Of the Age

As has been widely and frequently reported, several things unambiguously mark attainment of a certain age – by which “youth” is not the end of the spectrum being considered.

Repeating oneself, for instance.

Those without the identical and not-always-enviable achievement (older age), however, are admonished to demonstrate patience and just the tiniest measure of respect for elders who engage in the behavior. Some things bear repeating. Often.

Another marker of those of a certain age is a peculiar if unsurprising fascination with the obituary page in the newspaper. Two reasons, perhaps, account for this. First, one notes that, increasingly and sadly, the familiar names of others begin to make appearances.

Doubtless, this is disconcerting. A little reminder as to one’s own somewhat tentative station, which makes the observation even less palatable.

Second, it is perhaps reassuring that one’s own name is absent from the page, although that observation is also the fuel propelling one on the road to work. Disagreeable though work may be, plainly it is better than that alternative.

Recently, while leaving a memorial service for a friend, a third unambiguous sign appeared.

I slipped one arm into the sleeve of my coat. Because the service was crowded, I tried to carefully slide the other arm into the coat’s other sleeve. Not wishing to slap a stranger across the face with my coat’s cuff, I made a quarter-turn.

That motion – twisting my body 90 degrees – though, was enough to prompt the gentleman behind me to assist. He grabbed the coat’s shoulder and, raising it slightly, make my arm’s entry more convenient.

The altruistic gentleman, by the way, might have been five years younger than the nearly coatless codger.

“Oh, great,” I thought to myself. “Oh, thanks!” I said out loud.

Getting helped on with one’s coat. Add it to the list. Repeat myself. Read the obit column. Say the same thing twice within 10 seconds.

And, now, require the assistance of a strange-uh to get my coat on. Hey, I didn’t really need the help. I was trying only to be considerate of the neighbor.

Doesn’t matter. The deed’s been done.

Welcome to senior living!

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