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Advice from an Eighty-Year-Old who is Thriving

July 19, 2023

I Can’t Possibly Be Eighty!

By Rebecca Tran

But I am eighty, so here are my accommodations:

I drive the speed limit as other cars pass me by. I do NOT attempt to navigate in cloudy or rainy weather.

Climbing the stairs slowly with both feet on the same tread, I hold tightly to the banister so as not to trip.

I place reminders to myself in conspicuous places, but then can’t find them.

I hold my chest out, stomach in, and shoulders back with a smile on my face. However, when I bend over, straightening-up is precarious.

When I answer the phone, it is usually a donation request, salesman or realtor wanting to market my home. I say “No!” to all.

Sleeping fitfully at night, I wake up ritually for the hasty spurt to the bathroom.

I keep telling people I am a little deaf, asking them to speak-up when they talk to me. Sometimes they do.

As a voracious reader, I can’t decide whether I see clearer with or without my glasses.

I turn up the television volume high enough to hear the news but not so loud as to annoy my neighbors.

When grocery shopping, I hold tightly to my cart for balance. I must assess how many aisles I can cover before my stamina wanes. Check-out and carrying my bags to the car is problematic.

I cleaned out my file cabinet so my sons will not be burdened when I am no longer here. I had such fun reading old letters, notes and job evaluations that I put them all back into folders for another day.

I don’t like my cell phone or computer, but feel that I must be tech savvy to avoid Alzheimer’s.

I try very hard to be self-sufficient and not request help from family and friends.

My calendar contains more doctor’s appointments than fun outings.

I garden in short spurts, being careful of my knees and back. My plants reward me with colorful blooms while the birds, butterflies and bees supervise and appreciate my efforts.

I make suggestions to my elder son on the rearing of two teenagers. I’m glad it is his responsibility now, not mine!

Traveling vicariously through television programs, I find it to be much less expensive and much less of a hassle.

I water-walk regularly in a too-tight bathing suit, but need help getting up from the exercise mat.

However, I AM A SURVIVOR, having defeated cancer twice!

I enjoy life despite its challenges and intend to keep on doing so.

Care to join me?

Eighty-year-old Rebecca Tran is a mother of two, grandmother of two, and a retired personnel administrator at National Institutes of Health. She loves her family, current events, history and experiencing global cultures. But most of all, she loves life with all the joy and challenges each decade brings.