Let me count the ways in which we who are aging find joy:
Getting a good night’s sleep without taking sleep meds ranks on top of my list.
During Adrian’s last months, I complained to a psychiatrist who specialized in treating the elderly that Adrian wasn’t sleeping at night.
“The old don’t sleep much in general,” he told me.
That was scary to hear, but now I know what he means.
When a new recurring pain in my side, back, belly or neck goes away after a few days, it’s such a relief. It’s not the beginning of a fatal illness after all, I think.
This body is old and parts are naturally wearing out. I try to take good care of it, but the warranty has expired.
We can say “no” and have a ready excuse. I can’t drive that far—too stressful. I can’t drive at night—old eyes. I can’t carry that package—too heavy.
I can’t eat that food—indigestion. I can’t walk that fast—bad knee. I can’t sleep in that bed—too hard (soft).
We get to watch a movie or read a book we’ve already seen or read and feel like it’s the first time. This seems vaguely familiar, I think, but it’s good, so who cares?
Related to number 4 is our ready excuse for not remembering a word or a name. Everyone knows that old people lose these things, so they naturally re-introduce themselves every time they see us.
“Susan—we met last gallery night—I’m a friend of Martha’s?”
“Oh right,” I say, even though I can’t remember who Martha is, and within five seconds have forgotten Susan’s name.
We get to slow down without guilt. Actually, I have such an achieving personality, that this one is still hard for me. I can’t even admit here how much I have slacked off this past month.
But at least I’m seeing the possibilities in this one. I’m more open to the idea of contemplation, meditation, and just sitting.
Slowing down is my goal for when I get really old.