I’m used to time running by quickly as I age, but this summer galloped away from me! We had our vacation early in June and when we came home I was looking forward to days swimming leisurely in the pool, taking long walks and short drives with my husband to discover new places. I did none of these.
First of all, I’m still recovering from my hip injury, so long walks and or hiking was out of the question. The pool was usually surrounded by everyone’s grandchildren, so I gave that up as well.
It seemed as though after Monday came Friday and then Monday. We were constantly asking each other, “What day is today?” We forgot appointments or arrived for them on the wrong day. Worst was leaving two friends sitting, waiting, for a lunch that I had orchestrated that I had thought was scheduled for another day. What a horrible feeling! And now, It’s Labor Day where summer officially ends but the hot weather really starts.
Do you remember that feeling when you were in school and the clock would say it was 2:45? You would make yourself wait for what seemed like an hour and when you would look back up it said 2:46. Time crept by. Was that just youth? I think so. I know in my brain that time is time but as we age, one day is Labor Day and the next day we are preparing for Thanksgiving! Even though time is more precious to us now, we can’t seem to capture it in a bottle. It slithers and slides out our hands.
I accept it, promise to honor dates more carefully, go with the flow. What else can we do? There are many doctors’ appointments that keep us on time and those have to be observed. I’m sitting in a waiting room to give a blood sample while my husband is having a colonoscopy in another part of the hospital. Is this the new togetherness? Whatever, when he is done we will have breakfast and go about our day.
For sure it’s the new normal. Okay, this is how it’s supposed to be at this point. We can do it!
We have plenty of time!
I make up at a makeup table in my bathroom, every day and I always have one, two or even three lights that are not working. It’s become a given in my life. Something about circuits that several electricians have not figured out. I don’t mind. It kind of makes the hard facts of aging a little gentler.
But here is where it gets tricky. I put my makeup on one day, drove to LA and had lunch with two of my oldest and dearest friends. One of them said to me, very kindly I might add, “Beverlye, I don’t know how to tell you this, but your eyebrows are bright red”. Yup, I had used my lip liner as my eyebrow pencil and thought I was just perfect and “camera ready” to go out into the world!
Pathetic? No, it’s just being in one’s early 80’s.
Then I had tea with another friend a different day and when we were through I told her about the light situation in my bathroom and after dissecting my face, She said,“FIX IT”. I looked into my small mirror and had to laugh at the Cyclops makeup job I had done on my eyes.
It’s not easy, this aging thing. Navigating through these murky waters is a full time job, at best. Thank god we can laugh!
Forgetting dates, keeping them even when remembered is hard enough, but aches and pains, new doctors for new ailments and the constant sense of loss is overwhelming. When I say loss, I don’t only mean loss of friends and acquaintances, which is devastating, but the loss of one’s old self. The one that use to hike for a couple of hours a day. Or the one that played tennis for three hours a day. That one.
It’s hard not to beat oneself up and say, “I can still do that”. But in realty I can’t. I’m still on the injured list from dancing up a mountain to some Cuban music in April and hoping to return to some semblance of really exercising. I’m not good at this. This waiting for things to heal.
I need to feel strong. Or, let’s put it this way. I need to test my levels of strength, which is not very high.
I still remain feeling lucky. I have made it to 83 but all new things need guidance and this “New Old” that my generation is in, really has none. We are a breakthrough generation in how we have remained relevant, strong and vital during our 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. We get heart issues, cancer, back and hip problems and keep marching on. I’m not saying it’s easy, but we’re still marching. The doctors don’t even know what to do with us.
I think the first thing I have to do is get the lights in my bathroom fixed!!
“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer”.
Birthdays are a big deal in my family! They just are! We love them. We celebrate them, sometimes two and three times and then we all say, “You shouldn’t have” but we don’t mean it. We have big ones for big years and “low key” ones for off years, but even the off year celebrations are pretty gorgeous!
Yesterday was my 83rd “low key” birthday. “What do you want to do,” asked my ever patient and accommodating husband? “Not much,” I replied. “Just you and me and whatever family can come up from LA for dinner.” “Great,” he answered relieved. “Oh,” I said, before he walked away, “if the weather is nice, let’s have cocktails at the beach.” I know those aren’t his favorite, but I love it and he’s kind of stuck because it’s my celebration day.
There is a table at the beach and it’s a half of a block away and we have to drive everything down BUT IT’S SO WORTH IT. He did it all with my 19 year old granddaughter, Tess, who was staying for the weekend (that was a treat in itself). I wasn’t allowed to see what they had planned. They were in mysterious meetings all weekend. We opened the gifts, and then we were on the way to the beach. I loved my gifts and my cards.
So, when we got there (BTW, a gorgeous day) it was so beautiful - Rosé in a wine bucket, humus, guacamole and egg salad (my contribution) and a beautiful turquoise runner on the table. Jim, Leslie, Terry, Tess, Bob, Sophia and I had a wonderful time! Both Gideon and Alex were away on exciting summertime adventures and both called to wish me Happy Birthday.
Various friends walked by and sat or stopped for a birthday hug and I was so happy. We then quickly changed and went out to dinner to Tre Lune where Bob had outdone himself, especially for a “low key” birthday. Beautiful tablecloth and napkins, more Rosé, a menu with my name on it, birthday cake from Jeanine’s and the most important thing, my family!!
Days before I had been complaining to a friend about turning 83. My god, how did that happen? Middle 80’s? Old lady, no matter how you look at it? Aches and pains? I heard that negative voice in my head. But then the other side stepped in and said, “Look how lucky you are!! Aging is a privilege! Remember? You never thought you’d see your grandchildren this old remember? You’ve lived 20 years longer than any women in your family, remember?”
Oh yes, I remember. I transgressed for a few days but I’m back!
I’m grateful to be alive and feeling well! Not everyone gets to age. Thanks to my kids and my very thoughtful and loving husband, I had a wonderful “low key” birthday.
Maybe the best!!
I have to keep reminding myself. The only thing we lose as we age is the fear of aging!
It started with my parents going there many years ago. Then us. Now my children and grandchildren.
Okay – Let’s face it, for Bob and I there is nothing like Capri. For us, it holds friends, water, rocks, hotel lunches, dinners, swimming, weather, view, we love it all. The hotel wraps you in its arms like a warm comforter. The most wonderful staff I have ever had the pleasure of meeting is waiting there to make your stay absolutely perfect in every way.
The drawback - getting there. With our sore backs we braved cars, planes, trains, ferries, all to get to our beloved Capri – and it was worth it. Our friends were already there and still there when we left. They ARE Capri. Beautiful Rose, handsome Roberto, debonair Joseph and Klaus and Jane the adventurer. I was so worried about my recent injury, but it worked out fine. I walked up and down the hills like always, swam in the sea, cruised in the boat and it was all fine.
The big plus this year was that my son Jim, daughter-in-law Leslie, and my twin grandsons Gideon and Alex came to Capri on their way to London. So we had four wonderful days in Capri and one great night in Rome together. We celebrated the boys 16th birthday a month early by renting a boat and taking them to Lo Scoglio for lunch, a little Island were they feed you until you burst. I’m still bursting.
The boys loved it and it was so special for me to have them there. We baked in the sun, drank Aperol Spritzers. (it is a beautiful looking drink, which consists of peaches, Prosecco and Aperol). It’s the drink of Capri this year. Our days consisted of swimming, eating and shopping. Capri is special. There is no doubt. It’s a way to escape ordinary life and you have to only wake up thinking of ways to enjoy yourself.
Will we return next year? I hope so!
We made reservations. Let’s see what happens. A year is a long time.
For now “Ci vediamo, Capri.” Until we meet again.