Reaching a milestone

I am well aware that the milestone I reach this year is not guaranteed to everyone. My first husband died before he reached retirement age. I have also lost classmates and friends who were “young.”

I first felt my age when a dear a friend from church took sick. She weathered the first surgery well, but when it came to the second surgery, she entered that compromised.

Recovery was not what the Lord had in mind. She died a little while later. Her death really changed things for me. I realized that none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. There were some things in my life that needed to change.

This year I turn eighty years old. That truly is a milestone. I have lived through so much. I have seen so many changes. Goldie, an older relative and I used to talk about these changes. She lived to be 105 years old so she saw many more changes than I have.

How did I ever live through childhood? I slept in a crib with bars that were what would be called too wide apart today. We rode bikes without helmets. We roller skated on the sidewalk without knee pads. We used a hose to run through and to drink out of. We played in the creek without adults around. We played simple games such as hopscotch and four-square. I rode my bike everywhere. I walked to school.

I began my working career when I was sixteen. I walked to a store in the downtown and applied for a job. I was hired for the Christmas season working mostly weekends. From that time on I have always worked until my retirement.

I worked while I went to college going in after my class for the evening shift. I worked all summer.

Come to think of it I worked even before I turned 16. I used to babysit. I loved those kids. I even went over to take them out for walks just to give their mom a break.

I have had to learn how to work a computer. Someone recently asked how we communicated before there were computers and cell phones.

Those are comparatively recent developments. In my day there were no computers. The only phone was a land line with a phone that you had to sit beside or stand by. I was on a party line with my own distinctive ring. I only answered when it was my ring. There were not even portable phones. I remember my children always got in trouble when I was on the phone because they knew I was tied there.

Living out in the country meant that the children needed rides to everything. We formed car pools so that at least I could stay home some of the time. That was new to this city girl. I walked nearly everywhere when I was growing up.

My cousin recently had a birthday. Although she is younger than I am she told me she felt old. Well, folks, I do not feel old yet. I think my thinking comes from my mother. Somehow my mother always seemed old to me. I was bound and determined that I would not be like that. I wanted my children and grandchildren to see that I could still do things.

When I communicated with a classmate, she told me about her aches and pains and told me she felt old. Guess age is a state of mind.

I live day to day – not worrying about what tomorrow holds. Most of the time I am happy, but I am also lonesome at times.

I do not mind staying at home. I have plenty of things that I like to do at home. I love to read and would say I am a voracious reader at this point in my life. I also like to knit and have many projects still in the planning stages. I still use stamps and make cards. I found when I make a card people are always appreciative. When my aunt was in an assisted living facility, I found out that she kept every card that I made. My cousins gave them back to me when she died.

Don provided a good example of how to live without growing old. He golfed two leagues that last summer. He did at least three word puzzles a day.

He was bound and determined not to let his mind grow old. I believe he succeeded. He did his puzzles up until a week before he died.

I do not do the crosswords as he did, but I play Scrabble, Farkle, and Yahtzee on my computer. I listen to some of the game shows and learn something new almost every day. I have been a lifelong learner. You are never too old to try something new!

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, Pa. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.


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