Older, Wiser, Hipper

In my family it is known as the “Jongebloed Hip.” Amazingly, it is even less glamorous than its name. The Jongebloed Hip caused my grandfather and his twin brother to lilt to the left for their last thirty years. It caused my mother to concede that a hip replacement was on her horizon (but only after her exasperated doctor convinced her he was pretty sure her bones were well on their way to becoming dust).

I’m not sure what it means for me. Only that sometimes my hip speaks to me as I’m getting up from a seated position.

I’ve always been a person who didn’t give in to every ache and pain. These good intentions sometimes get waylaid in your 60s. That’s just the way it is. I’ve also been a person who took pride in aging gracefully. That’s not to say I don’t spend a small fortune on highlights for my hair or the best make-up I can find. We live in an age when you can still be pretty at 65, even if you need extra time getting up from a seated position.

I have aging-gracefully role models in this endeavor. Lots of women who got on with the work of getting older without wringing their hands or flying to a plastic surgeon for answers. I was only 21 when I met the first of these. She was 93. I was in college, and Mrs. Clark lived in one of the town’s last magnificent mansions still owned by its original family.

She hired me for one afternoon a week so she could “go to town” and have lunch with friends. Her husband’s nurse drove her to and from the restaurant, so she needed extra help with Mr. Clark, who was 97. He was bedridden by then but had been known to try to get out of bed to sneak a cigarette.

The first time I met Mrs. Clark, I arrived nervous and a little early. I was ushered into the vestibule (the only word for it) by her uniformed maid. We made small talk, our voices echoing.

Mrs. Clark began her slow descent down the curved mahogany staircase. Radiant, she smiled at me as I waited below.

“I’ll be with you in a bit, my dear,” she called down. “As you can see, I move with all the grace of a lame camel.”

Although she moved slowly, none of the rest of it was true. Mrs. Clark was still shining, still beautiful in her 90s. I picture our meeting now, the year when I was just getting to that full bloom of womanhood, when somehow I just figured I’d never get old.

I wonder when her hip gave her the first twinge. I wonder if she was surprised — like me — that she wasn’t going to stay young forever.

For now, I’ll keep her in mind every time I feel my hip say, “Not so fast.” I’ll keep leading with my better foot, taking my time. I’ll remember to smile from the inside, to be as pretty as I can be. And believe that if I take extra care in those first few steps, everything will even out. Just like Mrs. Clark did.

 

5 thoughts on “Older, Wiser, Hipper

  1. I enjoy hearing that you have a region area attitude. Instead of putting up a facade, you put forth a real side of you. One day, I hope, the perseverance will pay off and the clouds wil crawl back to their homes and the sun will emerge as supreme. One day the grass will grow greener, the Stars falling in your favor, bright moon can even become your companion in the dark. Constituting your life with a elegant smile one that provides a reflective light for your soul, is a monitor for a contempt being. A foreboding message of fortitude may dramatize itself but don’t be weary. Don’t dwell, and mourn in happiness either. Always walk the path of happiness, because if you take a minute to view the beauty of it, life can say otherwise. Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have met some really amazing elderly people and they have been/are truly inspiring. I find myself saying, “I hope I can be like that when I am…80..90…etc.” Then I look at folks who are so much younger than they are and wonder why they are so different. It seems to come down to the spirit with which they approach their life. Either a person takes the challenges in life with a “never say die” positive attitude or they just give up. I enjoyed your story about your neighbor…it is so nice when people value the elderly instead of disregarding them because they are old. Aching joints can happen at any age, mine have been aching and complaining for quite some time already…I hope you continue to refuse to give in to the more unpleasant aspects of aging! The body is not the person, it is simply the shell housing the person.

    Liked by 1 person

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