December 3 – 75 is the new 50

132/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. During my recent stay in the hospital, due to a shortage of beds, I ended up on a ward where at 50 years old, I definitely skewed the mean age downwards to about 70 years. Initially, I was too drugged up to notice anybody but as I slowly came out of the medically induced haze, I regarded my fellow roommates. Two men in their mid 80s and a woman in her late 70s – most of them not able to take care of their basic needs. Perhaps because of some deeply rooted yet untapped ageism issues but probably more so the fact of my impending foray into becoming a Slipper wearing Silver myself, the presence of my neighbours in this room added to my overall general distress. As the initial shock of my surroundings abated and I started gaining some mobility, I started to pay more attention to the others. I watched as their grown adult children came in for visits. I watched the love that was shown by these adults to their parents. I watched as the parents looked with pride at their offspring. I listened to the banal conversations but I observed what it did to the faces and hearts of my roommates. I then reflected on the lack of significant golden year-ers in my life not because there aren’t any but because I kept my distance (even with my own father) and realized that this was because of my obsession with looking and acting youthful which was to hide my fear of growing old and having to face the inevitable. Who would have thought that a physical injury would reveal a much more deeply rooted mental truth that I didn’t want to admit. I am 50, I am getting old, my body isn’t what it once was, my healing takes longer, life is different but I am living life!! I thank the seniors in my hospital room and all seniors that have been in my life in the past and present. In your honour, I will continue to redefine 50 on my own terms BUT now within realistic parameters.

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