Letter to My 82-Year-Old Self

Photo by Josh Wedgwood on Unsplash

Dear Older Me,

I’m a little bit afraid of you.  And for you. 

I have not taken particularly good care of our body.  I’ve fed our mind and fostered our creativity all the while allowing us to adventure.  That I’ve done those things should give you rich memories to look back on.  It’s been quite a ride.  But our body is on a downhill descent that feels a bit as if we’re riding strong currents leading to a waterfall.  Eventually, we are going to go over the falls to a different ride.  Perhaps one that is a peaceful glide through the water; or perhaps another wild ride like the last 62 years. 

I’m not even going to hazard a guess as to what the next twenty years might hold. The last twenty have been surprising and the twenty before that even more so.

I hope we stay intact.  That our voice remains a guide assuring that this too shall pass when in the rough waters and laughing in delight at the scenery at the other times. I do wonder if this last transition will turn us into more spectator than participant in life.  Will we begin to make our world smaller?  Turn inward?

I’m already a constant examiner of my life – the one I’m living now, the one I lived, and the one I’m creating.  I can’t imagine becoming even more introspective, but perhaps. It’s exhausting to even think about the possibility.

Possibility.  There’s the rub.  I’ve been told that what is possible reduces itself a bit year by year until there is nothing but the inevitable.  Dear God, I hope not.

I’ve gotten through life with hope for and anticipation of good things to come. 

I’m making peace with the idea that my body is beginning to impose limitations.  I am stiff and old injuries haunt me.  

I can’t sprawl in the grass and look for animals in the clouds any longer.  I would never be able to get up.  My hearing is fading which is disastrous when one is almost wholly auditory.  I experience the world through sound and words and this inner voice in our head that is sometimes akin to talk radio. 

I have no trouble hearing our voice, but it is getting harder to eavesdrop on strangers and invent stories about their life, their hopes, and their dreams.

I think it is a given our inner voice will remain at least until the end and maybe onto the next life.  We’ve become friends. The insecure youth that we were has developed some moxie.

Let’s keep that.  Shall we?  We fought hard for it.  To get there.  To develop the courage to fail. It takes a lot of pressure off knowing we don’t have to be perfect; We just have to do the best we can under our present limitations.

Let’s go out in grace and style.  Observing, yes, but participating in the dance.  We weren’t meant to be a wallflower. 

Let’s make a pact, shall we?

Love, Connie

The Revolt

Me at 13
The Revolt

My hands cramp, fingers arching backward.
Arthritis. Two Advil daily.

My lower back aches, stooping my spine.
My arches continue their path to flat.

It feels like betrayal this revolt.

I was supple and graceful once upon a time.
First a disco queen and then a yoga diva.

This revolt surprises me.
The me that was me that will always 
be me is still there.

But aging and menopause have not been kind to me.

I tell the young’uns not to get old ---
there’s no future in it.

My arm wattles jiggle when I do goddess pose.

Oh, how I wanted something to jiggle when I was 13.
Unnaturally thin for most of my life,
I longed for hips and breasts.  
I had neither until the hot flashes were spent.

This extra weight is foreign to me.
There doesn’t seem to be a map for this territory.

I am frequently besmirched by the 
indignities of old age.

The beginnings of incontinence,
dull dry brittle hair,
my oily skin suddenly flaky and wrinkled.
But the acne has persisted.

I buy moisturizer and acne remedies.

I’ve quit wearing eyeliner.
The crepe underneath my eyes
prevents a straight line.

My beloved shoes languish in the closet.
My balance precarious --
four-inch heels may be my past.

This menopause cleavage astounds me.

Oh, how I had longed for breasts and 
now am plagued by underwire.

This revolt aggravates me.

My visage in the mirror a shock.
Who is that woman?

I feel weighed down by this body in revolt, 
but I practice yoga and I continue to dance.

My spirit intact.  
The me that was me that will always be me 
is still there.  

In revolt against the revolt.

A Cautionary Tale

I contracted COVID in October.

By all reckoning, I had a mild case: headache, slight shortness of breath, fatigue, brain fog, and some muscle pain.

I am what they call a long hauler with what they are now calling Long COVID. There is no real treatment for it. The doctors just don’t know what to do.. I still have COVID symptoms and some of them are getting worse.

I just started month 9.

I’ve lost the headache, but the shortness of breath is increasing, the fatigue is debilitating, and I get through the day only by the grace of Tylenol, Advil, and a boatload of supplements.

This sucks. I want my life back.

Get the vaccine and wear a mask. Do it for you.