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Part One: Navigating Aging with Dubious Advice by an Island Crone

Normally I don’t give getting old a second thought. Why should I? I am a healthy 85-year-old, active, and still interested in what’s going on in my community.

I feel I can do every thing I once did. Until this happened.

It was a beautiful blue-sky day on January 1, 2024 when I walked down to the ferry dock to watch the annual polar bear swim. I didn’t see anyone I knew. Covid had done that for me. I had stopped going to public events.

But then I recognized a voice in the crowd, a young couple whose daughter was doing the swim.

“Here,” he said, “you can watch with us.”

He held out his hand as I stepped over the foot high divider between the vehicle and the pedestrian path on the ferry dock.

When the swim was over and I turned to leave they were already walking away. I looked at the wooden beam that was the barricade between me and my way home and I knew if I tried to step over it without support, I would fall. The air around me was shimmering, it was either the sunlight dancing on the water or something else that made me feel dizzy, whatever, I knew I needed help.

I hate asking for help.

I called out to the wife who was on her phone walking away. Of course, she rushed back and gave me her arm to grip as I stepped over, teetered a bit, then centered myself. She gave me a hug and was on her way.

Dubious advice #1: Don’t be too proud to ask for help.

It was a long walk home.

“How was the polar bear swim?” Grant asked.

As I told him what happened I started to weep. “I hate feeling old,” I blurted between sobs. “I feel vulnerable and useless and as though I’ve aged a decade.”

Some of my journals

“Well, you are getting old Lizzie,” Grant said gently, “and its just part of letting go.”

“No!” I refused to listen to him. “I know I am old but I can still do something to slow the decrepitude. Walk with my Nordic poles. Do my balance exercises. And write in my journal to ease the angst.”

I have more dubious pieces of advice on how I am navigating aging to share with you. Next blog post, my friends.

If you enjoyed this and are curious about more content from an Island Crone, please subscribe from my blog sidebar. I promise to post at least once a month and sometimes more. But not often enough to bore.

~ Island Crone by Liz Maxwell Forbes


17 thoughts on “Part One: Navigating Aging with Dubious Advice by an Island Crone

  1. Reading vignettes us oldsters can relate to makes me feel like I’m sitting with friends at the kitchen table drinking hot cocoa and swapping stories not usually shared with anyone. Laughing at our insecurities and embarrassments. Leaving feeling happy, stronger, bolder…and understood. Bravo Liz!

  2. There is grief with loss of physical ability and strength whether it is gradual or a sudden change. Recognizing it as a piece of the human process of aging helped me to move forward in this journey in which we are all participants. I have a dear friend who has cerebral palsy, her accomplishments in her physical ability and joy of movement have enlightened and encouraged my own path.
    Thanks for sharing your experience, Liz!

    • What did Ram Dass say? ‘We are all just walking each other home’. Your powerful words brought him to mind, thank you Lyn for that. hugs Liz

  3. Ah, Liz. I loved your advice on navigating aging. The thing is I’ve had these little insecurities for ages, now, and seldom even thought about it. Now, that I’m edging up there, each little incident feels like a monumental event. I tell myself it’s all in my mind, but darn it, I wouldn’t have stepped over that barricade either! And thanks for helping me to start taking even little steps a little more seriously! Mary

    • dear Mary, you are ahead of me and doing splendidly…I guess we just have to learn to ask for help and as you said a while ago, use a walking stick…it gives us lots to laugh about on our trips to our writers group…love Liz

  4. Ah yes – the vagarities of growing older – one moment I’m strolling confidently along a lovely hiking trail in the forest, the next I’m flummoxed by a small tree trunk across the path or a sudden drop over uneven ground that the knees or hips or eyesight can’t negotiate! And today, when I gassed up the car for the first time in about 6 weeks, my co-op number that usually comes to mind so easily was…well….gone. So I just punched in a bunch of numbers and some other customer will benefit from my purchase!
    We need to get together soon, Liz, so we can commiserate and laugh over our adventures in aging. Looking forward to Part 2 of your Dubious Advice.

    • Unfortunately one can’t punch in random numbers when we mess up our debit pin number…if someone speaks to me when I’m putting the numbers in, it’s gone!!!
      Yes we must get together…funnily enough i just finished asking Mary if she could arrange a lunch thing for Sue, you and me…
      thank you for joining me in our aging journey with laughter and for just not taking ourselves seriously…we didn’t strut those rose coloured glasses for nothing…Liz

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  5. Liz: I find your words are like an echo.
    My mind says I can do it but my body says NO!
    Getting older is really an uphill trek.

    • Thanks Dave! So glad you signed up for my blog. Yes this aging is quite a surprise…i didn’t believe it before…cheers Liz

  6. A lovely vignette Liz; understandable sentiments at facing a vulnerable moment. I also had a similar reticence of asking for help, until one day it was my turn to need assistance (in my 60’s). Past situations came to mind of when it was my turn to help someone else out when I was younger and stronger. The realization came to me that it is normal and natural for us now to ask for and accept help from time to time (our turn); it was a liberating realization.

    Regards to Grant… look forward to future posts and hope to see you when I am next on the island!

    • Ah yes, i know from your own book that you ‘get it’! Thanks for reading Larry, and responding to my post. Best Liz

    • Thank you Lou, I like your comment about liking to be needed, that is so spot on…I will try to not be so ferocious about saying I can manage! and accept help…i am so happy you are reading my blogs…Liz

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