Stories and thoughts about family and life

Aging gracefully

on February 7, 2012

I love to people watch.  It’s interesting to try to interpret what you think people are thinking, or what they’re going to do next.  I’m sure watching me would probably have it’s own share of interesting amusement, too.  For instance, when I’m alone in my car and I’m driving more than a few blocks, I’ll own it:  it’s like American Idol.  At least I don’t have to answer to a judge when I arrive at my destination (thank goodness!), but I’m sure it’s very much the same as watching the Idol tryout shows and thinking to yourself, “dear me, how did these people ever get an audition!?!”  But that’s just me.  And I’m thankful that you can’t see me when I drive at night–because the later it is and the more tired I am, the more animated I get.  🙂

I was on a business trip yesterday with a coworker, and as we sat eating our lunch, we watched an elderly lady enter the restaurant.  She was “cute,” to use my companion’s word.  She was probably at least 75, dressed up in a mint green sweater, with darker green pants, and a vest with fur around the edges.  She had huge chunky earrings on, and big dark sunglasses (Audrey Hepburn style).  She had on makeup with heavy lipstick and eye color, and tad too much blush.  Still, though, you could tell by watching her she’s still got some spunk.  We could see she was a regular at the establishment–she had barely reached her table before they arrived with her glass of white wine.  She sipped on it, and ordered her lunch, sitting alone at a table near us.  She enjoyed her wine, sipping it through lunch, and then finished her meal and prepared to pay.  She had one of those larger, hard-sided purses, much like most people my age probably remember their mother’s carrying.  She reached in and pulled out a wallet with a rubber band around it, and carefully removed the rubber band and surveyed the money inside without opening herself to too much attention.  When she finished, she replaced the rubber band and placed the wallet back in her purse, and got up to leave.

My friend and I talked about what she must have been like when she was younger–how she was very likely a “leader” and not a “follower,” and the confidence she’s probably had all her life.  She was likely (and may be still) very strong-willed and convicted to her intentions.  I imagine that she was likely involved in many social activities and probably chaired an event or two in her day.  She didn’t seem lonely, or distracted–she seemed like this was a part of the routine to which she had become accustomed.  Yet, it was sad to me to think that she was eating alone, and I wondered how many of her younger years’ companions she still had around with whom she could associate.  It makes me reflect even now on the friends I have in my life, and how long I’ve known many of them.    I know I won’t be sitting with my makeup on, sipping wine in a restaurant at her age, but I’d like to think that I would still have the gumption to get out and go places I want to go.  I hope to have people to do things with as well.  Maybe she was there alone by choice; maybe she wasn’t.  Either way, she was there, which says something to me about her not allowing herself to fade into nothingness.  It gives me something to which I can aspire.


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