The view from 90
by Sherman Yellen, New York, New York
I had a conversation with my visitor Martha, a HS friend, about the fact that nobody teaches the young the true facts of life — the art of aging. If you have never had an office job and kept a tight schedule, how do you keep your doctor’s appointments from overlapping with your physical therapy? And what do you do when the companion who was to take you to the doctor is unable to do so? And how do you deal with the loneliness that afflicts most of us, even if we live in a large nuclear family and have some living friends. We concluded that nobody young would believe us — and that our life lessons would be meaningless. A waste of time.
When I was twenty, thirty, or forty, it was inconceivable that I would live to ninety, have trouble with my balance (me who walked four miles a day at least in Central Park with my beloved dog Sam) and find that I must remind myself to rise from the chair before attempting to pick up a tray or a teacup. We all know of the invisibility of the aging — we blend in with the background like squirrels or raccoons in a forest. The helluva of it is that I like my age. I am one of the lucky ones who have found something to enjoy in each stage of life. But I never imagined I would live past seventy-odd years when my parents and grandparent’s died — except for the tricky card shark of a British grandfather who made it to 100.
I guess what this all boils down to is live each day to the fullest, enjoy whatever decade you inhabit, and keep remembering that our world may have pain and loss in it, but it is so filled with such marvels that we could live two lifetimes to explore it if we give it a chance.