Inevitable loss

“‘Tis but an hour ago since it was nine, and after one hour more twill be eleven. And so from hour to hour we ripe and ripe, and then from hour to hour we rot and rot. and thereby hangs a tale.”   – William Shakespeare

It started when I was 40 — a small stretch of skin on my cheek that looked waffle-y and unlike the rest of my face. I showed it to my friend and we decided it was (gasp) wrinkled. I played with it for months until the other cheek looked the same and I knew it was normal aging. That was 18 years ago. Now my almost-60 face has that same quality evenly spread, as do my legs and arms. I have gotten over this loss of elastin and collagen. My only desire is to age gracefully at this point.

I’ve finally stopped feeling younger than I am. I feel exactly 58 years old. It took time, coming to that. And it was only a few months ago I caught myself thinking I was 48, not 58. When the (alter) realization occurred, I lost those ten phantom years instantly. “Fifty-eight?” I thought, “That can’t be right.”

Acceptance of my age has been a good thing, it turns out. Now I walk every day in hopes that I can regain some lost stamina (due to CFS/FM) and gain the strength I will need when my granddaughter returns to the States. I want to be able to keep up with a (by then) 3-year-old. I want to live a long life and watch her grow up and become whatever she will become.

But I am still obsessed with decay. My decay, the unending deterioration of our house and gardens, and even of the houses on our street. Dead grass, unmowed lawns, chipped paint, and ragged wood trim all make me cringe. Do I actually believe that if we all try hard enough we can prevent our eventual decline? A great many of our neighbors are elderly. Some have already left their homes behind to go… where? Where did they go, I don’t know! I want to believe they have happy condos in sun cities or caring sons and daughters who took them in.

All of this obsessing attaches itself to one health issue after another lately. Right now it’s a molar that may be on its last legs. I desperately don’t want another extraction, but the tooth may be broken (is probably broken) under the filling. It’s acting up, and I imagine all sorts of nasty outcomes. They say the loss of teeth make us feel most vulnerable, unable to defend or feed ourselves. No one wants to lose something you can never regain.

I’m afraid of ending up raggedly aged, with gaping holes like my neighborhood street. Once lined with glorious shade trees, it now sports an irregular few here and there that managed to survive 50 years of vicious wind.

I see my dentist in the morning. Wish me luck.

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11 thoughts on “Inevitable loss

  1. Right on post. Feeling ya! Only a few weeks ago, I finally admitted that my mouth is caving in from the back–it’s difficult to brush around my wisdom teeth (yes, I still have them!), and the insides are becoming more sensitive, more susceptible to rough handling, foreign objects, et al. Having to learn to be more fastidiously sanitary about my mouth and more…You are not alone. I am not alone. We are not alone. As long as we keep writing!

  2. @Claudia, Thanks. I’m glad I’m not alone but I am sorry we have to deal with teeth in aging along with everything else, lol. It has been my genetic lot to not have strong teeth. I only now realize how much I could have done if only I had known better. So maybe I’m feeling a tinge of regret too.

    I am very glad we know so much more now about keeping your teeth your whole life. My parents had false teeth early in life. They warned me it wasn’t a picnic.

  3. Double whammy here; aging and trips to the dentist, two things that scare me on a very deep level. I hope your time in the chair is as swift and painless as possible.

  4. @ Emma and Claudia
    As it turns out, the trouble is not with the tooth but the gums around it. Cold sores! I am thankful it’s not the tooth, but I hate that damn, virulent herpes virus! I have been fighting with it since childhood!

  5. Oh! Well, I might be able to help there. My best friend had problems with cold sores and discovered the best way to treat them is to avoid chocolate during a flare up, and to take big doses of something called Lysine – it’s an essential amino acid and helps to fight the virus.

    It works too – I got a flare up after my first book launch when I was horribly run down from the nerves and it worked a treat. Hope it helps! xx

  6. Diana,
    You’ve been on my mind lately, so it was nice to see a new post, even if it brings sad news about your tooth.

    I have been very fortunate in having healthy teeth, part of the whole government conspiracy to flouridate the water–worked for me.

    As to age . . . I still don’t feel my age, and I don’t know if or when I ever will. It’s not denial; it’s just that I don’t feel it, in spite of all of my physical maladies. I think that part of it is that I inherited my dad’s good genes as far as skin and grey hair. When he died, he had a bit of grey in his sideburns and not many wrinkles, except on his hands.

    Walking. I need to do that too, for the same reasons as you (well, not grandchild, but to build stamina).

    Take care, Lita

  7. @Lita
    You’re lucky to have good teeth genes. I have gotten over my despair about teeth. It was one in a string of things to obsess about lately. I replace one with another every week, it seems. The walking is going well and I think it saves my sanity. Try it if you can.

  8. This is actually probably the most realistic post I have seen on aging ever. You are one of very, very few who is not settled under a heavy blanket of denial.

  9. @westwood I hope I am not so alone as you describe! Where I live that is certainly true. I don’t seem to have the luxury of denial these days.

    p.s. I like your blog.

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