Who Knew I Was Old?
I have lived my life as one of service; seeking opportunities to help through volunteering and making a difference. I have tutored students at our local parochial school, worked at our Food Shelf, and delivered Meals on Wheels to those in need. I’ve been a member of and led many community organizations and causes. I donate blood. When there is a need, I try to step forward. I get so much from these opportunities to connect and support my community.
I am considered high energy, fit, and active. I play tennis, golf, and can out-dance most on the dance floor. I started The Sleek Belt five years ago at age 59 and thrive on the challenges of learning, creating, and connecting as we launched and now market a product I believe in and am passionate about.
Then COVID-19 came along.
At first, the cautions were directed at the old. Now, I define “old” as 80+. My father passed away last year at the age of 94. That was too soon, but he was old. As the days of this health issue evolved to a pandemic, the CDC helped define those who should be extra cautious and heed the guidelines for social distancing, hand washing and avoiding your face. When they said that old people, those 60 or older were especially vulnerable, I felt like I had been slugged in the stomach.
Suddenly, my instinct to step forward to offer my help came with a concern for the risks I was exposing myself to. I now wrestle with the question of whether I am helping by offering my time and support or am I helping by not getting COVID-19 and adding burden to our health care system?
Caring for Others is a Two-Way Street
I don’t necessarily own that I’m old, but I see it. My kids are concerned about me. This is a serious switch, as its always been my job to be the parent and worry about my children. Now they are giving me extra cautions and are connecting to assure that we are doing well and being safe. I watch my husband a little closer. His nagging congestion has me concerned. I find myself diligently investing in cleaning surfaces and keeping away from others. I am making sure I’m stocked with health supplies, food, and beverages to support us should something happen. I hate to even define it as preparing for the virus to land in our home… but that’s what it is.
I’ve decided to appreciate and celebrate some of what comes with this newly recognized status. Being old, I know that we humans have navigated and thrived through many trials and challenges. I’ve lived through world catastrophes of nuclear meltdowns, the mysterious and deadly AIDS, financial meltdowns of 2008 and 1997, tornados, hurricanes, Ebola, the terror of 9/11. And here’s where being old is a gift… we’ve always come out from adversity better and stronger.
Don’t Let COVID-19 Stop You from being YOU
So, I have delivered Meals on Wheels, but with greater caution so as not to expose these incubated, vulnerable recipients. I have signed up to work the Food Shelf, appreciating their revised protocols to protect both shoppers and volunteers. I’ve joined call chains to connect with those who may need help. I am active in prayer chains to seek God’s comfort and healing. I try to keep a balance of spreading light and hope as well as accurate information. I am appreciative of the symbiotic relationship I recognize with my adult children, welcoming their support yet continue my amazing gift of being their mom. If you want to get involved and offer help, there are ways to do so!
We all know the adage, age is a mindset. I’m keeping my identity as an active, kick-up-your-heels, and seize the day woman. I’m also respectful of my need to protect others by staying healthy. Most of all, I look forward to the other side of this adventure and can’t wait for the next wedding dance.