Colliding into 70

Colliding into 70

Don’t Send Me a Sympathy Card!

By Martha Manning

September/October 2022

I’m colliding into the age of 70. It has more nobility than 69, but still. . . .

A while ago, I saw a perky ad for “seniors” that announced, “You’re not getting older, you’re getting better!” And I immediately thought, bullshit.

My skeletal system hates me. I’m always wearing at least one big, black Velcro brace somewhere on my body. And lately, I’ve had to use a walker (my father’s walker), due to a careless fall.

But please don’t send me a sympathy card, or a birthday card! Have you looked at the cards for older people? They’re meant to be funny, but they’re full of images of sagging breasts, toothless grins, and poor grooming and premature senility. Some are more “sensitive,” with a watercolor message urging you to look back on your life in all its nostalgic perfection. These cards are either cheap or infantilizing.

And it’s not just cards. People say stupid things like, “Oh, bless your heart” or “Aren’t you cute” when referring to us old people. There are segments of morning TV shows in which they trot out some woman who just turned 103 and is slumped in a wheelchair, with one of those big, droopy corsages pinned to her blouse. Usually, some idiot has put a child’s birthday hat on her head. If I turn 103 and someone dares put that hat on me, I’m taking a contract out on myself.

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But as my body becomes more vulnerable, my spirit becomes fiercer. I’ve realized that half the ideas and pronouncements…

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Topic: Aging

Tags: Aging | getting old | Older people

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