Each time I blow a birthday candle and count yet another added year to my drastically growing numbers, I always make a wish that I would stay young forever. Statistics have it that by the year 2030, twenty percent of our current population will be old and this gets me thinking. The thought of being a grumpy, pale, bendy and weak old person with no idea of the year I am in and having to take all the vitamins, estrogen and other prescription pills kills me from within. Being a confused and delirious eighty-five-year-old Grandparent with memory lapses aren't the best imaginations of how I want to spend my distal days on earth.
Grandma Nana will be turning eighty-nine this summer, and she sincerely has no idea about it. She keeps moving up and down the stairs on her wheelchair to fetch something that she does not bring with her. Grandma keeps talking to Uncle Ben, who died last summer and spends most her time staring into space, making peace with the gone good-old-days. She would probably be in a home nagging a middle-aged gentleman nurse over a cat pet if she hadn't raised dad well. I can't even come close to being empathetic to her because I cannot comprehend what it feels to be her, and quite frankly I don't want to know it at this time of my life.
Aging is a nasty phase of the human lifespan that gets people in surprise even though they carry numeric evidence with them. Once music doesn't feel sweet anymore, walking proves too much an effort, and bedtime is adjusted to incorporate the fatigued body, soul, and mind and increased visits to the physical and psychological therapists, the entire picture of the world gets painted in grey and black. Every inch and joint of the body start aching, and the back and knuckles continuously produce crackling sounds like an old squeaky car engine. Literature becomes confined to biblical scripts and the Bible. With many brains cells dead, the level of creativity in solving real-life circumstances is limited leaving one with experience as the primary source of wisdom and knowledge.
Another aspect of aging is sexuality, and although mentioned in closed curtains, and closed doors, it is an undisputed fact. An increase in age comes with a decrease in sex hormones and consequently, a reduction in libido. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying sex is the core activity in adults, but it sure matters. This evenings of one's life is the time of a man's or woman's life where marriage typically is for companionship if at all one will be lucky to have their spouse still around. Old age is also the time that spouses, men in many cases, make amends to the lost times of their youthful days, the time they used to spend nights in clubs having drinks, smoking pat and indulging in activities that they would regret the next morning.
In addition to the psychological changes brought about by aging, financial differences are also evident. The elderly population is often considered less industrial at a certain age, they retire. For the fouls who didn't save for the rainy day, old age can drag poverty into their lives. In contrast, those who dedicated their working days in investing in their children and kept good pension savings, this presents a time to relax and eat the fruits of their labor. Research on the Hispanic population found out that thirty-three percent of their women attain miserable poverty levels upon aging.
However, with all these undesirable physical and psychological changes, one simple but significant difference is the graduation from being an irresponsible teenager, to a great parent and even a more fabulous grandparent. The joy of receiving letters from your grandchildren, the unexpected visits in summer and Thanksgiving dinner with your entire family surpasses all these, and this summer, we are going to see grandma nana through her eighty-ninth birthday.
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