Prompt: 40 minutes: “Older”
June 17, 2013


Older is a loaded word, a plant growing out of its pot, roots bound together in a clump of experience seeking desperately fresh soil, nutrients, water — that life-giving, liquid oxygen.

Older is not for sissies. No, it takes a bit of bravery, or at least the show of “a stiff upper lip” as my dad would say. “Everything’s super,” he says, when I know he must have aches and pains, feelings of grief and loss somewhere down inside that aging body, now a size small.

Older is watching your parents age, Dad shrinking, Mom getting shorter, rounder. Older is watching myself get rounder, wrinklier, heavier, more tired, less patient inside but more patient in front of youth.

Mom and me at Holden Beach 2011

Mom and me at Holden Beach 2011

Older is the home around me — walls needing paint touch-ups, cobwebs stretching from chair legs to corners, not having moved for months, years.

Older is the dog lying contentedly beside me, an occasional sigh sounding full of resignation perhaps. Or maybe it is just sheer acceptance.

Acceptance. That’s what older requires. Acceptance — of life, people, days gone by, limitations. Really? Or am I just too sleepy this morning to be more upbeat? Maybe older is needing more leisure time to wake up, or maybe it’s having so much leisure time that I don’t “wake up” until the day is well on its way.photo-22

Older is sighing when I don’t feel like making the effort to open my eyes, get out of bed, put the pen down, and go on with my day.

Older is knowing you have surgery in less than four days to remove cancer from your body. Older is looking around the house at the accumulation of a lifetime and just not knowing where to begin to sort it all out. I don’t want those I’ll leave behind to have to do it, yet I’m not ready to burn it, shred it, dispose of it just yet — I might live many more years and wish I could find those notes I took when I was in my 30’s, trying to sort through life. I might want to get inside that young woman’s mind again sometime. Words can take me there.

For now, I think I’ll just close my eyes and rest a bit.

8 thoughts on ““Older”

  1. This post hits home, Ginny, especially as I’ve just begun going through and culling thirty years of journals – ripping out pages that need to be shredded, saving pages that really matter (i.e., pages that remind me of joys instead of sorrows, as the sorrows are easy enough to remember!).


    • Thanks, Amy. Sometimes I think it will take me 30 years to wade my way through it all – and that would be if I didn’t write another word – ha! Guess my kids, who cannot even read my handwriting, will just have to toss it all! 🙂


      • Well if I am still around I can read every word of your handwriting …. and if you haven’t published by then , well , I might just have to do it for you posthumously! 🙂


      • Thank goodness you’re the only one who can read my handwriting – you’re the only one I’d trust to sift through and know what to share and what to keep close to your heart.
        YNTTLT 🙂


  2. I have recently noticed an odd feeling of loss(?), nostalgia(?), or something I can’t name while viewing a tv ad for diamonds. I realized simultaneously that the woman/actor in the video was much younger than I am, that the ad targeted an audience of people much younger than I am, and all at once it occurred to me that (1) this fantasy has passed me by, and (2) that it is a fantasy, but (3) for some it is reality. It made me feel so old all of a sudden. I am not usually that quickly and profoundly struck down by age. Best wishes to you.


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