Column By Melissa Martin
Pollyanna oldsters, please stop telling everyone how aging is akin to a scrumptious cupcake with icing and sprinkles. What a crock of nonsense. Discontinue the discussion on the youthfulness of aging—because it’s a sham. The anti-aging secrets are all lies.
Stop telling us complainers that, “Every day above ground is a good day.” And no, we don’t want to play the Glad Game with you. After you leave the get-together, we’ll talk about how glad we are that you left.
There is a time and a place for a cheery senior citizen, but not when your gal pals are whining about cataracts, leaky bladders, and odorous nether regions. So chill your Pollyanna self and validate our festering feelings about postmenopausal conditions as well as our irrepressible flatulence.
Optimism and osteoporosis do not dance together. Happiness and heart disease are not friends. Adventure and arthritis clash. And please don’t ramble on and on about the comfort of cotton granny panties. Just call us bellyacher bystanders because our knees need to be replaced. Aargh.
Don’t expect us to jump for joy when our arm flab jiggles in the Jacuzzi and our cleavage collides with our belly button. Don’t expect us to erupt with elation when our eyelids and booty migrate south. And no celebrating when collagen takes a permanent vacation. Any gray-haired lady that claims saggy skin is a gift is suffering from Pollyannaitis or brain strain.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, “With age, your skin thins and becomes less elastic and more fragile, and fatty tissue just below the skin decreases. You might notice that you bruise more easily. Decreased production of natural oils might make your skin drier. Wrinkles, age spots and small growths called skin tags are more common.”
And don’t even impart your Pollyanna pondering about sexuality. According to the Mayo Clinic website, “With age, sexual needs and performance might change. Illness or medication might affect your ability to enjoy sex. For women, vaginal dryness can make sex uncomfortable.”
And presbycusis, age-related hearing loss, is not a party favor—it’s a party pooper. So don’t buy Wayne Newton concert tickets for my birthday. Call me a grinch, a grouch, a griper—a grumpy granny. But, I will eat the cake and ice cream instead.
It’s somewhat difficult to age with grace when you have to stick a post-it on your forehead to remember to take your daily stool softener. Need I say more?
Label me pessimist Polly. Or a cranky crabby curmudgeon. Dub me a grumbler and a growler. Getting old stinks! I want to age disgracefully.
“Old age is not an easy ride, and retirement is not the Holy Grail that our culture and our expectations have painted it to be,” declared Sheila Whitzman in a 2014 article in The Montreal Gazette. “I speak as a relatively lucky 85-year-old, but I repeat that old age and retirement bring with them many unexpected limitations.”
Attitude about aging is the Holy Grail to accepting the inevitable process of growing older. And laughter—with sarcasm sprinkled on top.
Enter humor and the Senility Prayer: “God, grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.”
But seriously folks, I want to laugh all the way to the rocking chair. Along the way, I’ll enjoy prune juice with perky Pollyanna, feisty Freda, and grumpy Greta.
What does Maxine say? “Getting older is like visiting an all-you-can-eat buffet. What should be hot is cold, what should be firm is limp, and the buns are bigger than anything else of the menu.”
Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Southern Ohio.