GETTING OLD… A CONSTANT LESSON IN HUMILITY

Here we go! Five months and four days into my 80th year… 80 is a scary number. Every time I say it, it sits like a lump on my tongue. It is a number my mind cannot wrap itself around. I can’t say ‘I am 80’ yet; I will not say that until the first of August of this year 2022… I am still 79 creeping towards 80 (and there it is again), but even that is a lie: I am over five months into my 80th year of life, so I am 79+.

Me at Computer

I try to think if there is anything I could do before that I cannot do now… Run, perhaps. Yes, I guess I could run if obliged to by an oncoming car or a spooky monster, but then I have never been a runner. Running, jumping, sports in general… not my thing. My mother was golfer (she could never get me interested although she tried), my father a hunter (a sport I gave up the day I wounded a wild duck and then had to put it out of its misery with my own little hands, ughhh), I am a butt-in-chair writer: not considered a sport. I can’t even remember what I did in gym class in high school. The only sport I truly remember doing and loving was horseback riding… Oh, and water-skiing. I was around 16-18, and I felt it was something I was good at. Had dominated the slalom and was learning to ski on the round board, doing turns and such, when I got married and water-skiing, actually even trips to Acapulco, ended. When I got married horseback riding ended too: both sports entailed either having money or travelling or both. My first husband was not a sportsman either, so we didn’t do sports. Even when we went to live on a golf course and could see the golfers strolling past (or peering into our garden looking for their misdirected ball), we never even tried to take up the sport (that was my mother’s thing, and the last thing in the world I wanted was to be like my mother).

Walking in the woods was something I loved too, from a very young age when we lived in New Canaan, Connecticut and our property was bounded on three sides by deep woods; walking in the woods with a dog… my favorite. Occasionally –not very often now- I will take a stroll with the dog, but never in the woods anymore for fear of twisting an ankle or falling down and not being able to get up. Walk on the road is better, safer… not as much fun or as pretty, but definitely safer. Yesterday, I was walking along the sidewalk near my apartment building, and I must have run my toe into a ridge in the pavement because my whole body went flying straight out and landed ¡Wap! on my stomach. Not pleasant and a miracle I didn’t break anything (a rib, my wrist, a finger). If I had –as luck would have had it- I needn’t have worried for an ambulance was coming up right behind me and stopped immediately upon seeing my fall in case I needed help. The driver was very kind, helped me back up and asked if I was alright… I was, except for feeling stupid and achy all over. I brushed myself off, thanked the ambulance driver and the people who had stopped their car alongside to help also, and continued –stiffly- my walk home. I wonder if I will be able to do that when I am 80…

I have coffee every morning with a ‘gal’ who is 20 years older than I am… she just turned 99 on November 19th last. Ninety-nine!!! That’s practically a lifetime away from my age. Will I get there? No… wrong question. I am here now: 79.

Anyway, I have said nothing about what the title to this piece suggests: humility learned with age. Yes, it is humbling because there is really no choice: I either accept (humility) or do not accept (suffering). I have noticed that, if I do not resist being this age, I am

Proud to be humbled

humbled by gratitude… gratitude to have been allowed to reach this ‘advanced’ age in good health, sound of body and… well, mind is doing okay although memory is suffering every day more… What to do…? I forget things, but then I have always been forgetful, it is just getting a worse, bit by bit. I learn to write everything down, I learn to look at my calendar every day, I learn to ask people to remind me if necessary: that is humility. But humility also comes with accepting my increasing forgetfulness without beating myself up; my slower walking without feeling impatience; my aches and pains without complaining… accepting that I am aging and being damn grateful for it. If I continue this path of humility and reach –perhaps- 90, I will perhaps reach sainthood before I die. I won’t know it though, because to believe one is a saint is an act of pride, and I will be so terribly humble by then… well, we’ll see.

8 thoughts on “GETTING OLD… A CONSTANT LESSON IN HUMILITY

  1. First of all HAPPY NEW YEAR BRIANDA ! Next I will be 81 this seventh of January. I don’t think of age at all. I walk two miles every day. Clean my house and cook. I live with my daughter and her husband. Have lots of friends younger than me that I enjoy going out with. You look great not eighty at all. You write beautifully and travel. Forget the number and keep on enjoying life. Love you !❤️💕💗

  2. Que extraña sensación la de la edad, recuerdo las palabras de unas shamanas que conocí de Oaxaca, ellas decían que bien se es vieja, con una cuenta de años, pero sin embargo no estar atrapada por la energía de la vejez. Ellas describían que los humanos se agrupan y crean una especie de acuerdo entre ellos, y uno de ellos es el de estar o ser viejos, ese acuerdo crea una decrepitud entre todos, se es viejo porque se vive una vejez acordada entre todos, esta condición es una que debilita, cansa, nubla, y todo sin ninguna necesidad, donde quien sea bien puede salir de esa energía y ser un viejo sin esa vejez acordada. De igual manera, ellas hablaban de algo que llamaban la energia de la miseria.
    Esto me lleva a un evento, en la universidad mi mejor amiga Laura Martinez sin mas un dia me invita al cumpleaños de su abuelo, su abuelo un personaje importante que llego ser secretario o subsecretario de educación en Mexico, iba a cumplir 90 años. La celebracion simplemente era ir a visitarlo a la casa de descanso en la que vivia, el evento iba a durar solo media hora de las 10 de la mañana a las 10:30, donde todo se limitaba en ir a saludarlo. Habia mucha gente, haciendo fila, para pasar y dar sus felicitaciones de manera breve, recuerdo que la casa de descanso era muy bonita. Me sentia como un simple acompañante, observando todo lo que pasaba. La reunion llegaba a su rapido fin, todos pasabamos a la puerta principal. Fue entonces que en un instante de suerte pude acercarme al abuelo y lograr que pusiera un instante de atencion, me presente como amigo de su brillante nieta, y donde queria pedirle un favor, hacerle una pregunta. El hombre me vio a los ojos, el alto, delgado, cabello blanco, donde en ningun instante se podria pensar que su edad era de 90 años, y me dijo: ¿Cual es tu pregunta?, le digo entonces: ¿A que atribuye su evidente buena salud, y la sensación de que los años no pasan por usted?, el responde lo siguiente: Si, tienes razón, considero que esto se debe a una decisión que tomé a los 50 años, que fue ser vegetariano y bañarme siempre con agua fría. Solo a esta edad, reciento el ser sordo de un oido, ser un poco lento, y a veces olvido algunas cosas. Ser humilde como polvo, para apreciar la vida

  3. Queridísima Brianda:
    Es un verdadero gusto volver a leerte, después de tantos meses sin tener contacto contigo. Doy gracias a Dios por tu Amistad, por tus regalos de “Visión Humilde”, la aceptación gustosa de la realidad, como nuestro mutuo Amigo José Manuel Mendoza Allende me enseño (cuando tenía yo 36 años de edad, tarde, pero bien aprendido). Es una delicia tu compartimento al respecto. El tiempo, efectivamente, pasa y nos deja las lecciones que estuvimos dispuestos (y atentos) cuando se presentaron. Eres una Mujer admirable, me precio de llamarte mi Amiga, compañera de AA, y todos los eventos que compartimos (incluso los dolorosos). Que Dios te bendiga siempre. ¡Feliz año nuevo! and soon coming eighty, full of Life and humble Wisdom.

    Juan Manuel Ramos-Jassen
    +52(33)3844-0214
    JuanMRamosJassen@gmail.com

  4. Brianna
    You came into my thoughts today and I realised I hadn’t seen any of your writings recently- and I miss them! I couldn’t remember how I used to access them before so had to Google it. I love your stories of your life in your French town and lovely to meet your new canine friend.

  5. Beatiful writing it made me cry a little bit. Love you Nani.

    El mar., 4 de enero de 2022 9:39 a. m., Writing a life escribió:

    > Brianda Domecq posted: ” Here we go! Five months and four days into my > 80th year… 80 is a scary number. Every time I say it, it sits like a lump > on my tongue. It is a number my mind cannot wrap itself around. I can’t say > ‘I am 80’ yet; I will not say that until the first” >

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