LC Van Savage
'Tis The Best Of Times
And The Best Of Times
There have been millions of words written about the joys of passing through the Gates of Geezerdom, and since I’ve recently been dragged reluctantly through them, I’m giving myself permission to write even more words on the subject. Bear with me; I’m trying to be clever here.
Getting old(er) allows us much that was heretofore disallowed. It’s very freeing. Things worrisome before just are no longer. If we chose to ignore people, we can and not worry. If we make an unexpected rude noise in public, we needn’t agonize and certainly won’t apologize. If we wish to saunter into the supermarket in bright plaid Bermuda shorts, black knee sox, saddle shoes and a yellow flowered gauze smock, we just don’t care who stares, or even if.
One of the best things we don’t have to ever fret about again, in my opinion, and this is an opinion column after all, is maintenance. I mean the lack of. I mean not ever having to do it again.
I’m now quite close to an ineradicable, “I really just don’t give a damn anymore” attitude. The jillions of hours I’ve wasted on maintaining unimportant things are most regrettable to me. I could have been saving the world, painting portraits of the greats, joining a circus or the Peace Corps, knitting, learning surgery. But no. Instead I was busy maintaining.
I recall working as a secretary in NYC (that’s what they used to call non-executive women, girls, who sat in front of manual typewriters with stacks of carbon papers alongside) desperately worrying about the nail polish on my long nails. I had multiple bottles of it stashed in my desk drawer so I could instantly fix the chips that happened after each typed sentence. I fretted about it, worried and was constantly applying the red stuff. What a waste.
Ditto hair. All that time setting it, sleeping on those painful, stabbing curlers, fussing and combing it all out just to watch it all fall to ruins in the rain. Back then, perms were called “permanents” and even if you spent 4 hours with your head hot-wired to a big metal torture-chamber cone above you once a month, you still had to set those frizzy “curls” every night anyway, with bobbypins, more like bobbynails. And eyebrows? I spent hours tweezing them, ignoring the pain so they’d look like Jean Harlow’s. What a stupid waste of time. Now they can grow to my jaw line, and I don’t care. People are going to have to accept me anyway.
Being elderly now lets me look around worry-free at things in our home definitely needing maintenance. Paint is chipped here and there. So what? That would have made me nuts years ago, but now? No. If it rains, our lawn is green, but no more endless hours of lawn maintenance better spent watching clouds or playing with our grandchildren. Crabgrass is green too, after all. Dents in the car? Adds character. Nail holes from removed photos? Never see ‘em. Worn spots on the carpets? I’ll worry tomorrow. Hand smudges by doorknobs? Broken but still sort of working things? Boxes of mysterious stuff? Hey, the kids can deal after we shuffle off. It’s a rite of passage.
Yeah, Geezertime is sublime. Maintenance of those things I spent too many wasted hours on all my life have vanished. Miss them? You’re kidding! I do wish though that I could get those useless maintenance hours back, but know I can’t. And one other thing true geezership allows us to disappear is regrets. No more maintaining regrets. Poof. Gone.
You who haven’t yet gotten to this stage in life are thinking, “Sure, she’s accepting of all this because she has no choice. She’s traversed the Geezer Gates and can’t turn back.” You’d be right. But trust me, kiddo. This is the very, very sweetest time of life. You’ll see.
If you’re lucky.
As an author with several books published, LC Van Savage still finds time for air time and an active community service life.
See her biography by clicking her byline (name in blue at top of the page.)
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