There are no excuses.
The reality is I’m shorter by another
inch, age spots now sprinkled over
my arms and legs like chocolate chips,
gait slowed so people pass me on my
walks in the neighborhood and
glasses are no longer a fashion
statement. Memory is now a random
sieve, so I tell people to take notes if
they wish to remember something I
said. The curiosity I had is thankfully
still on the burner and the flame is
high. My mouth continues to operate
and perhaps even gained traction as
I’m now fully clothed in candor.
Getting on With It
There’s a quickening of pace,
a need to get things accomplished
as the days pass like a dealer shuffling
a deck of cards.
Sell hundreds of long-playing records.
Shred photos with no name nor memory.
Donate linens and silver and china from
the days when that was important.
Discard old letters, yes even the Peace
Corps acceptance and receipts from
items used and trashed.
Sort books (Why are you keeping Freud
when you haven’t liked him in over
30 years?) Instead …
Tell friends, family, colleagues how
extraordinarily satisfying it’s been to
have them in your life.
Plan visits to travel wish list:
New Orleans, Florida Keys, Provence.
Spend time laughing instead of sighing.
Eat what pleases, do what teases, enjoy
this time of reflection and generosity,
connection and legacy.
There is no going back.
I used my credit card in the supermarket
and the cashier said: "Don’t forget to take
it from the charger.”
I thanked her because one day a number
of months ago I did indeed leave it and
had to return the next day to pick it up.
She said “I always remind people like you.”
I paused, taken aback.
“You mean people with curly hair?” She
stared at me. “Short people?”
She was surprised. “No, I meant
old people, my grandmother’s age.
“And so,” (I couldn’t let this go.) “you assume
all women who look old, to you, are forgetful?”
“You know we’re all different?
Just like you and your friends behave differently at times?
And honestly, some days I’m forgetful and
some days not. This is a good day.”
She smiled. As did I.
It was the beginning of a conversation.
Jane Seskin, LCSW is a psychotherapist and writer. Her latest collection of poetry is “Older, Wiser, Shorter: An Emotional Road Trip to Membership in the Senior Class,” available on Amazon.