Thursday, June 16, 2011

On Becoming 80

Just this week I attended a Day Wings luncheon. Day Wings is a group of older women in the First Congregational Church of Darien who meet monthly for fellowship. They had started the group 50 years ago or so because they all worked and couldn't make the day-time luncheons at church. So they had dinner together and called themselves Night Wing. Now, still friends, they are mostly over 80 and don't drive at night, and they switched the name to Day Wings. Although I'm not in their age group, I really enjoy their company and conversation and try to make the gatherings.

We were sitting on a deck in the sun overlooking the beautiful Holly Pond. Then, one member pulled out of her purse a piece of paper with a quote that our former senior minister Alfred Schmalz had read to a Saturday Smorgasbord gathering at church in the late 1960s. I enjoyed the piece so much, I just have to share it.

On Becoming 80

The first 80 years are the hardest. The second 80 is a succession of parties.

Everybody wants to carry your bag and help you up the stairs. If you forget anybody's name, or an appointment, or promise to be several places at the same time, you can explain that you are 80.

If your clothes don't match, or if you take someone else's coat by by mistake, or forget to mail a letter, you are 80.

It is a great deal better than being 65 or 70. At that age you are expected to retire to a little house in Florida and become a discontented, grumbling, bored has-been. But, if you survive til 80, everybody is surprised that you are alive, surprised that you can walk, surprised that you can talk above a whisper, surprised that you have lucid moments.

At 70, people are mad at you for everything. At 80, they forgive anything.

If you ask me, life begins at 80. Give thanks. YOU'VE GOT IT MADE.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It certainly is a jolly outlook!
On the other hand cousin Lois, with Alzheimers, became feral in the hospital where she had to go for another matter entirely. She scratched and drew blood from three nurses, punched one in the face and got one in the ribs; the latter two ended up in the emergency room. She is home now where the household is seeking peace-- peace for her-- she has vaulted a baby gate (any fool could have seen with her long legs she could do that), scared her caretaker who at midnight "left her post" not to be seen again, etc. etc..
Am I less Christian than Alfred Schmalz? Or is mindless Cousin Lois who will be 80 in August an anomaly?
Ann