Octogenarian or Eighty is the New Sixty

The term Octogenarian portends a draconian vision of my future. Having reached this milestone a couple of weeks ago, I decided I like the newer demographic – eighty is the new sixty. Not that I kid myself.

If eighty is the new sixty how come every time I pass a mirror a vision of my Irish grandma appears. I have to remind myself, that she was beautiful on the inside and died with all her original teeth.

She would be shocked to see what eighty-year-old women wear today. For instance, her shopping outing had its own stringent dress code; cotton stockings, sturdy shoes, a head covering of some sort and GLOVES. I and most women my age throw on workout gear and sneakers. That is if we leave the house at all to shop.

Age eighty brought swift changes in the quality of mail I receive. A shot of tequila helps to recover my happy self. The cremation services survey topped the list of burial plots, assisted living fliers and personal care product discounts. Having never been cremated, how could I complete an unbiased survey?

It is best to avoid pop culture terms entirely. Being ghosted is a notch above being marginalized. At age eighty any reference to ghosts’ hits too close to home.

The one negative about arriving at eight zero milestones is ageism. Not sure at what age it begins – maybe sixty? The other side of this issue is most believe the filter between the aging brain and mouth doesn’t work (a convenience). Transgressions can be addressed without regard to political correctness.

I don’t believe the essence of who we are changes that much as we age. By the time one has reached eight decades, live and let live is a philosophy.

Arriving at age eighty is a gift and the only thank you required is to be happy, kind and pass it forward.

The Candy Lady and Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day for most people of my generation is evocative of a stereotypical mom of the forties and fifties. Some people got moms who wore pearls and heels. We got the candy lady.

Life with mother was like riding a seesaw gone rogue. A walking contradiction, she filled us with fear, humor, horror, and love.

Working full time in retail, she ran the household single-handed, except for helping my sister and I grudgingly provided. Her domestic standards were rigid and unfulfilled by the two of us.

Mother was the antithesis of helicopter parenting.

As soon as we could read and use the telephone, we were pretty much on our own when we got sick. We didn’t think this was unusual; or feel deprived or neglected. We learned how to use public transportation, communicate with medical providers and the pharmacist.

Never wasting a nanosecond caring about others opinions, retirement elevated her creativity to even greater heights.

Rummaging around in the recesses of a storage closet she unearthed an old Easter basket, filled it with candy and set it on a console in the den.  Sunday morning, mother picked up the basket, thrust her oversized red handbag over her shoulder, and made her way out the door to the church.

On their arrival at church, Mother hijacked a post beside the minister in the foyer to greet arriving attendees. I will never know if mother terrified the minister into submission or relief for a bit of levity. Dad, helpless without support from offspring who lived far away, crept away to an obscure pew.

Glaring looks from mothers who faced enduring a sermon with restless kids on a sugar high failed to ruffle mother. Husbands, some having been coerced to attend, were grateful for the serotonin relief from the chocolate.

She continued the practice for several years until age and infirmity forced her to relinquish her post. When she died, there was a notice in the church bulletin announcing the candy lady had passed away.

I can’t think of a better legacy than to be remembered as the candy lady.

Finding Things To Make Me Smile

Today’s political climate and vitriolic commentary from the White House have me searching for things to make me smile.

I am fortunate because there is still a lot to smile about.

A blue jay calls our patio home.  Pretty Boy stands guard in the cypress tree outside our kitchen window and chirps the second I enter the kitchen in the morning. After his breakfast ration of seed, he listens as I inquire about his day. His visits make me smile.

YoYo Ma performed a Bach concert at the border in Laredo, Texas this past weekend. A Chinese-American lending his talent to comfort asylum seekers is a reminder about our common humanity and it warmed my heart.

After a spring storm, I noticed two ducks frolicking in our swimming pool. They do not appear to be ducks that are from around these parts. I am happy they stopped by for a visit.

The thing that makes me smile; and laugh out loud, is the image of the current leader of the free world boarding Air Force One with toilet paper dangling from his foot. In and of itself this is sophomoric humor. I plead guilty.

Consider this; did someone choose to remain silent about his predicament? He was riding in a limo and there is zero chance he got the tp there. Someone had ample opportunity to rid him of this embarrassment before he climbed out of the limo and walked the walk of shame all the way across the tarmac, and up the stairs to the plane.

I believe someone CHOSE to remain silent. I’ll bet it was a woman and that makes me smile.

For the record, Pretty Boy thought it was funny too.

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