Nowadays when I sit in the lounge or the auditorium and look around at the residents in the retirement home, I understand that I am not the youngest person here. It makes me feel better. I’m also not the oldest. That makes me feel much better. I am somewhere in between, at some sort of anonymous, indeterminate age, neither here nor there. I have also come to understand that I will not “catch” old age because of my surroundings. It’s not one’s surroundings that add the years to one; it’s the grandchildren who flaunt their spectacular growth rates before our eyes.
“I remember when,” you say to a grandson stretching up to pat him on the head. Or you say, “I held you on my knee,” you say to the university student who drives her own car. And the grandchild you once helped tie a shoelace or the bow in her doll’s hair is now the one you call when your computer refuses to obey your commands. Back in 1952 you did a course in motor car mechanics, so that you would understand what makes your car go. Today, if it won’t budge you call a grandson; he’ll know how to get your stubborn car to move.
It’s a gentle process, this growing old business. If you’re lucky healthwise there will be few serious bumps in the road and you won’t feel anything. No “growing-down” pains like there were once “growing-up” pains. Good genes are also a great asset in the aging business and then there is that ever-present factor – good luck. If you are already in the old-age business, make the most of it.