“It looks like you have lost a little weight since I saw you last year” the doctor said.
“Yes,” I replied, silently thinking I wanted to lose about 15 more pounds.
“How much should I weigh?’ I asked.
He rustled through my chart,
“Hmmm, oh, umm, well… I wouldn’t want you to lose
much more. Maybe another 5 pounds, but not more
than that. You know, old skinny people don’t do very
I was still visualizing myself 15 pounds lighter in my mind, so the idea that he thought I shouldn’t lose more than 5 pounds surprised me, but it was the old skinny people part that stunned me.
Before I could speak he began his next comment,
“You know, if you asked a rancher about their old horse
he would tell you the first thing he would do is fatten it
up before they put it out to pasture for the winter.”
That did it!
That cemented my shock into a mute silence. The other questions I had intended to ask him were pushed back deep into my mind.
Fumbling through my purse (and thoughts) I paid the fee for my yearly checkup and quickly escaped to my car.
I studied my hands as they rested on the steering wheel. Thoughts swirled in my mind.
I’m not old.
I thought 50-ish was the new 30-ish.
Did he really just compare me to an old horse?
Maybe he was joking.
He WASN’T joking!
I don’t feel old.
Flipping down the mirror on my car visor I thought…
I don’t think I look old.
I was even having one of those best-ever hair days.
I AM NOT OLD!
My friends and family filled the days that followed with ‘old horse’ jokes. After a great dental checkup I was told,
“Well, at least you have good teeth for an old horse.”
And other colorful jabs at me like,
“If the horseshoe fits.”
I swung from seeing the total humor in it to being angry and then suddenly it hit me!
My Mom is in her mid-80’s and she doesn’t think she is old --even though at every turn someone is giving her a list of “shouldn’ts.”
She shouldn’t drive. She shouldn’t spend money. She shouldn’t walk on icy sidewalks
By all standards mid-80’s IS old, but she doesn’t believe she is old.
Fear slapped me right between the eyes--- is this the way it works?
None of us think we are old, but one day will we just wake up believing it is an average day, doing our normal things and we are instantly deemed by the rest of the world as old---and the joke is on us because WE don’t know it.
I didn’t get the memo telling me that on the morning of my 56th year and 17th day that I was now old.
I plan to live to be close to 100 like my great grandmother did, but I didn’t know that after only 20,471 days I was supposed to feel old!
Hey, hey, hey, wait a minute, I calculate that I have another 36,525 days left to live! (No comment necessary here that “hay is for horses.”)
It has been a week now since the remark that rocked my wobbly skinny legs and rattled my creaky old knees. It has sifted in through my mind and heart and settled into a warm corner on the left end of my funny bone. I understand that the doctor was probably stating facts. Skinny old people probably wouldn’t do well if you put them out in a cold pasture for the winter.
I believe the comment to me could have waited another 25 or 30 years, but now it makes me laugh. You see I don’t feel old. I don’t act old. I hope I don’t look old. But the important thing is I don’t BELIEVE I am old.
I am amused that at some point I WILL be old and don’t plan to acknowledge it… or maybe I will continue to live in my happy place of Pollyanna oblivion and not notice the reality of wrinkles, achy joints and memory loss.
I just hope someone continues to brush my mane, because I plan to have years of Best-Ever hair days ahead of me.
Pennie’s Life Lesson:
“The secret to staying young is
to see humor in every day of your life!”
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My intent in sharing this with you is to point out the way mature adults are treated and spoken to....even long before the term "mature" should be applied to them. Do you do this? Has this happened to you? How did it make you feel?
Share your thoughts and experiences relating to this post in a comment below .
And please feel free to email me at:
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