My Blog

October 24, 2018

On turning 72

I hear people, women, especially, bemoaning turning 30 or 40 or, God-forbid, 60. Sometimes, something happens at 70, however, that changes the dynamic for many of us. Especially if we are in fairly good shape. We are PROUD of reaching 70! Glad to be upright. Thankful to be above the green.

Following in my mother’s footsteps, who continued to swim well into her 90s, I have returned to an exercise regimen and another of those eternal yo-yo diets. It is the exercise, however, that I think will make the difference. There is no reason to stop exercising, a few aches and pains notwithstanding, no matter what age we are. Thus sayeth my mother.

There will be a decline, of course. That is inevitable, especially since atrophy of muscles can occur without use and our minds can slip out of gear without warning. While I cared for Mom at Carriage Inn, it seemed that people declined because of either physical health-broken bones, strokes, heart attacks—or mental health-dementia, Alzheimers. And we don’t get to choose. Sandra Day O’Connor comes to mind (no pun intended). She has been diagnosed with dementia and is putting herself into a care facility. How many of us are next?

As I watch Flatbottom (that is not my name for him, but Pam’s, the pedicure lady who also calls both her husband and mine that because they sit at the computer or watch TV so much), I wonder about his declining health. He does, however, still go to Walmart every week, and even sometimes to Kroger’s. He has even invested in a small garden shed where he can put his ferns for the winter. His (rather strange) interest now is indoor plants. Not as strenuous as working in the yard, but fulfilling nonetheless. At least he is up and moving.

After hearing about the rip-off of the Kentucky pension plans and stories of more elderly without any kind of savings for retirement, I wonder what will happen to our Baby Boomers. I do see more of my aged friends struggling to find jobs, struggling to find enough to buy food, struggling to survive at all.

How often do we see our elderly working as greeters at Walmart? Or standing on their feet for hours handing out samples? Or working as guards at the mall? Is that what our country has come to? It is a frightening thought.

I had started this blog feeling positive and upbeat about being 72. Now, looking down the tunnel ahead, wondering if it will be a stroke or dementia that gets me, or whether my Social Security pension will last, or if I will have to put Flatbottom in a nursing home, the future doesn’t look as rosy.

For the meantime, however, I have to head to Curves to meet all my beloved buddies to exercise our cares away. May you have a happy, healthy, and active future!

About Caroline Castillo Crimm
Retired Professor Emeritus from Sam Houston State University, interested in writing novels and speaking about topics such as the history of Latin American. Would like to share the AMAZING world of the 18th century in Northern New Spain, that's Spanish Texas and Mexico!
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