Little Aches and Pains
A Boomer reader put the inevitabilities of aging into perspective
Boomer reader Kate M. Carey bemoans the little aches and pains, remedies, and early evenings that have begun to infiltrate life with her husband and their friends.
My husband and I are careening toward the days when conversation centers on doctors’ appointments, bowel movements, and the ache of the day. This week he headed off to the audiologist while I visited the dentist. We met up midday, me with a swollen jaw and him with the news that four thousand dollars could fix his inability to hear our granddaughter’s soft voice.
Our friends, also in the slowly sinking wellness boat, advocate turmeric for bone joint health and suggest gummies (not the THC kind) to increase fiber intake. Such are our conversations over “seniors” dinner in local restaurants after a happy hour that starts at five and ends as the sun sets. We hurry home to cocoon ourselves in comfy clothes and fire up Netflix for evening entertainment, knowing one of us will be asleep by 9 p.m.
The passage of time has been kinder to me than some friends. I’ve not had cancer, cataracts, COVID, chronic pain. No hip or knee replacements. No AM-PM daily pill box for me. My little aches and pains match the frequency once held for passionate lovemaking. Warm socks and flannel pajamas now appreciated as much as we’d once enjoyed foreplay.
We are pathetic. And maybe becoming a bit frightened of life.
We certainly were on Florida’s notoriously hectic highways as cars cut from lane to lane with speeds befit the Fast and Furious crowd only to arrive at the exit one car ahead of us. An esteemed actor slapped the comedian emcee at the Oscars. The Academy of Motion Pictures awarded his Oscar, but he cannot attend the ceremonies for ten years. War broke out in Ukraine. Among atrocities is a food shortage that, according to relief workers, means food would be taken from hungry children to give to starving children.
My few aches and pains are irrelevant compared to starving children.
Perhaps we have lived too long.
I’m a Boomer – those of us born between the end of World War II and the beginning of the Civil Rights area. I’d always been proud to be aligned with a generation that challenged societal norms, even though it took some longer than others to realize that Blacks Lives Matter. Joining the youth who stemmed the movement, I marched, I donated, I wore the T-shirt. I rejoiced at Kamala Harris’s election to vice president and Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court yet bemoan the lack of Black governors, the few Black Senators (11) and House members (57).
At a meet-and-greet for a congressional candidate, no one there was under 60 years old. The candidate was 77. If elected, he’ll join 141 House colleagues over the age of 65, and half the Senate is over 65. President Joe Biden is 79. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is 82. Two members of Congress are almost 90! You’d think with that many old people running the country, we’d have better health care. Oh wait, they have Medicare!
As I settle into my sixth decade, I’ve seen positive social action. Women’s rights. Voting rights. LGBTQI rights. Recent threats to all these remain prevalent. In that peril, I know some things haven’t changed. Greed. Poverty. Discrimination. Birth. Love. Death.
My mother always said that life moved fast, but stuck on a farm where the big excitement was a great heron landing on the pond, I scoffed (behind her back so I wouldn’t get a quick cuff to my head).
Today, I’m happy to choose a slower life. A good day that includes writing and reading, gardening and walking. Slow fits me like my husband’s old sweatshirt, loose in the middle and warm to the bone.
Oh, and next week it’s the optometrist for him and the massage therapist for me.
Toes firmly placed in the sands of Topsail Island, Kate M Carey was raised to read books on rainy days, enjoy local foods, and cheer for The Ohio State University Buckeyes. She writes essays about her coastal environment, the politics of everyday life, and fiction about people and the strange things they do for love. Her work has appeared in Noctua, The Tishman Review, Panoply, Camel City Digest, Savannah Writers Anthology, and County Line Journal. A contributor to Topsail Magazine and Women AdvaNCe, she and her husband, an Episcopal priest, have adult children living in Ohio and Florida.