Sucks To Get Old

It doesn’t really suck to get old.  At least not every day.  Most days I wear my white hair proudly.  After all, it was my choice to stop coloring my hair and let the world see the real me.  At the time, I was still an ER nurse, clocking endless miles rushing between patient rooms, the med room and the nurses’ station. The hallways kept getting longer as the print on the drug vials continued to grow smaller.  It occurred to me that maybe if I let my white hair show, maybe people would go easy on me. They would see that I was not as young as I used to be and they would cut me some slack. Hah! No such luck. The young become the old and the old become tired. Very tired.

Outside of work, I discovered a few benefits of looking old. The young girl selling tickets at the movie theater assumes that anyone with white hair deserves a senior discount. The security staff at concerts assume that women with white hair all have sagging breasts and never suspect that it is the added weight of small bottles of rum in my sports bra that is causing me to hang so low. My perky tennis opponent assumes that I will never get to her overhead lob and, therefore, is not ready for my bodacious down-the-line backhand return.

But some days it just sucks to be old. When I show up at a casting call for a granny in a TV ad, the casting director asks me, in all sincerity, if I can handle the G forces of a swing. The G forces of a swing?? Do swings even have G forces? When I get to the set, feeling quite glam in my make-up and wardrobe, one of the young stage hands takes me by the elbow to help me over the uneven terrain. Does he not know I can still navigate tree stumps and small hills? And there really is no need to act all embarrassed if I overhear you using the f word. I am not Mother Theresa and I am not your granny and I doubt if there is a thing that you can say to shock me after my 40 years in the ER.

Today was one of those days when the reality of my 60’s smacked me in the face. I lead an aqua fitness class at my neighborhood pool. It doesn’t sound like much, and probably looks like even less, but we really do work hard. Really. It’s a great aerobic work-out. When I arrived this morning to open the pool for our class, there were two twenty-something young men sitting in a pick-up truck, waiting for me.

“Are you here for aqua fitness?” asked one of the young men.

I thought it odd that they would want to join us, but, on the rare occasion when we have had teenage girls in our class, they had a tough time keeping up. So, maybe the word had spread? Who was I to make them feel unwelcome?

“Yes,” I replied, smiling my most welcoming smile. “Are you going to join us?”

Okay, okay, don’t choke on your laughter. Wipe that smirk off your face. And don’t patronize me. I HATE to be patronized.

“Oh, no, we’re just here to clean the pool,” he said, as his friend giggled like a silly school girl. “But we can come back later. No problem.”

As they drove away, no doubt laughing, I could just imagine how hilarious they thought it was to have been invited to join aqua fitness with the old ladies of the neighborhood. I could hear my daughters’ embarrassed ‘Oh Mom’ as they once again exchange worried looks that it might be time to start the nursing home search. I felt foolish. Invisible. Irrelevant.

Yeah, I know, old age is a privilege shared only by a select few. You’re only as old as you feel. 60 is the new 40. But, somedays, it sucks to get old.


About Carol Bryant

Hi. My name is Carol Bryant. I'm a transplanted New Yorker, living in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains. While it was skiing that initially drew me to Colorado, it's been the laid-back, outdoor lifestyle which has kept me here for nearly 30 years. I'm a writer, nurse, travel agent and mediocre tennis player. I began my writing career 20 years ago, writing essays and magazine articles. Recently, I completed my first manuscript and am currently seeking representation for this work. It's a memoir of my nursing career which spans two continents, forty years and some of the most intriguing characters who have ever entered a hospital. I’ve been told that if I ever hope to have my memoir published, I need to establish a platform – a following of readers who enjoy my writing. So, I am shamelessly asking for you to become part of that platform. I plan to blog on various topics that I find entertaining. If you are entertained, moved to cry or laugh out loud, then I have accomplished what I have set out to do. I feel as if I am taking that first, timid step out onto the frozen lake, hoping that the ice will hold me. It’s scary as hell but I’ll give it a go. After some of the things I have faced down in my 40 years of nursing, how bad can blogging be? It beats shaving scrotums.
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15 Responses to Sucks To Get Old

  1. diannegray says:

    Welcome to blogging, Carol! The stories you can tell about being an ER nurse would be fascinating indeed 😉

    This a great post – and great start!


  2. jean hopkins says:

    honestly…what could beat shaving scrotums? I enjoyed your blog…my favorite is that young whippersnappers think they invented bad behavior…..woohoo! Good luck on your new adventure.


  3. juliovaz says:

    Nice start Carol. I enjoyed the story. Keep it up. Just remember to add some decent SEO and also make sure WordPress posts to Facebook and Twitter when you publish.

    I look forward to your next post.


    • What is SEO? How do I make sure WordPress posts to Facebook and Twitter? I plan to blog about once a week. Does that sound about right?


      • juliovaz says:

        Once a week is a good schedule and hopefully you can keep it. When you set up your blog, there should be an option to publicize. You’ll need to give WordPress permission to post to facebook and twitter. You should see the publicize option in your wordpress page. By SEO, I mean tag and categorize your content so that it’s retrievable when folks look for topics the meet certain criteria like technical communications, entertainment, stuff like that. There are tons of books on SEO and I can only say that the more information you can give about what your topic is about, the better off you are. In other words, look at what you wrote and set up an index for it. 😀

        One more thing: have fun with it! 😀


  4. Denis Dineen says:

    As I remind myself with every birthday milestone: it sure beats the alternative


  5. Eliza Cross says:

    Your aqua fitness class would have probably kicked those young whippersnappers’ butts! You crack me up, and I know who I’m calling the next time I want to go to a concert. I look forward to being a regular reader of your blog, Carol. xo


  6. Enjoyed the story and I agree with Denis, getting old does suck but it really does beat the alternative.


  7. Kevin Mangan says:

    Terrific, Carol! Glad you’re doing this as it’s fun to read musings by someone one knows as opposed to strangers. Hope our reading and posting assists your efforts to be published.


  8. Patty Reid says:

    Fun read, Carol. Best way to stay young…laugh at ourselves! BTW, when can we meet at the movies?!


  9. John bryant says:

    Nice work,,,,, empathy plus!


  10. Cassie George says:

    I always love reading your stuff, but i must say that using the term “bodacious” sort of aged you a bit there, Mom. 🙂 Loved the rest of it though. And i will say, from experience, that that aqua fitness class is no joke! Keep up the great posts!


  11. Lauren says:

    Fantastic! I think this post really captures your voice and humor, so anyone that enjoys this very first blog post will be pleasantly surprised with what’s to follow. I’m very proud of you taking that first scary step into the unknown…you’re a true inspiration-and an excellent writer. love you mother.


  12. Teri Holtz says:

    I felt like you were right in front of me. One day we’ll be reading your book in our book club and I certainly hope you are never too busy to drop in and join us!!!


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