I am a 66-year-old woman who wants a do-over. Anyone close to my age probably remembers those old Morton salt commercials with the slogan, “When it rains, it pours.” That’s my life.
I read a book recently, and the main character’s daughter was a five or six-year-old girl who told her parents that she wanted a do-over whenever she made a mistake. Wow, I thought, she’s starting a little early in regretting things. It got me thinking wouldn’t it be great if we all got do-overs? I don’t mean just a measly do-over. I want the whole shebang, my Jeanie in the bottle do-over.
Turning 50 hit me like a ton of bricks. I told myself I had to get my act together because I was nearing the end of the road. I went through this period of blaming myself for my train wreck of a life. I realize our lives here on Earth aren’t perfect, but I don’t understand why some people seem to have it easier than others. I feel like my life has been one big Mack truck rolling over me every single minute of the day.
In my fifties, I went through a period of regrets a mile long. I analyzed everything I ever did from my 18th year and on. I had a lot of self-blame, and there were things that I blamed others for that I felt impacted my life. I don’t know how long I wallowed in my mile-long list of regrets, but it was too long.
The one time period that wasn’t on my list of regrets was my childhood. I loved my childhood, but as a child, I often thought I couldn’t wait until I grew up. I could do what I wanted when I wanted and where I wanted. When I turned eighteen, I thought my life would be easier because I would do things differently from my parents. I thought I was a little smarter about things, not old-fashioned, nor raised in the dark ages like they were. I don’t know if my parents ever told me that someday I would learn life wasn’t so cut and dry, but I know of parents who said to their children that one day they would learn that life wasn’t easy. Wow, those parents were right. Who would ever have thought that our parents could be right about anything?
I have aged so much in the past year that my hair is turning white. It bypassed the gray altogether. I have slowed down considerably, arthritis has taken over my body, and I limp like the guy on those old Gunsmoke shows. What was his name, Chester? I am even contemplating buying slip-on shoes so I don’t have to bend over to tie my shoes. I’m afraid I’ll bend over and won’t be able to straighten back up. I might as well buy one of those housecoats with snaps and oversized pockets for my tissues while I’m at it. Oh, and I better buy one of those chains to put my glasses on and hang around my neck so I won’t lose them.
A positive thing about growing old is you always have an excuse. I love to say, “I’m a senior citizen now,” or “Officer, I think I used to babysit you and change your diapers.” You can also say, “My hearing isn’t good,” or “My eyesight isn’t the same.” There are a lot of great excuses that you can offer to get out of a mishap that you couldn’t get away with when you were younger.
And then there are discounts for seniors. That can be a positive thing, like discounts at restaurants, and if you have an AARP membership, you can get discounts on various services. But then there are the restaurants that like to try to pull a fast one over on us seniors. I guess they think we’re not smart enough to catch on like the places that offer senior coffee at a much lower rate. Then you get up to the drive-thru window and see it is half the size of a regular cup of coffee. Then there are the restaurants that offer senior meals – much smaller portions that are two dollars less than a regular portion. Then it comes to the table, and it is half the portion of a regular-size meal, but they only knock two dollars off of it. I guess these places think we’re senile, and we won’t notice. I order the regular meal and then take home the leftovers to eat at another time.
I have concluded that I can’t stop getting older, so why fight it? People may see me at Walmart one of these days, buying hemorrhoid cream, fiber tablets, and incontinence underwear. I even purchased one of those shopping carts we old folks like to use. Mine is red with lawnmower wheels.
Erma Bombeck summed it best with her book “If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?” Now that’s something I can wrap my head around.
As the old saying goes, keep putting one foot in front of the other, never give up, and never lose hope. That’s good advice.
One last thing. If you ever see me with my support hose bagged around my ankles, kindly pull them up because I probably won’t be able to bend over and do it myself. Oh, and I still want that do-over.
Written by: Laurie Davis