At the market last week, I saw that one register lane was wide open, so I slid right in and unloaded my groceries. The woman in front of me was pulling out her wallet so I knew I didn’t have a long wait. At a closer look, I notice that she is about 80 years old so I sighed inwardly because she was fumbling and could not get her credit card out. She finally got it and inserted it into the machine; it was refused. The clerk said to try again; she did, to no avail. She pulled out another card and the same thing happened. Clutched in her left hand I saw that she had at least another 6 or 7 cards and some of them still had activation stickers on them. She then pulled out her wallet and began to write out a check. The people lined up behind me and we all waited. The clerk asked for ID; she handed over her driver’s license; he looked at it and said he could not use it as it was expired. She was totally flustered. The manager comes over and tells her that she needs to renew her license and suddenly the woman remembered that she did and had her paperwork in her purse. Case solved…we moved on. I couldn’t help but think how sad this was that no one was with her to assist – a child, a grandchild, a caretaker. She pushed her filled cart out the door and shuffled off to the parking lot all alone.
The next time I went to the market, another eighty years old woman was in front of me. This one though, was alert, quick and pleasant…she worked the credit card payment process easily and quickly, exchanged smiles with the clerk and loaded up her walker seat and off she went at a good pace.
I remember yet another experience at the market from a few years ago. As I walked I towards the market, I heard a voice calling out: “Miss, Miss can you help me?” I looked over to the side and saw an old woman pushing her cart, her purse dangling from the crook of her arm, shaking and shuffling. I ran over and she said “please help me to my car.” I took hold of her cart – thank goodness the drivers of the three cars in the immediate area saw what was happening and they all stopped – and I tried to steer her down the incline. She would not let go and she would not move. Another woman came over to help me, help her. I told her I would take her hands off the cart and hold her up while you take the cart. The old woman gave me a struggle – she said
“don’t take my purse”. I assured her I would not and took a strong hold of her and walked her down to the car. She found her keys and I opened the door and got her settled. The other woman opened the passenger side of the car and loaded up the few groceries. I asked the old lady if there was anyone I could call for her and she said no there wasn’t. I waited till she caught her breath and felt strong enough to drive. I said goodbye and a silent prayer.
A friend is 85 years old – she lives alone with her 3 cats and has a part-time caretaker…she handles her own banking and finances and recently sold her million-dollar home and moved into something a bit smaller on one level. She was driving till she was 83 and only gave it up because she now needs to cart an oxygen tank around and that is a bit too much. Talking to her is a delight – she has had such an interesting life filled with ups and downs…she is sharp, quick and witty.
Two women in my Greek community are 99 ½ years old and 100 years old respectively. They are sharp as a tack; they walk (slowly), they remember who I am (most of the time! ), they ask questions (how are you dear?) and ask that I say hello to Zaf! Role models, indeed.
Guess who I want to be? The differences between these women are astounding. What makes them so different? Is it the life they lead when younger? Is it a mindset? Is it medical or physical illness? Is it genetics? I don’t know. I wish I did – I would wave a magic wand and give this blessing to everyone.
I push myself every day – to get some exercise both physical and mental. As an early riser, am at my desk by 6:00am, coffee in hand, checking my e-mails, respond to students (I teach several online courses) and clients. I check the bank balances and pay bills; and most importantly, I blog. Household chores are next with a thought to what’s for dinner. Washed and dressed, I run errands or meet with clients. I take a power nap and that gives me the oomph I need to do other things as needed for the balance of the day and evening. Zaf comes home, we have dinner and find our way to the couch for some tv watching.
This is the life I’m living right now. I take each day as it comes and pace myself; trying not to think about the sorting, purging and packing that needs to be done for our big move! But one day, it will all be done, and we will be on our way to becoming Retire-Agers!
We are on it!
Check & Credit Cards from The Personal Collection of Helene and Zaf
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