man person people hand
Photo by Public Domain Pictures on

The thought of touch brings the hands and fingers to my mind. I remember in a writing class I once took where the instructor had us put our hand into a paper bag and feel what was inside it without looking at the contents. We were then to write what that sense of touch felt like. It was cool, silky soft, loose and yet it felt as if it glided off my fingers or maybe it was flowing. It was kind of hard to tell. My mind said it couldn’t be liquid because it was in a paper bag so whatever it was felt like smooth water running through my fingers. It turned out to be flour. The experiment wasn’t meant to test if your senses were working right. It was a practice on how to use the senses to help the reader feel what you’re trying to portray through your writing. Now as I get older describing what something feels like to the touch is not much clearer to me than my lack of hearing can often describe. So, I have to depend a lot on my memory for that in my writing.

But the body itself from the inside out responds to touch beginning at the skin level than beneath that to the nerve endings that send a signal to the brain. All we have to do is look at our skin how it’s thinning, less taut and the lack of elasticity plays a big part in how we once determined our sense of touch. This loss occurs immediately below the skin where there is less fat protection and decreased numbers of nerve endings. All this contributes to the inability to detect pain to a certain degree. One of the things I’ve noticed is that I bruise easier. I don’t even remember hitting anything that hard to create a bruise only proving that my own lack of sensitivity to pain has decreased. Another thing to take into consideration is that we don’t always realize that the heating pad we’re using is too hot or the shower water. Lowering the temperature to 120 degrees F is recommended.

As with all the sense there is some loss but many other factors can play into it as well such as poor blood circulation, diabetes or other diseases, neurological disorders and certain mental illnesses, and of course certain drugs and medical treatments. Sometimes we suffer with things that  we don’t have to. If we just discuss what we’re feeling with our doctors maybe a few changes could help.

Finally, there is one other kind of touch that older people often don’t get enough of, it’s called “touch hunger.” I often hear friends who have lost a loved one mention that what they miss most is being hugged, embraced and touched. Often too there’s a feeling that comes with age as if you are disappearing in the background of life. Maybe people think we are too fragile to hug, pat on the back or squeeze our hand, yet the simplest of touches can remind us that we are still alive and we do matter in this life. This is were having a furry friend can be very helpful too. There’s nothing like having the unconditional love of a pet.


Norman Rockwell thanksgivingPhoto by Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving

Taste or smell, which came first the turkey or the egg? In my last post, I talked about how the two senses smell and taste seemed to go hand in hand. I can’t even write about one without mentioning the other. But they are two distant senses that have a purpose all their own.

Speaking of turkey, does it get any better than a Norman Rockwell painting to depict a mouth-watering meal? I don’t know about you, but when I smell that turkey in the oven getting golden brown my mouth begins to water with the goodness of the flavors yet to touch my tongue. That’s a good thing for us older folks because as we age, we produce less saliva, sometimes creating a dry mouth which reduces our sense of taste. So, which one comes first? The smell, because you can’t taste without it, and if we can’t taste we lose the enjoyment of eating. That’s not a good thing because we all know we need to eat to survive.

Here’s how it works.

We have about 9000 taste buds on the tongue. These taste buds sense only 4 basic flavors: bitter, sour salty and sweet. But something magical happens when those senses roll around on all those taste buds creating a combination of savory flavors. As we age our taste buds begin to shrink and we produce less saliva. This happens very slowly over time. By the age of 30, we have 245 taste buds on that one tiny elevation alone. That’s amazing. But, by the age of 70, that number decreases to approximately 88. One article said that sweet and salty taste is the first affected, while another article said it was the salty and sour taste that goes first. One of the signs that we’re losing our sense of taste is by adding more salt to our food or sugar to enhance it. Too much salt can affect our blood pressure and too much sugar can add unwanted pounds. There is one plus to not being able to taste the full flavor of food and that is that it opens up a door to some of the strong-tasting-veggies we couldn’t stand in our younger years. I know I find myself enjoying the healthier veggies such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and peppers just to name a few. These are some of the most nutritious heart and brain health foods we can eat at our age.

What’s interesting is that the sense of taste appears not to decline as much from aging as it does from other factors such as smoking, poor oral hygiene, dentures rubbing on the tongue. Certain medical conditions such as diabetes and cancers as well as their treatment can affect the taste buds. There are some things we can do to lessen the decline of our taste and asking our doctor for help is the first place to start.

With all this in mind, I find myself reflecting back on my own parents. While they were divorced and no longer lived together the one thing most people would remember about them was how much they enjoyed eating. In the last few years of my Mom’s life, I think eating was probably the only thing she really looked forward to each day. She died when she was in her 70’s. My Dad, on the other hand, died at the age of 79. On that particular day, his wife couldn’t stop thinking of how much he was raving over his lunch. The grapes were exceptionally sweet, his turkey sandwich had such rich flavors and the dessert his wife had brought home he was going to savor it a little later in the day. She said he must have eating it right before he died maybe about an hour after she went back to work. He had a heart attack and passed away quickly. It was almost as if his body knew it would be his last supper and all his senses were enhanced somehow. This makes me think that maybe because the loss of taste happens so slowly over time that we don’t really notice it the way we do other more obvious senses like our sight. However, when we do lose it for whatever reason we truly do lose the enjoyment of eating.



[1] Aging changes in the senses


[2] Making Sense of Sensory Losses as We Age

For more information see


“Our Sense of Smell and How it Changes With Age”

age and loss of smell

Cupping my mug beneath my nose I take in the aroma of my first cup of coffee of the day. I can’t imagine what life would be like without this simple pleasure. We, as humans, are blessed with over 10,000 different scents. But like all our other senses there is a gradual decline that comes with age. For the sense of smell decline slowing begins as early as the late ’30s. During a person’s 50’s the decline becomes more rapid making our sense of smell half as sharp as it was in our youth. One major study showed that 60% of people in their 60’s and 70’s showed impairment and 25% could not identify odors. Eighty percent of the subjects over age 80 showed impairment; 50% had a complete loss of the sense of smell.

Here’s how our sense of smell works.


Photo from:

Every aroma is processed by a patch of nerve endings, about the size of a postage stamp, that is high in your nose. These nerve endings wear out and may even die off with age. “Odor signals travel directly to some of the oldest parts of your brain, including to areas connected to memory and emotions,” says Jayant M. Pinto, an otolaryngologist and associate professor of surgery at the University of Chicago.

Our odor memories are associated with the good and bad experiences of our life. That’s because our sense of smell is closely tied to the part of our brain most involved with memory and emotion. I never knew what to expect when I came home from school each day. My mother suffered from mental illness.   But there were signs I’d look for that indicated it was safe to go inside. The aroma of fresh-baked bread right out of the over was one of the signs. So even to this day, the smell of baked bread conjures-up some of the fonder memories of my Mom and the feeling of comfort that comes with it.

As important as the smell is it often gets taken for granted, but as we get older those smells can change and get all mixed up. My Dad was a smoker and he also wore Old Spice aftershave. I heard of people taking two distinctive smells like this that are planted in their memory and instead of smelling the Old Spice aftershave they would mistake it for the smell of cigarette smoke. Research has found that few people in their 70’s 80’s and 90’s can detect orders, and even fewer can correctly identify them. This can be a dangerous thing because we count on our sense of smell to let us know if there’s a gas leak in our house. Just the other day I turned on one of my gas burners and turn away to clean something at the sink. I realized the gas never ignited because I’m still able to detect that pungent smell. How easy it would be to get distracted and walk off into another room never even remembering that we turned the burning on. My friend was recently telling me about how she walked into her 89-year-old mother’s house and something was burning in the oven. While her mother was watching the TV in the other room she never even noticed that what she was baking was now burnt. And imagine what it would be like to open a container of spoiled food and not know it because that we can’t smell the rancid odor. Smelling is one of the senses that helps us to detect danger so it can be pretty scary not to be able to protect ourselves. On a more personal level, It even helps us with our own personal hygiene.

So, what can we do to help ourselves?

Even though I like cooking on a gas stove better, maybe it’s time to think about investing in an electric one or a gas detector that sounds an alarm.

It’s important for us to maintain our dignity in respect to our hygiene. So, I hope if I ever get to the point where I have personal body order I’m not aware that someone will kindly draw my attention to it.

Making sure we have smoke alarms and that they are working is a good idea.

Avoid strong fumes from cleaning products and other chemicals.

Labeling, proper handling and storing of our food correctly.

This one seems totally unrelated, but according to a 2016 National Institutes of Health study, people who exercise and do not drink excessively have been found to be less likely to suffer the loss of smell.

“Spend a few minutes a day gently sniffing familiar aromas, such as lemon, clove, eucalyptus, and rose. Smell training seems to help 30 to 40 percent of people improve their ability to detect an odor,” says Janet M. Pinto, an otolaryngologist and associate professor of surgery at the University of Chicago.

Be sure to talk with your health care professional if you find that age-related changes in smell are affecting your quality of life or safety.

References and more reading material on the loss of our senses with age: Sensory Changes in Later Life by Vicki L. Schmall, Extension gerontology specialist -homes-5-senses-changeing-with-age/ Understanding the Effects of Aging on the Sensory System by Youmasu J. Siewe, Ph.D.,MPH Making Sense of Sensory Losses as We Age by Dena Kemmel, M.S and Sean Brotherson, Ph.D both of NDSU Extension Services

Vision Changes in Our Senior Years

Vision-Changes-to-Watch-Out-for-as-You-Grow-Older-300x266I always had perfect vision. I remember when my Mom started asking me to thread the needle on her sewing machine because she couldn’t see right to do it anymore. Now I have my grandkids do the same thing for me. My sister and brother started wearing glasses when they turned 40. I couldn’t imagine myself ever needing them, but 40 seemed to be the magic number for me too. What I found out through my research is that most of us develop this condition around the age of 40. It’s called Presbyopia. It’s when the normal flexible lens of the eye becomes increasingly rigid and unable to focus on objects close up.

I started off with reading glasses. By the time I was about 45 I started noticing that the signs along the road were starting to get blurry now too. So, I went from reading glasses to bifocals. With my check-up each year I’d only see a slight change, and about every two or three years I’d need a new prescription. When I got in my middle 50’s I started noticing that I was getting night blindness when I’d drive, and if it was raining at night I couldn’t see at all. The doctor said I had cataracts but they weren’t ripe enough to operate on yet. Eventually, I had the surgery when I was 63. I was so hoping I wouldn’t have to wear glasses anymore, like many of the people I knew, but I still needed them for distance. I can drive at night without any trouble now though. One of the other conditions I get is dry eyes especially when I’m working on the computer a lot with my writing. Eye drops help that. These are all the typical eye disorders that come with age.

The diseases that can happen are more serious:

  • Age-related macular degeneration-it’s leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 50. It’s caused by damage to the macula area on the retina, and area that makes clearly defined, central vision possible.
  • Glaucoma-is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. It’s caused by an abnormal rise in pressure in the fluid-filled chambers of the eyes, damaging the optic nerve.

This is why it’s so important to have regular eye check-ups.

The other thing that happens is the reduced muscle tone around the eyes. The muscles that support the skin around the eye socket and control the upper and lower eyelids sometimes become so relaxed and weak that they lose their firmness and elasticity. I remember many years ago when I worked as a bank teller. I had this dear older lady who would come to my window. The skin above her eyelids hung so heavy you could barely see her eyes. As she struggles to sign her check I wanted to reach over and hold her eyelids up so she could see what she was doing better. In later years my Dad’s eyes got the same way, not as bad but bad enough that he was starting to have more trouble seeing. His ophthalmologists sent for an eye tuck, and it was nice to be able to see his deep blue eyes again. I may have to have the same thing done someday. It’s a condition called blepharoptosis or ptosis and along with not being able to see well, it causes headaches and fatigue.

A good healthy diet, using brighter lights and regular checkups are the ways to stay ahead of some of this disorder and diseases. I’ll leave you some links with more detailed information. That way you can read them at your own convince.

Remember being informed is the best way you can be your own advocate for a healthy life.

A special note: Due to it being summer and the many commitments I have right now. I will not be posting my blog on a weekly basis anymore. I will still be posting, from time though. I do enjoy sharing with you the things I learn as I search for the answers to my own questions about aging.

Thank you…Connie

Hearing Loss: The “Social Sense”


Helen Keller said, “I am just as deaf as I am blind. The problems of deafness are deeper and more complex, if not more important than those of blindness. Deafness is a much worse misfortune. For it means the loss of the most vital stimulus—the sound of the voice that brings language sets thoughts astir and keeps us in the intellectual company of a man.”


Wow! Did you know that out of all the senses hearing loss is said to be the most serious of the sensory impairments? It affects older people more often than any other chronic condition. The changes that take place as we get older begin long before they actually have a noticeable effect on us. We often brush them off as being part of the aging process. I know, because that’s what I did with hearing loss until I began to feel the isolation it was creating in my life. When I read the powerful statement, Helen Keller made about hearing loss, I felt like crying. She put into words what I couldn’t express myself. Not only the impact it has for the hearing impaired, but the importance of the loss, “the most vital stimulus—the sound of the voice that brings language, sets thought alive, and keeps us in the intellectual company of others.” Hearing is our ‘social sense” and it’s what keeps us connected to each other.

So, obviously, this is a very passionate subject for me. One of which I wish I’d have researched long before I started writing this article. My hope is that it will help those who are on the cusp of what to do about their own hearing loss.

I have what is called mixed hearing loss meaning that I have a combination of conductive loss and sensorineural loss. The conductive loss creates damage to the outer and middle ear’s ability to conduct sound into the inner ear. The sensorineural loss within the inner ear is damage to the auditory nerve that carries the sound to the brain. This second one is actually the most common loss that happens as we age. It’s called “presbycusis. To make things worse for me I also have tinnitus on top of this. It sounds like a loud machine that never stops running. To be honest I never paid much attention to how bad my hearing loss was. I thought it was the typical loss that everyone gets as they get older until I started researching about it.

I fought to get hearing aids in the beginning because I remembered how my Dad complained about them. They only seemed to amplify the background noise making it harder to hear what people were saying. It wasn’t until I found myself feeling left out of conversations because I couldn’t hear what anyone was saying. I’d sit there feeling isolated thinking more that it had to do with getting older than it did with not being able to actually communicate. When I finally broke down and bought my first pair I was surprised how sophisticated they’ve become. They’re like cell phones now, they get more hi-tech every year. As a matter of fact, I was able to connect an app with them on my phone and when people called me I could hear them through the hearing aids. I could also control the volume and settings according to the different places I went to, like a restaurant or theater. At some point, they stopped working, which meant I’d have to pay $500 to get them fixed or buy a new pair. These cost me $4000 already and I wasn’t about to spend any more money on them. I needed some time to think this through and find a cheaper way to buy them. I went for months without them thinking maybe I could get by without them. Lots of people I knew did that because they refused to pay that kind of money for hearing aids.

I started feeling frustrated, anxious, down and tired all the time. I couldn’t concentrate on the things I wanted to do. I was forgetting things more than usual. I remember saying to my husband somethings wrong, I feel like I’m not cognitively able to do things right. I went to the doctor had some blood test done everything came back normal and I felt even more frustrated because I knew something wasn’t right. I knew my lack of hearing was getting to me, but I didn’t think it had anything to do with why I was having the symptoms I was. I decided that getting my hearing aids fixed was still cheaper than buying a new pair so I took them in for repair.

I didn’t learn the nature of what had been happening to me or how bad my actual hearing loss was until I started doing the research for this article. I was shocked to find that a well-regarded study from John Hopkins University was showing a connection between hearing loss and age-relative cognitive decline that could lead to dementia as well. They kept track of overall cognitive abilities including concentration, memory, and planning skills finding that those with severe hearing loss enough to interfere with conversations were 24 percent more likely than those with normal hearing to see their cognitive abilities diminish. (See the links below for more detailed information.) That’s what I felt was happening to me. Other studies have shown that the potential upside to this is that treating the hearing loss more aggressively could help to hold off the cognitive decline. Another-words getting out those hearing aids you stuffed away in your drawer and putting them to good use. One point I want to make here is that they say, just because you have hearing loss does not mean you’re going to get dementia. It’s just one more factor among the many that can contribute to it. The way I look at it is, if I can do anything to prevent any kind of cognitive decline then I’m going doing it.

I’m hearing much better again since I got my hearing aids fixed. Still, at times I can’t make out what one person is saying but can hear others clearly. They say it all has to do with the high pitch sounds of the vowels in words as well as some of the consonants. The words become like swiss cheese where there’s nothing left to them but a bunch of letters that don’t make sense. This is why people often think that there’s nothing more wrong with me I simply have selective hearing. Sometimes we’re referred to as a senile elder, confused, cantankerous or maybe just plain stubborn. One woman not long ago was trying to tell me something and I couldn’t hear because we were in an auditorium. The background noise was drowning out every word she said. After a while, she started mocking me by moving her lips without any sound. She laughed as if I’d think it was funny. Trying to figure out what people are saying sometimes makes me feel like I’m an alien on your own planet.

Hearing loss is the one impairment that doesn’t get much empathy from others mostly because you can’t see it. But often too because people don’t have the patience to stop and help the way they would a blind person trying to cross the street. I know because I was once on the other side of it. My Dad had hearing loss too. I will never forget the time I said impatiently, “never mind it’s not that important.”

“Don’t do that to me,” he said. “I value what you have to say. It’s as important to me to hear it as it is for say it.” When he put it that way it made me realize how insensitive I was being to him, and I tried extra hard after that to make sure he understood me. There are things you can do to help those of us who are hearing impaired.

  • Face us when you’re talking. We’ll never hear you if you’re turned away from us or in another room.
  • Speak distinctly with clarity
  • Enhance your speech like the Italians with expression, but don’t over-exaggerate with lip movement or shout.
  • Give time for a response and don’t take a node of the head as assurance that we’ve heard you right.
  • Don’t talk with your hands over your mouth or any kind of obstruction that prevents us from being able to hear and read your lips at the same time.
  • Eliminate background noise.

In closing, I leave you with this thought: Silence is golden when you choose what you want to hear, but when that choice is taken away by hearing loss the silence becomes a lonely place to exist. AARP article on hearing loss John Hopkins study   Great link on the sensory changes in later life



“Our Aging Senses”


When I was growing up, I was taught to be mindful of my surroundings to see, hear and speak no evil. My senses were sharp and quick back then. Now that I’ve gotten older I don’t have to put my hands over my eyes and ears, but maybe keeping them over my mouth isn’t such a bad idea. I often don’t hear half of what’s said. That, in turn, tends to distort what I think I see also. What slips out of my mouth is a distortion of my senses.

“What’s that? Did you say, Pat’s getting fat?”

“No! I said that’s a great hat!”

My Dad was an expert in this department, and he would come out with the funniest things he thought he’d heard. He’d have us all laughing and got a kick out it as much as we did. Now I do the same thing. Being able to laugh along with everyone else is a good thing. But it’s not always funny and sometimes even embarrassing. Worst of all it can be quite isolating.

I bring the topic of our 5-senses up because I’ve been hearing a lot of thought-provoking stories on the subject and how it relates to getting older. It is after all our hearing, vision, touch, taste and smell that gives us valuable information about our surroundings. One of the things I learned was that as we age our brains begin to shrink and that in turn makes our senses less sharp. That, in turn, makes it harder for us to detect the critical details that allow us to function socially as well as safe in the world. The more I reached the subject I realized I’d have to break this article up into sections. There is so much information about how each of our senses changes with age that I thought was worth talking about one at a time.

When I have questions about the changes going on in my own life, I do my research. First, I’m looking to be informed. Second, I’m looking for solutions. If there are none, then I’ll find a way to live with it. It’s all about having the best quality of life and working with what we have. One thing I learned over the years caring for my loved ones was how vital it is to be informed but most of all to be the best advocate we can for ourselves.

So stay tuned, next week I’ll share what I’ve learned about hearing loss.

Through The Eyes of Babes

Have you ever wondered what it is about babies and toddlers that captures our attention?

Of course, it’s because they’re so darn cute. But, more than that I’ve discovered that it’s because they remind us of the things we take for granted.

I remember how in awe I was when I watched my own babies discovering life. But I never appreciated it to the extent I could once I became a grandparent. I wanted to carry them away to a place where they would never lose it. Where the ugliness of life could never enter into the pure joy of life’s discoveries. Now out of 9, my youngest grandchild is 8 and my oldest 26. I wasn’t ready to be a great-grandparent yet. But in becoming one God had a deeper level of pure joy to show me through the eyes of our 14-month-old great-grandson Ryder. As he stands in the rain for the first time in his life. With a smile looking up toward the heavens he lifts his arms as if praising God. He opens his mouth to let the rain in while trying to catch the raindrops with his hands at the same time. He jumps, dances, and giggles as he plays in the pouring rain. If I hadn’t been so awestruck I would have joined him myself. But, I am grateful for the reminder to open my own eyes to the things I take for granted. For those are the grace-filled moments when we get a glimpse of heaven on earth.

”On Death and Dying”

My mother-in-law used to say that you start off going to happy events in life like weddings, baptisms, birthdays, graduations. As the years pass by you find yourself attending more funerals and fewer weddings.

Soon you’re opening the obituary pages before you read the rest of the newspaper wondering who you’ll know this time. She got to the point where her classmates where dropping like flys. You wonder…why are they so obsessed with death?

But one day you find yourself on the other side of it and you begin to understand what you couldn’t in your earlier years. How can you not think of it? Death begins to feel as if it’s in your face all the time as parents, siblings, classmates, and friends are dying. There’s always the painful few that are too young and unexpected.

Now my kids don’t like hearing their dad and I talk about death and dying the same as we were at their age. I was reading that Americans are a death denial culture. We avoid the topic and when we don’t allow ourselves to talk about things we don’t understand it creates more significant fear around it.

There’s not much we can do to change the fact that we’re all going to die someday. Maybe the most important thing about facing this reality comes from the wake-up call it gives us. Like my dad used to say, ”I looked in the obituaries today, and when I didn’t see myself I was reminded I’m still alive.” Once that reality sets in we can actually use what we read to help us reflect and reevaluate our own lives. Am I living my life the best I can, being kind to others, fulfilling my goals, living my purpose, filling my soul with the best experiences I can show it? As long as we’re still breathing we have the opportunity to become better and better at what God created us to be.

We owe it to the people we care about who pass away to live our life to the fullest. Because when we do, they continue to live on in us.

This is dedicated to Kathy McDowell my husband’s cousin, Baby Lucas Dicely our great-nephew, Rob Finger, and Peggy Anderson our life-long friends who all passed away within the past year.

“The Gift of Socialization”

laughter and aging

Did you know in our senior years socializing is as important as eating a healthy diet and exercising?

I knew a guy who preferred being in the company of younger people. He said it was because they made him feel more alive than those of his own age. I love the various ages of the people in my life. They bring lots of new and interesting things to the table of life. But it’s my fellow senior friends that I feel the most at home with. As a matter of fact, I don’t feel old at all when I’m with them. I feel free to simply be me. I might notice my friends getting older at first glance. I do the same thing first thing in the morning when I look at myself in the mirror. The funny thing is once I focus on my eyes everything else around me becomes a blur and I only see who I am on the inside. That part of me seems to be ageless and that’s the part I see when I’m with my senior friends.

If having a social life is important. Then what are the things that get in the way? To each of us that will be different. Two of the things that get in my way are my anxiety issues and the other is my vanity. I’m not proud to admit to either, but I’ve been making an effort to work on them for a while now and it is getting better. Being a woman there is a part of me that enjoys looking the best I can. But sometimes I can be ridiculous. Like the other day when I was getting ready to go to my Silver Fit workout. Now that it’s getting warmer I put a short sleeve shirt on. Putting my arms out straight I think I could drift through the sky with the wings I have. Then I remembered where I was going, to Silver Fit with all the other ladies who’s arms wobbly-to-n-froe just like mine. Heck, even Jane Fonda has flabby arms. Accessories always help. So, I wore a pair of peachy pink earrings to match my short sleeve shirt.

Let’s face it if we want to swim with our grandkids then we’re going to have to put a bathing suit on. Let’s not forget the big brimmed hat we have to wear now to protect our skin. Then there are the clunky shoes. I’d much prefer wearing a cute pair of sandals, but if I’m going to shop for hours with my friends. I have to wear comfortable shoes. But you know what I’ve learned? That the older I get the freer my spirits become, and that true part of me thinks nothing of saying, “who gives a shit what anyone else thinks.”

My anxiety has gotten so much better over the years. It’s the part of anxiety where I don’t want to burden others with what’s going on inside me. But often getting out and being in the presence of others is the very medicine we need to pull us out of our funks. This happened to me a few weeks ago. I was having some anxiety over the way I was feeling physically. I knew I was alright because my blood test came back normal. But why was I feeling so tired all the time? My friend came early to pick me up and we had time to sit and chat a little before leaving. All of a sudden all my woe’s and worries came pouring out, and with each complaint, she said, “Connie, I feel that way too. It’s all part of getting older. You just have to keep pushing yourself through it. Some days will be good and some you will need to rest, but you never give up.”

“I didn’t know you felt this way too,” I said. “You always seem to have it all together.”

“So, do you most of the time,” she said.

Knowing I wasn’t alone in what I was experiencing made all the difference to me. It reminded me of the years-long ago when I’d talk with my friends about the different things going on with our kids or in our marriages. We’d say the same thing back then, “I didn’t know you felt that way too.” What a relief it was to know that what we were experiencing was normal. It’s no different as we get older. Who understands us better than those who are going through the same things as we are?

Feeling supported, feeling normal, feeling seen, recognized and validated and most of all having fun. That’s what having a social life is all about.

“Grow Old With Me!”

Love fail-funny old couple

Before Tom and I married we’d walk everywhere we had to go because we didn’t have a car back then. We’d walk the blocks of rowhomes where we’d see old couples sitting on their porches. What pressed upon our hearts was how miserable they seemed in each other’s company. We were young and very much in love with our whole life ahead of us. But, seeing this left such an impression on us that I remember saying, “Tommy if we’re lucky enough to grow old together. Let’s promise that we’ll never stop talking, caring and loving each other the same as we do right now.”  

I’ve been reading the letters we wrote to each other when Tom went off to college. In this one he wrote, “You know Connie, we’re going to have a beautiful life together. People, will one day look at us when we’ve grown old and say what a perfect marriage they have.” As if I didn’t already love him enough reading those letters made me fall in love with him all over again. 

It’s easy to make promises when you have no idea what life will bring your way. Love is like finding a diamond in the rough but holding onto it isn’t enough. To find the real beauty that lies within it, you have to chisel away at all the stuff that hides it’s potential. There’s always been a sparkle that’s shined through our love. However, it takes a lifetime of trial and error chipping away and buffing before the true beauty of its light begins to reflect what we hold so dear.

We no longer let the way people choose to live their life make an impression on us. What we do see is the reality of what is ahead for us. We watched it as we lost our parents and now as we begin to lose more of our lifelong friends. There is no time to waste being miserable over the fact that we’re aging. There’s still so much living and loving to do whether it’s with our spouse, children or friends. It makes us hold onto each other a little tighter and appreciate the time we still have together. As long as we’re alive there’s still time to chip away at the diamond in the rough we hold in the palm of our hands. Maybe that’s been the mission in our life all along. To find the sparkle within ourselves and let it shine through us.