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“How old would you be…”

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Mark Twain knew his shit.

“...if you didn’t know how old you was?” ~Satchel Paige, American Baseball Player

Age is another concept that we like to think of as malleable … especially as we get older.

You’re only as old as you feel,” and “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing,” are two of the more common sayings we trot out to justify behavior that may be seen as immature.

But I’d argue that it is really just our normal, playful nature peeking out that our age and confidence allow us to act upon.

For some, that new behavior is encouraged. Others find themselves having to justify their “immature” behavior to family and friends who haven’t yet developed the self-confidence to buck the system, so to speak.

I think about these things when I go visit my Pepere in the nursing home. Ten years ago, he was adamant that he didn’t “want to live in a place with all old people because all they do is complain about their health.”

On March 24, he turns 98. In the last year, he has begun to show his age.

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My grandfather circa 1970 on my father’s motorcycle. Born to be weird.

But always, his brain is sharp, and he knows exactly what’s going on around him. “I thought you’d be long gone to South Carolina,” he said when I stopped in Sunday afternoon.

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Pepere admitted that he’d probably fall asleep during the big game. “Me too,” I replied (I did, BTW).

“I’m in no rush to go live with Mom and Dad,” I replied with a huge grin. He grinned back. “I understand,” he winked.

Sometimes it’s hard for us to go visit our elderly relatives because we don’t know what to talk about with them.

The truth is, they don’t care. Just be there to break up the monotony – it’s all any of us really wants.

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We did a lap!

4 thoughts on ““How old would you be…””

  1. “Just to break up the monotony.” I’m sure that’s what my dad appreciated during his short stay in a long-term care facility. I hadn’t thought I wanted that for myself, eventually. But his mind was still sharp, and I don’t think I would be any more ready to go than he was with a sharp mind still. I need to focus on my body not giving out just in case my mind stays sharp, too.

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    1. I hadn’t really thought about it that way until my last visit and I saw the daily schedule and he was saying how they all go to the common room and sleep. It was such a scheduled activity….

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