Getting Old My Way

By | August 16, 2018
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Getting Old My Way

It’s hard to believe that autumn is just around the corner. It seems just the other day I was sweating my way through mowing the grass on the first “official” weekend of summer – that would be Memorial Day Weekend for those of you who don’t live in the USA.

I don’t know why but this time of year, the trees look kind of a fuzzy green. They’re getting old. And so am I. With autumn right around the corner, I decide to move some logs to the wood pile. These were old logs – probably rotten now – that I had toted from Heaven knows where to the garden that I painstakingly laid out decades ago.

The logs were heavy. They were much heavier taking them out than I remember them being when I put them in. They should be lighter – they’re decaying for goodness sake. I’d like to tell you they were water-logged and therefore actually heavier now, but the fact is, I’ve grown old over the couple decades. Those logs I hauled in and an laid around the garden as a neat and thrifty border long ago toted in a lot easier than they toted out.

After decades of planting gardens, weeding gardens, tending gardens, watering gardens, cursing gardens, fighting bugs, plant diseases and too much rain,, too little rain, too much cold, too much heat, frost, floods, drought, deer eating up everything and so on, I decided that I had had enough of gardens.

Enough! I said to myself. I talk to myself more and more these days. No one else will talk to me. Even my kids text me instead of call me:

Hey dad! U wanna go 2 lunch some day?

Enough of that… back to the garden. Every year I’ve threatened to give up the garden… to not till it up and let the thing get overgrown with weed. Then I would mow over the weeds with the lawn mower and be done with it.

After year after year I was going to do this, but never did. I have come close. I toted the logs away, then toted them back – they become heavier each year – waterlogged I tells ya.

Finally, this year I decided to actually go through with it. Why? Because I am old. But age brings with it more than saggy skin, aches, pains, droopy bellies and eyes… it brings with it – wisdom. I figured out that last year I spent about $200 growing about $15 worth of tomatoes- what can I say? It was a bad year for tomatoes? Well, really t was. I am not that bad of a gardener. Just getting old.

Figuring in money I spent for adding more topsoil, organic fertilizer, non-organic fertilzer, organic bug stuff, homemade bug stuff, water, plants, seeds and those kinds of things. I planted about 30 tomato plants. The deer ended up eating them all. They go them free. I made a lot of deer happy – but I ended up about a little basket for myself. Barely enough to make a couple of BLTs – that’s a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich if you come from someplace other than places where they make BLTs.

A wise man knows when to say when. I am not growing anymore gardens. I am not going to intentionally or unintentionally feed any more deer, no matter how cute they are. I don’t have anything against deer. I would never kill one. I would never eat one. Live and let live – that’s me.

And NO! Don’t even say the word FENCE. I’m not going to bring in even more logs or posts to build a fence. Heck, it would have to 8 feet high to keep the deer out. This year, I’m older but even wiser.

This year I’ve forged ahead with my plan this year. I’ve got no garden, but I’ve got tomatoes. I’ve got a new lawn mower and garden is now a patch of nicely trimmed and still-green weeds. The grass is brown, but the weeds are green. It’s been a dry summer.

But following through with my plan this year was not easy. Not easy at all! Logs. Logs. Logs.

Logs. Those stupid logs. Those logs that went in so easy all those years ago, had to be toted away so that I could ride my lawnmower over the “garden”, which this year has happily gone to weeds. And I’m thankful for that. The deer? Not so much.

Anyway, earlier this year, I nearly killed myself try to tote those water-logged logs away. I grabbed that first log with every intention of picking it up and throwing it in a pile of trash I’d been building. I could barely lift the darn thing. When I toted those logs in I was carry them two at a time, with enough wind left to sing “Eleanor Rigby”. But this year, I was barely able to drag the logs out of there one at a time. I did four of them – dragging them slowly, one at at time, huffing and puffing. I sat down on a lawn chair gasping for air and trying to ignore the pain shooting through my lower back.

Four logs was nothing… there were six more logs to go. I stood there, hands on my hips, looking at those logs like a man about to climb Mount Everest without a Sherpa. Four more logs, I sagged into the lawn chair out of breath- oh yes, old, and out of shape. But wiser.

I looked over at my work and groaned from both misery and from a happy thought: Only two more logs to go.

Someone once said, and I can’t remember who, because my mind is going, something like “you can’t be a sissy and grow old”. I so agree with that. If you’re not tough you’re never going to make through old age. Getting old is tough. Really tough. Really, REALLY tough I tells ya.

Two more logs to go…. I remember I got up out of the chair, still wheezing and aching and moved the last two logs and put them on the heap big pile of trash. The pile of trash has been growing now for a few year. City won’t let me burn it, and I’m too old to haul it away. My neighbors don’t like it, but I don’t like them either. Kidding.

Text my kids:

Hey! Help. I have a pile of trash I need help moving.

“Dad. Sorry. The cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon…”

Use to love that song.

Resting in my lawn chair, surveying the growing pile of trash, I remember the day I went over to the log store and bought ten brand new, telephone-pole-sized -not really – logs, tossed them – with youthful ease – into the back of my old pick-up truck and took them home. Then I carried them two at a time from the truck to garden until I had all ten situated around the garden Perfect. Whiste while you work.

After tossing the logs into the truck, then driving home and toting them from the truck to the garden and placing them around the edges as a border, I went on a 3-mile, 18-minute run. When I got home, I did 100 push ups, 100 sit-ups and 100 pull ups. Then I merrily squirted off the sweat with a long squirt of cold water fresh from the old garden hose. And went out and mowed the one-acre lawn with a push mower.  And after all of that, i had nary a pain nor any signs of heavy labored breathing.

Those were the days my friend…

I must mention, to keep things on the sunny side of things, having pushed my old flabby body to its limits this year moving those logs and decommissioning my garden,  I didn’t drop dead with a heart attack or stroke. I survived! It’s kind of like winning a fight!

Every day above ground is a GOOD day!

I’m wiser now. I think deep thoughts about how time takes its toll on everything – except wine, cheese, and honey.

I have thought about getting back into shape, maybe even do a bit of jogging, but even thinking that kind of stuff exhausts me and I quickly come to my senses.

There’s a lot of things I won’t do or can’t do, but you know what? One thing I’ll never do, is allow myself to fall into the routine that I call the “waiting to die” routine. I’m not ever going to retire. Why should I? So I can sit around wondering what day it is, watching re-runs of “Gunsmoke”, “M*A*S*H.” or “Bonanza”– may the Cartwrights rest in peace — drinking prune juice, putting everything I eat in a blender first, siting around for hours on park benches feeding pigeons and all the other things that are so stereotypical of aging. Or as I call it “the waiting to die” syndrome. It’s not for me. No matter how bad I huff & puff or how sore may back get. I’m never giving up.

I think we should all keep on keeping on and never give up, no matter how heavy those old logs my be, or how out of breath we get – or how sore we get. We’re all going to go sometime, but why spend years worrying about it and preparing for it?

Just get up every morning and thank God you’ve got another new day to live. And remember: Every day above ground is a good day.

Life is good no matter what.

Getting old is easy if you do it my way.

8 thoughts on “Getting Old My Way

  1. Gina

    That’s exactly what I was thinking! After all these years of being a member of Thundercloud/Cloudeight, I’d love to know. Care to share with us TC? I don’t think you’re that old–and definitely not mentally. I’m 63. But although I’m disabled with several severe cervical and lumbar spine problems, 2 permanently injured shoulders caused by carelessness during my last cervical surgery 3 years ago, and permanent right arm nerve damage caused by an undertrained hospital floor girl drawing blood for a simple blood test, I still ask my sons (who are in their early 40’s) how they got to be older than me!!?? I know 90+ year-olds who walk better and do more than I can, but yet for some reason I can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that I’m in my 60’s! Is that a good thing? Sometimes I think it’s a double-edged sword. I’ve had doctors through the years tell me I might be able to keep my pain level at a “6”, but the minute it gets there I’m up doing things and shoot it right back up to a “10”! But I was never one to sit still. And I still feel that, even if I put myself in bed 2 days for every 1 day I do something, it’s better than laying in bed doing nothing EVERY day! So I’ll keep going as long as I can when I can, and, even if I’m moaning a couple of days for it, well, at least I still did something productive or fun on the days I could.

    Reply
  2. Patsy

    I love your writings! You can tell the truth in such humorous ways, and this is definitely one of them. For that, I thank you kindly. Sometimes getting older (or, more mature) isn’t fun. We take what we’re given and hopefully-be able to work with it or around it. We do the best we can, when we can, with what we have.
    My heart goes out to Gina, who also commented here. I absolutely understand her feelings, her struggles and pain. I would like to send my well wishes her way.
    As for your precious writings, please keep them coming. I know some can be more “dramatic” or should I say “soul searching,” as in the one concerning Snowflakes! That was very touching and brought back many memories for an awful lot of us. I know to me it did. Heck, you had me tearing up the end. But, it was beautiful and my memories made me smile again…so thank you!
    Keep moving forward and do what you can do friend.
    Sitting in your lawn chair, watching your use-to-be garden sounds very pleasant. Enjoy your days. Life is what we make of it.
    Take care.

    Reply
  3. Leslie

    I so agree with you about the garden, TC. I gave it up a few years ago for just about the same reasons. All the aches and pains and the money spent on feeding the moles, voles, rabbits and deer made it a non-profit enterprise. One I couldn’t even right off for charity.

    I’ve slowed down a bit but haven’t stopped and really don’t intend to. But we’re not old. I understand that 70 (and we’re about the same age – rapidly approaching that milestone) is the new 50. Just think of all the time we have left to learn new things, meet new people and get more practice in complaining!
    ♥♥

    Reply
  4. Irene Doiron

    Yesterday my husband and I started to talk about getting old and death as my 102 yr. old mom is nearing that stage. I told him as long as I do not suffer all o.k. and he responded “we are all sitting on this very long bench and someone is picked off that bench one at a time”. WOW never looked at it that way but I must say your essay is great ’cause we have to live one day at a time and thank God when we wake up in the morning. I had my husband read this and he comes up with “TC is a wise man and that is how I look at life too”. We are both in our upper 70’s but want to live the rest of our lives to the fullest (although hubby here wants to stop carrying wood, stop our garden etc.) Thanks so much for your wonderful essays! Love Irene

    Reply
  5. Jackie Keesee

    I am 80 now and we have slowly done the same, tilled my perennial flower beds and replanted grass. Actually had someone come and do the mulch. That was a first in 61 years of marriage. I sit on a little wagon and weed. Then my eyes got bad and after monthly injections I was put on strong steroid drops because my retina is swollen. No more bending over at all is what I was told to do and I hate it. Cam hardly stand to look at what little there is because it’s overcome with weeds. However I am grateful that we are pretty healthy and able to stay in our home. Bill’s body is way better than mine and my mind is better than his so we help each other. If I don’t get it done by 1 it does not get done .:) Thanks TC I so agree with you.
    Jackie

    Reply
  6. Ella Howell

    I know how you feel, I put out two tomato plants which didn’t even do well but as you say, if you figure in cost etc, you could have went to the farmers market and purchased a few tomatoes at less cost for that nice sandwich. i find also that being the only living person here,,,,who,,,,is going to eat all that produce anyway? I rarely can food these days as I think I have plenty and some probably dated ten years back! One person just can’t consume all that food. it certainly is a transition changing plans on how and what to do as we age, WHO likes change anyway? I find though that its a great prospect in change, like for instance, now I can take all that laborious time in canning, gardening, etc, and do fun things that I didn’t have time to do in the early years of my life. I can now attend and do painting classes, do some sewing, read more books, visit more friends, things that had to be put on the back burner before. Was there fun in gardening, canning etc, before? Yes there was and I found it so rewarding but now I find it rather useless and tiresome so time to move on to new adventures and create different fun, heck now what I do it doesn’t’ matter if its usable or totally frivolous, it just needs to be fun and different. Keep up your good stores and live to be a hundred and three.

    Reply
  7. Frank Hebold

    It has been said, “We are not getting older, we are getting better, like good wine and cheese.” In some cases, we do – if we are lucky!

    Reply

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