I must admit, I#8217;m fed up with it

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 29, 2006

When you get to a certain age, after 80, the cards you get for your birthday become depressing … all about getting old … and now I get quite a few. I’d put them on the buffet for everyone to read when they came to my birthday party.

Our family celebrates them all, everyone in anyway connected by blood or marriage gets cards, dinner, a party, cake, ice cream, drinks, and we all watch as the gifts are opened … I imagine it’s the same deal in most families. But only the grandmas and grandpas are reminded of how bad a shape they are supposed to be in, via those unfunny &uot;reminder&uot; cards.

So, now I hide them, half I don’t even open because I know from whom they came and what they will say. They depict rickety old bodies, medicine bottles, and there will be cute little poems reflecting age.

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One of my friends was asked if it was age that made her gesture so much while talking. She answered, &uot;Ask me that again and I’ll give you a gesture you won’t forget.&uot;

There’s an assumption that if you make it to 80, you’re on borrowed time, a good part of your body is in a state of decline, malfunctioning, aching, misshapen or missing parts.

Forget that us older, wiser ones stuff ourselves with every kind of vitamin, antibiotic and supplement we can get our hands on. The younger generations are not taking them. It keeps us financially broke, but physically able.

In spite of the hardships of the past and present, we have found wonderful reasons to continue living. But we admit youth should come later in life.

We know what home cooked meals taste like and have them every day. But in grocery stores, I see shelves loaded with one-minute meals for harried families living on a treadmill.

Life in America is a two-income family necessity, much too often a one-parent family.

Commuting is a killer, rising costs and keeping a job a continual worry.

With all that pressure, I wonder how many will reach the ripe old age of 80, even with pills.

We elders are grateful we grew up in a different kind of world, slower-paced and quieter … and realize during our life here we are just traveling from one eternity to another eternity.

People forget we grew up in hard times, got used to doing without, worked harder, didn’t have much, but appreciated what we had. That lifestyle made most of us lean and mean, and we trudged on no matter what.

We are still doing it today, and expect a lot less for a good life.

The odds are we are in better shape than a majority of the younger generations who are lazy, expect too much, and are too fat.

I don’t care how much medical advances there are and will be, if you don’t take care of yourself, stay in shape, and slow down, you are doomed.

Birthday cards for &uot;elderly&uot; remind me of the Suffolk property-tax story.

An old couple was eating in a fast-food place. He ordered a burger, fries, and a glass of water while she found a table.

When he came with the food, he cut the burger in half, carefully counted and divided the fries, and slipped two straws in the glass of water. They took turns sipping while he ate his portion, but she did not touch her share of the food, apparently saving it for her older husband.

An observing young man at the next table noticed she was not eating. He came over and politely offered to buy them another meal.

&uot;No thank you sir,&uot; she said, &uot;that’s very thoughtful of you. It’s just that we have learned to share everything.&uot;

&uot;But you are not eating,&uot; said the caring young man.

&uot;Oh,&uot; she said, &uot;I’m just waiting for his teeth.&uot;