Embracing Aging

24 mag 2024 · 3 min. 48 sec.
Embracing Aging
Descrizione

Joanne’s book, “By Accident: A Memoir of Letting Go” is now available from your favorite online book seller. Stay tuned to hear if Joanne will be speaking at a bookstore...

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Joanne’s book, “By Accident: A Memoir of Letting Go” is now available from your favorite online book seller. Stay tuned to hear if Joanne will be speaking at a bookstore near you. If you’re interested in having her come to your local bookstore, contact her directly at joannergreene@gmail.com or get updates on her website at joanne-greene.com and make sure to sign up for her newsletter!

In this story, I embrace aging.
We had just shared Muir Woods with our grandchildren, ages 3 and 5. They seemed to appreciate the silence of walking through the Cathedral Grove, the majesty of being surrounded by redwood trees many hundreds of years old. Walking to the parking lot, en route to the next activity, we passed an abandoned phone booth, stripped of all equipment, but still standing as though in tribute to another dimension.
“What’s that?” asked my granddaughter, and I promptly realized that I, too, was from another time.
“Years ago,” I began, “people didn’t have cell phones. If you wanted to make a call when you weren’t at home, you had to look around for one of these. Phone booths, they were called. Some had doors on them; others were open like this one. Then you had to have the right number of coins to insert in a slot so that you could make a phone call.”
I was pleased with myself for explaining the concept in so few words, but she looked right through me, as though I’d been speaking a foreign language. To her, I was.
She can’t imagine life without a smartphone, the internet, a microwave, and Alexa. Why would she?
It’s a slow descent that happens if you continue living. In fact, it’s probably happening to you right now, accelerating to the point where you might find yourself saying “When I was your age, I had to walk across the room to change the channel…..to one of the two other channels.”
One minute, you’re rolling your eyes at your parents’ habit of clipping coupons; next thing you know, your kid is dumping expired condiments that have been in your refrigerator for years. “You don’t have to be so frugal,” I told my mom when she couldn’t break her old habit of making do to avoid spending money because, heaven forbid, it might run out. Now, my son questions why we fly coach, check the sale rack first, and get so much pleasure from following American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.
Growing older, I’m beginning to understand, means being outraged at how much things cost nowadays, at being asked to give a 20% tip when you ordered your food at the counter, at being charged a convenience fee to order your ticket online when there’s no one in the box office to sell it to you any other way. To appear “with it”, we accept these changes as though they’re technological advances. How the hell am I supposed to remember every password? Have any idea where I parked my car in the garage that’s the size of six malls? Not wear the same thing to an event with the same group of people again and again? Either there’s an app for that or you just take a photo. I know; it’s easy.
“Count your blessings” seemed like the corniest possible phrase when my mother said it. Now, I realize how well it works to counter self-pity and keep you from falling into despair. I’m healthy. My husband’s healthy. Our kids and grandchildren are healthy. I am so grateful. Now wasn’t that easy?
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Autore Joanne Greene
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