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Oh No, I Have Grown Older………. Again!

   This wannabe ditty is a sequel to an article I wrote in March of my 60th year of life and the dread I felt therein. The link to that article should you feel yourself wanting for it is: Oh No, I’ve Hit The Big 60!

Twelve months forward from back then is a reflection in the present or reflecting on what is it that I am feeling now as we enter the month commonly known as November aka CHESVAN. Never to be forgotten is November 6, 1999 (27 Chesvan 5760) when Leib Dovid Elveson became a Bar Mitzvah! For the curiosity seekers out there this article is being written on November 6, 2017, which corresponds to 17 CHESVAN 5778. The unfamiliar words you will come across in this article are either Yiddish Words or Hebrew Words. Old people like me love to reminisce about the past.

I am now but a spec on a giant empty white wall. A spider once scaled this wall all the way to the top. The letters of the words that will be engraved on my tombstone that I may not live to oversee are out there waiting for me. This and more grows closer to fruition as each day of each year that passes me by signifying the day of my passing may not be that far away. In five months I will graduate to 62 years after my birth. Yes, I will have grown older…..again!

What will be left of my life as my vision begins to dim while faces once so familiar are almost strangers to me now? I fight now with all the strength I can muster to hold onto those things that I hold so dear to the very essence of my being. As my body continues to break down leaving me to shuffle around sitting in my bright red walker that was made to “fit me.” Was it not only a few scant years back that these crippling fears had not yet invaded my mind? What I used to be is all but a blur to me now.

A sudden twist to the left elicits screeches and screams from strained vocal chords that are no longer receiving steady funding from my mildly fluid-filled lungs. My turn to the right evokes the same sad scenario that my left turn had produced. A fleeting moment of consideration for a slow-footed ride in my red walker to the supermarket to pick-up some nosherei (snacks) is immediately dismissed as an idea devoid of any substance to it.

Oy Ve (oh woe) I am in the way again! Vey iz mir (oh woe is me)! My taking to tan under the sun results in a resounding command ordering me to stay out of the sun! The keys to my car that I bought with my hard earned pension money are now in protective custody. Hidden from me along with being locked away in a place they would never think I could find them even if it were another day from my younger years that I had once actually lived in while I was still alive in my mind.  My place has no place as there is no place where I belong anymore. Whatever I say, whatever I do is no good. The whisper grows louder in my mind’s ear telling me I am no good for anyone anymore. This is the emes (truth) of what my life has become as I have aged again.

Somebody will inevitably ask a relative or suggest to whomever that a Nursing Home is what is best for me. Imagine strapped to a wheelchair all day in a large unkempt room alongside others who are waiting for visitors who will never come or for the moment to come when it is time to plotz (collapse). Nursing Homes are for people that cannot be cared for at home as it is too burdensome for their children that they brought into this world and nurtured them. This is not a hospital or rehabilitation facility but it is a place you are brought to so you can die out of view of those who you thought loved you.

So many of the aged are banished to these havens of death where all they do is sit, moan, and stare blankly at the ceiling while their children live a life of luxury off their parent’s money. If I or if they are lucky enough the grandchildren will be schlepped (dragged) to us for a visit so they can relentlessly squirm in pre-determined increments of time. As I gaze intensely into the eyes of my son I am ashamedly afraid to ask him what will become of me as I continue to age. Will he join the throngs of those children who grew up and threw their parents away into the garbage or put them on the curb to be picked up by the garbage truck known as the ambulette?

To age is akin to being convicted of a crime. The heinous crime I have committed is being aged in a younger person’s world. In this case, the judge and the jury are usually your children or other relatives you are used to thinking you knew. No lawyer will be put on retainer to defend me against these charges or perhaps strike a deal with my accusers that will allow you to plea bargain for a greater amount of time to live in the comfort of my home. In exchange, I will agree not to suck on the gums of my toothless mouth at the dinner table. I will also refrain from making any other noises that are bothersome to you as they remind you that you too will be as I am now.

Tell me why please tell me that when I told you to act your age you retorted by telling me to act my age but when I now do as you demand of me to do your level of dissatisfaction that borders on disdain for your dear father grow in intensity? In other words, it was okay at your age to not act your age but if I act in a manner that for a fleeting moment is contradictory to the way a person of my age should act you are overcome with anger. Perhaps you feel I am embarrassing you in front of your friends. Your friends if I may be so bold as to point out treat their father with love and reverence. He is not interference in their life. If anything he is an integral part of their lives they would not want to live without.

So let me ask you my dear Joel had you known back then what it would be like for you now what would you have done? Perhaps if I had taken up with a different partner who came from a world such as the one I myself had lived in would Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken still hold a similar meaning that it does for me now?  I wonder the same for those people who too are now living in their “golden years.” The golden years are metaphorically speaking green apples that are ripe with worms. To put it succinctly the golden years are not as golden as you were naively led to think. Are you still living or beginning to live in a fantasy world whereupon you still think you could put on your white golf shoes that look like oversized baby shoes, your Arnold Palmer golf shirt and schlepp (drag) your gray golf bag with your drivers and putters to the country club you never joined with its lush green freshly mowed lawn and hit one into the imaginary fairway? We both know that is not going to happen!

My feelings about the “aging process” are not hidden. Quite on the contrary, I wear them on my sleeve for all to see. I want it to be entrenched in the minds of my family that I am entitled to feel as I do even if you are uncomfortable with it. As you may have fallen “out of love” with me I still expect you to respect me and my wishes. Respect is the least you can give although I feel I am still no less entitled to your love than I ever was. What we unselfishly give to our children in terms of love, etc. we should be shown in return. There is an intrinsic value to our contributions to your life. That value should not diminish over time.

Yes, as a matter of fact, I still have dreams. My dreams are of days gone by that I cheated myself of precious moments in exchange for the mighty dollar. While my heart yearns to compete to get a deal done. I dream of those times we spent together or fought each other tooth and nail as neither of us would ever admit to being wrong. The raging spirit inside of me tells me to fight on. Fight for the right to live whatever is left of my life in dignity backed up by the love you should have never let go of.

I never could accept anything as just being so even if it was bashert (meant to be). While the horrors stories or tear-jerking moments described above have yet not hit me but soon enough they will. My life has been a concoction of twists, turns, highs, lows, failures, and successes. I can still stamp and stomp minus some spunk and spark yet I know all that wasted energy could be put to better use for a purpose not as yet determined. An aged battle-tested soldier is what I feel I am. Conversely, I am jaded with an increased need for sleep.

Perhaps I am or perhaps I am not growing old (older) gracefully as society would dictate I do. Surrender I shalt eventually do as time ultimately wins all battles. Time is my biggest adversary right now simply because that is how the world was planned. In spirit, I was in many places at key moments in history. I will hope my spirit will continue on long after I am laying in my final repose. My fear is that this will occur this year but then again maybe not. My not quite graying hair with nary a wrinkle to be found on my person gives rise to some hope although there is still trepidation.  The hair on my head still retains its sandy brown color.

Time has come to end yet another philosophical expedition. My pillow beckons me to lay my head upon it. Unbeknownst to me is the answer to the question will I arise tomorrow morning and be able to recite the Modeh Ani Prayer which is the bedrock of the Jewish day.

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Joel Elveson
Joel Elvesonhttps://jelveson.wixsite.com/recruitersite
INDEPENDENT Executive Recruiting By Joel is an "up and coming" Executive Search Firm formed and headed up by Joel Elveson whose visionary ideas, leadership & creativity have brought to life a more "user-friendly" approach to recruiting. His clients and candidates form powerful strategic partnerships that we use to help you. Joel’s Firm offers Permanent, Temporary (case by case), & Temporary To Permanent staffing solutions for all of your Human Capital Requirements. Contract IT/Consultants are available if needed. Above and beyond they are experts (by way of their personal industry work experience) with mortgage, mortgage banking, middle-market banking, accounting, along with many others under the vast financial spectrum of disciplines. Their business goes beyond candidate recruiting as they also train, mentor and develop your internal recruiting staff with an eye towards helping you reduce the cost of hiring. They will also work in areas such as compensation, effective onboarding processes and alike. In other words, their business is to help your business by becoming an extension of you by filling in gaps that cause delay or waste. The recruiting methods employed by Joel’s team are time tested that results in a high rate of successful placements. Joel was trained in the art of recruiting by some of the top staffing industry executives in addition to the best recruiter trainers who to this day drive me to exceed the lofty goals he has set forth.

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13 CONVERSATIONS

  1. Joel,
    Mortality is something I struggle with daily. My own, as someone living with the chronic disease, fibromyalgia, and my moms, who at 75 years old, looks to me as her primary caregiver. She has been on a walker for almost two years. I watch her health, activity, and sharpness decrease as these years pass by. I pray for her every night before I go to sleep. I really have no time anymore to worry about my mortality, it seems almost silly, even though I know there’s no cure and no current treatment all doctors who treat it agree upon. I know it will take my life one day as it has some of the fibro fighters I grew to know and love. I spent the last twenty years consumed with this disease and drowning in all I couldn’t do that I forgot to live. So just as I started to live again, it feels my momma has begun to die. I can’t fathom a world without her. Perhaps your son feels the same about you deep inside of his heart. Let your wishes be known. You never know what that conversation will sound like until you have it.
    Much love and light,
    Val

    • Valerie, from our text session earlier I came away feeling you are a really terrific person who has so much love and humanity. Life has put us both on some very rough patches and continues to do so. Sometimes as much as we are afraid or angry at what has happened and is happening to us, to people we love I guess we have to chalk it up to G-d’s will. Of course, that is a very easy statement to say or write but can be very hard to accept even though I am a person who believes very deeply in G-d. Whatever I understand or understood I I have more than I do not understand. Thank you for the time you spent with me today, I really enjoyed chatting with you.

    • Thank you. I got the same impression as you. I agree with you but I believe what you make it through makes you who you are and hopefully strengthens you. God is in control!!

    • Valerie, you are a breath of fresh air. There is strength you gather from making it through adverse situations in life. My experiences did that for me but perhaps I could be or should be stronger. Without a doubt, G-d is in control.

  2. I see when you get older, your body optimizes. Don’t consume certain minerals, your body will build without them. Don’t exert yourself physically — well your body will decide muscle and the dense vitamin and mineral core in your bones are not needed either. Eat too many calories? Well the body decides to increase your organs’ size and change their shape. Your body will also put some collagen caps on each of your cell’s receptors to adapt to your calorie intake.

    Want to revert old age — have your body be inefficient. Exercise, eat mineral dense food, and be happy.

    • Chris, How are you? It’s been such a long time that I have heard from you. You offer some terrific advice. Now if only I had the willpower to do the positive things you suggest that would be great! I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

    • I am swell. I’ve had my head down developing six courses for a post graduate cert. It has really kept me busy. Business acumen is a big thing now for data degrees in Ontario. Hoping to wrap things up in the next couple of weeks. I feel lazy because I haven’t been doing my exercise regiment — though I have been thinning out. 🙂

  3. Joel, it is natural I think of the aging process and also the fearfulness of the “What If’s”. I am now 67 and while still single, I think of things because I am not really connected with my family, but the one thing that erases those fears is accepting what I have done in my life that is good, and who I will hope to live with eternally “which is my creator” when HE calls me home. You are of the Jewish Faith I am guessing and that is even more of a grace as one reads the Old Testament. St. John Paul II, had these words in his last days, “Be Not Afraid”. Thank you for this insightful article. Be at peace

    • Lynn,
      Thank you for your very kind words in addition to your valuable insights.
      Your readership is very much appreciated.

  4. I think I don’t know which one I fear the worst the nursing home or having to live with my kids. While I love my kids they totally drive me crazy. My mom had to spend time in rehab after her stroke and of course it’s at a nursing home. Think I would prefer just to go in my sleep. Or as my daddy did fishing with his grand children when he had a heart attack.

    • Larry, Thank you for the comments. My Grandfather died when he was in a nursing home. My mother passed away peacefully in her own bed at the age of 91. I always seem to be on the cusp of a heart attack. The dread or fear of when will be knocking at your door is very prevalent in my mind. My father-in-law used to say “I’m not through aggravating you yet.” He was the opposite of that. So many people leave your life at seemingly the worst times. Many thanks again to you!

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