I plan to be just like this lady:  outrageous, undaunted, audacious, and unembarrassed by my unattractiveness .  I plan to be beautiful — to me.  And the music I make will be dandy.  Yep!  That’s me.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 19, 2010 8:54 am

    Glad you’re getting over your “shyness.”

    I feel a new homework assignment coming on…where I see myself in 20 years…off to get started…


  2. July 19, 2010 10:20 am

    wow! all that from just what was intended to be sharing a moment in time, a laugh and a gentle reminder that after 50 years of friendship, we still do exist. Not to laugh at but to laugh with and hope and pray that we do not become a burden, lose our minds or spirits. I too find those moments of CRS and have deemed myself President of the club! I walk alot slower these days as arthritis has over taken my knees with nothing the doctors can do for me. Most tasks or enjoyable times of family functions or outings take their toll on me and I need more time to catch my breath again. Age? Probably! Because I can? Definatley! The joys of retirement. Always just because I can! There was one of me in those cartoons too… I was riding down the middle of the street on my little 3 wheel mobility scooter which has become my legs these days. I must laugh or would be crying at the thought of getting older. Can’t stop it. Can’t change it. Might as well laugh at it. Love ya Nanc!

  3. tekia permalink
    July 19, 2010 12:30 pm

    It’s wonderful to me to know that you have a joyous and positive outlook on your it should be for everyone. Be blessed!

  4. Joyce Luthman permalink
    July 20, 2010 2:37 pm

    Nancy, I think you’re a beautiful, encouraging, and loving woman. I will always be grateful that Kyle spotted you at the Cherry Festival and we first met you and your alpacas.

    And your approach to life is spot on and is an example to me on how I should move forward, embracing the loveliness of each moment!

    Love you girl!

    • July 20, 2010 9:59 pm

      Love you right back, Joyce. And thank you.

  5. August 22, 2010 6:23 pm

    What a wonderful, beautiful blog!


  1. Nancy’s Homework Assignment…Where I’ll Be in 2030… « Herding Cats in Hammond River

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