Seeing myself in 20 years

27 Mar

A few days ago, Maura (mlb1202)  wrote a post entitled “A Good Deed“.  It has stuck with me because, at 52, I am starting to see myself  in twenty years.

I am healthy, but my body is creaky and it has made me more sensitive to the elderly around me. Maybe I’m also more sensitive because my mother is an almost 86-year-old widow who still lives alone. I used to be impatient with old people, now I have patience for them: the old man trying to use his newly chipped ATM card for the first time, the woman counting coins out of her purse in the grocery line. You probably see them, too.

I think this is on my mind because, last week, on a day when there was little rain but a lot of wind and  puddles, I saw an elderly woman struggle. I was sitting at a stoplight and I saw her approach the crosswalk with her wire grocery cart. There was a big puddle where the sidewalk met the crosswalk. I saw her push the cart into the crosswalk as the white “walk” man turned into the flashing red “stop” hand. She’s not going to make it, I thought.

I watched her wrestle the cart as the hand continued to flash. There must have been a pothole because  was still struggling when the flashing stopped and the hand remained, commanding her to be still. And then she was walking, slowly across the road as my light turned from red to green. She looked at me for a moment and I nodded, letting her know I would wait. She was slow, but not so slow that I had to wait for another green light.

I drove off hoping that other drivers would be patient with her and others like her.

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8 Responses to “Seeing myself in 20 years”

  1. aggiekesler March 27, 2017 at 7:16 am #

    Love this post. It’s so true…we are too often impatient with older people. As we age, we start to see ourselves in them, and soften, hoping that when we are that age people will be patient with us. Thank you for sharing this post!

  2. terierrol March 27, 2017 at 10:03 am #

    I know as I get older and more aware of the infirmities of age- I always try to remember to be patient with the elders because I’m not getting any younger – and that is how I want to be treated also.

  3. MAK March 27, 2017 at 12:24 pm #

    I am in a similar place as my mother approaches 85. I have found myself noticing older folks more often. Sort of like when I was a new mom, I would see other new moms everywhere thinking they just came out of the woodwork. I didn’t ‘see’ them before because they weren’t part of my reality. My mother is very much a part of my reality so I think I ‘see’ more these days.

  4. mlb1202 March 27, 2017 at 1:14 pm #

    Great post and honestly, I have thought about that woman in the grocery store often in the past few days. Wondering, Does she live alone? Does anyone visit her? I have both my grandmothers still (one is 88 and one is 84) and they both live alone as they’ve outlived my grandfathers and I think and hope that people would help them if they needed it. They to me represent so much life and wisdom and I’ve grown to appreciate that so much more as I have become a parent & moved into my “forties”. It is truly a gift for us to have our elders in our lives.

  5. elsie March 27, 2017 at 2:22 pm #

    Getting older does make one more aware of what can help another. I see it when I am with my mother. I do think I’m more patient now because I’m getting older.

  6. JudyK March 27, 2017 at 3:48 pm #

    As we get older, we all get wiser about a lot of things, that’s the truth. My eyes were opened maybe earlier than some peoples’, when my dad had a stroke at age 74 and needed extra care (and lots lots LOTS of patience) for the last 10 years of his life. I hope that people are patient with me for as long as I am around! ~JudyK

  7. franmccrackin March 27, 2017 at 4:09 pm #

    Nicely written small moment with a larger theme.
    With age comes patience, because- empathy. As you say, we feel closer to the others’ reality.

  8. arjeha March 27, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

    I know that I have become more tolerant and understanding as I have aged because I am now the old man I considered others to be when I was younger. It is sobering. My mind says I can do things but my body says guess again.

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