Alone

I was sitting at the bank the other day, when a man somewhere around my age, perhaps on the closer side of 50, came in with his dad. He walked up to the desk and asked the receptionist if she knew his father and pointed to the elderly man on his right. The teller smiled with sad eyes and said,” yes, we all know George.” I could tell be the look of pity on her face that this man had some serious struggles with his father.

The two gentlemen took a seat beside me and the father kept saying “They stole my money”. The son sighed and said “dad, you are confusing the issues. There is no record of you purchasing a money order and why do you think you bought one? You have no need for a money order. These people are professionals, they are not out to steal money from their clients.” He leaned his arms forward on his knees and placed his head in his hands and just sighed. I could tell he wanted to be rescued. I wanted to place my hand on his shoulder and tell him it will all be okay. But that would be a lie.

It’s not going to be okay. That moment when the child becomes the caregiver is painful. I watch my aunts and my parents go through those same frustrations. I know one day it will be me and my siblings going through the same thing. I watch the stress levels of everyone rise, from the parents to their children. One can’t help feel it too. I worry about my parents and they worry about their children and their parents and I worry about my kids and it all becomes a vicious cycle.

I wonder about how it happens. That very moment where my grandparents went from being in charge, being strong, looking after my great grandparents, to relying on others to help them get through, needing someone to make choices for them. As a child, I was shielded from the struggles my grandparents had with my great grandparents. I remember my great grandma living at my grandma’s house. I remember when she went from looking after little details, cooking meals and being an active member of the household, to being cared for. Meals brought to her, medications lined up and eventually the decision to move her into a care facility. I don’t remember being aware of my grandparent’s struggle, their stress or agonizing over decisions about what to do. What likely had happened was my grandfather made the decisions for my grandma. He took care of her like that. He would rescue her and make her feel safe. I’m sure that is what she misses most about him. Because seriously, that’s all any girl wants. Women are capable of making decisions, being strong, holding it together, but that one person who can make them feel safe and protected is the ultimate.

When I looked at that man who was my age, I had a moment of clarity. Although I am removed from caring for my parents, I am in a different situation. I am still feeling that at this very moment. I want to be rescued, made to feel safe. I knew that son had wanted go back to the time where is dad was the protector and made everything safe. I long for a simple time where I could crawl up to couch and snuggle between my parents. I am lucky that I am not alone like that man in the bank. I have my family supports and the clarity of mind from both parents. I understand that everyone has the sense that the future is unknown. It makes it hard to plan for, but it is one of those leaps of faith that anyone who has a desire to do great things must take. It just happens to be my turn to face the unknown.

Since When did Old become Middle Aged?

The other day I was chatting with a friend when it was mentioned that a mutual contacted had passed away. I commented what a shame it was for his family. My conversational partner said, “it is, because he was so young!”

The man was 67. In my books that is already old. Young to me is under 30. Under 30’s usually haven’t really figured themselves out yet. I say usually because I believe there are exceptions to every rule. I can list 3 people off the top of my head who are under 30 who have it all together. Good for them! I didn’t. I pretended I did. That didn’t work out to well for me. But as with all things imaginary, that ended and reality marched in front and center and I evolved into what I call middle-aged.

Middle aged to me is somewhere between 35 and 45. I know you are all shocked but COME ON! Middle aged means double your age and that is old age. 35 x 2 =70. 70 is old. The Government of Canada expects you to retire before then and they will happily pay you your old age benefit of $265 plus change. That doesn’t cover my coffee bill for the month, so hopefully I will be dead by then.

People who are 63 and say they are middle age have me looking at them askew. 63 x 2 = 126. WHO WANTS TO LIVE THAT LONG?!?!? Not me. I hurt enough already. My knees will have to be replaced long before then. The body just wears out, not to mention the mind. So get a grip people! Embrace your age!

When my grandma was my age she had 3 grandchildren and another on the way. Aged 43 with grandchildren, FORTY THREE!!! When I was little, Grandma’s were considered old. Are they still? I met a Grandma not long ago who was younger than me. THANK GOODNESS that is not my fate! Listen up Offspring, it better not be my fate for a very long time – if ever.

That is not say that you have to fear aging. My Great Grandmother lived until the ripe old age of 98 1/2. I included the 1/2 like we did when we were kids and couldn’t wait to be old because I think when you are 98, the world deserves to know that you are 98 and “how much”. You paid your dues, brag a little! At any rate, she had a hard time moving around by then but she was still sharp as a tack and hilarious. I loved going to visit her. She smelled of pears soap, always had a box of Laura Secord Jellies, and would comment about the residents dropping like flies. She was a teacher for the Saskatchewan School system and screwed them out of decades of teacher pension pennies. I never heard her complain about being old. I’m sure she did, just not to me and maybe not to her grandchildren either. From her I learned you suck up what life deals you and get on with it. No point crying over it. Laugh at it instead, it makes it tolerable.

So here I sit at 43, half way to 86. I never want to experience under 30 again. I am screwed if reincarnation is true. Between you and me, I have to say I love being in my 40’s. I couldn’t say that about the other decades I experienced. Sure there were moments I loved, some I liked, but mostly I like this decade the best so far.

I like being confident and smart. Those two words never use to be in the same sentence. Even now as I write this, it feels odd to declare yourself as smart without the self-depreciating humor attached to it. Or maybe I can enjoy the self-depreciating humor because I am smart. Either way, I like how it feels. I do need to do something about the vessel that carries me further down the path into senior citizen. I really want to take advantage of senior discounts, and brag that I am on a “fixed Income” even though I currently am on a “fixed income” and work full-time. But to do all this and achieve my dreams of being a cranky senior tightwad, I need to shed some weight. I want to be healthy-ish.

I have a great start, and shed a few pounds this summer. I need to move more. So that is what I am going to do. The next stop on my adventure is not going to be a stop after all.

I will keep moving.