Sixties Shades of Gray

I received a membership application to AARP the day I turned 50. Wow, how did they know? They are better than the IRS in tracking you down. And now, 15 years and several houses later, I continue to receive AARP’s mail, without my ever notifying them where I had moved!

AARP is only one of the signs that remind you of your select standing in the community: a senior citizen. So I thought I would have some fun and come up with a list of these reminders as we grow gray and grayer. Please add your own. (List not necessarily in order of importance.)

1. Of course, AARP is never far behind. Every month I receive its magazine, and I am happy to see that many celebrities are growing old with me.

AARP Maagzine

AARP Maagzine

2. White hair showing? How many times a month do you dye your hair now? It used to be we dyed it to change color or have highlights. Now, we dye to hide the white hairs.

3. Extra pounds and flabs not only around the waist, but also in almost every part of your body -- so difficult to get rid of. You try diet pills and/or exercises that promise a beautiful, toned body. Do you remember the last time you wore a bikini? Hold that thought…that’s where it belongs.

4. You can never get enough of vitamins and other dietary supplements, especially if you think these pills are keeping you healthy and stabilizing your weight. Dream on.

5. Doctors’ visits. I have never seen so many doctors in the last ten years: general practitioner, knee and hip specialist, ophthalmologist, physical therapist, dentist, etc., and taken so many tests -- mammogram, pap smear, MRI, X-ray, bone density, retina exam, stress test, colonoscopy, etc., etc. Nothing seems to work the way they used to. These doctors are making a killing (pardon the expression) with our senior population!

6. Change in vehicles. I used to be a sedan person, but lately I have switched to an SUV because 1) it is easier for me to get in (with my bad knee) and easier to transport grandchildren, strollers and balikbayan boxes.

7. No matter how little you eat, you gain weight. No matter how much you exercise, you don’t seem to lose the weight.

8. Certain foods are now forbidden because of diabetes, gout, etc.

9. You can’t stay up too late anymore, so dates are limited to movies, and no later than the 7 p.m. showing. And of course, buttered popcorn is not good for you, but it is sooo gooood.

10. Every time you meet with your friends, the conversations are limited to health, aches and pains, your doctors and your grandchildren. That’s why you bring your iPad along, to show your grandchildren’s photos.



11. You attend lots of REUNIONS – family, elementary, high school, college, post graduate, officemates, ex-lovers, ex-spouses, stepchildren, etc.

12. You move to a rancher or condo. No second or third floors, no stairs because your knee can’t take it anymore. Better if there is an elevator. No need to worry about the gardener, the pest control guy, the electrician. Pay the dues and let the association worry about it. Simplify your life.

13. You search online and look for catalogs that offer discounts to seniors. You are proud to say you are a senior to get that movie discount. In Makati, all seniors get 20% off on food, medicines and hospital stay, and free movies!

14. You throw away the high heels. If you don’t have heel spurs or arthritis yet, you will soon if you continue to wear such high heels. Didn’t you know, short is in. The mini is back, so stick to flats. Baka madapa ka!

15. Insurance agents are after you to make sure you have longterm care and enough money to leave your children. But they also want to insure your grandchildren. How can you say no?

16. Your favorite grocery stores are Trader Joe’s and Costco for their packaged, frozen food. Microwave is your best cooking companion!

17. You can’t remember too many things anymore. Thank God for Google, you can immediately look up that actor’s name you can’t remember. When someone approaches me and seems to know me but I can’t remember, I say, “I’m sorry, my memory is not as good anymore. Can you refresh my memory on how we met?” It’s a little embarrassing, but better this than making a fool of yourself.

18. You find you are constantly making lists so you do not forget. Grocery lists, errands list, Christmas lists, things to ask your husband to do!

19. Flying to Manila is not as much fun as it used to be, even if they now have non-stop flights. My body is sore and takes several days before the ache goes away.

20. You need to be near a toilet at all times, and it better be clean! Some friends wear diapers on long trips when they are not sure of the toilet’s sanitary condition.



21. You try not to laugh too hard because this causes a drip!

22. Nothing looks good on you anymore and the sizes keep getting bigger every year. You buy clothes that are more relaxed (loose) to hide your bulges, and even if you wanted to show your breasts like Kim Kardashian, nobody wants to see them, not even you. It is past due!

23. Oh, and another thing, your bilbil is catching up with your boobs!

24. You find the clothes we used to wear in vintage shops. When you get invited to a ‘70s-theme party, your bell bottoms come in handy, if they still fit.

25. Sex is not as enjoyable? Does your husband need Viagra? Baka konting kalabit lang, pwede na!

26. My husband says when he sees a beautiful woman, the only thing he can do now is give her a hard look.

27. When young people see your iPhone, they comment, “My, your font is so big!”

28. You need a magnifying glass to read the small print in medicines, legal documents, washing instructions, etc.

29. You have props to help you: eyeglasses, orthotics, dentures, cane or walker, stent, wigs, hearing aids, Spanx, pacemakers, diapers, etc.

30. You are very impatient. It’s as if, time will stop soon and you need to get it done, if not yesterday, right now!

Do you remember the last time you wore a bikini? Hold that thought…that’s where it belongs.

31. Darn, those hot flashes never seem to go away.

32. You spend a lot of time babysitting. The beauty of being a grandparent is you can return the grandchildren to their parents.

33. You don’t like too much noise anymore. I used to love listening to disco music all the time. Now, I look for good ole Nat King Cole.

34. You talk louder than usual because you think they can’t hear you; when actually it is you who can’t hear them.

35. My doctor told me last week, my age now is the best time to have a knee replacement. What next?

36. You are just waiting for someone to ask your advice. After all, you have more than 60 years of experience.

37. You can’t bend down anymore to cut your toenails.

38. You are always sleepy, especially after eating. I find I crave naps nowadays.

39. You can’t take baths in the tub anymore, especially if you’re by yourself; who will pull you up?

40. Don’t know about you, but I started having facials every month for the past five years. I never needed any facials in my earlier years. But no Botox or fillers yet for me. Maybe soon.



41. You watch a lot of reruns. Somehow time stops.

42. At the same time, you go through old photos and videos, reminiscing about when you were young, when the children were young, when you only had one husband, when you were 30 pounds lighter.

43. Your skin is always dry, and every part of your body too.

44. Every Sunday night, you lay out the pills you need to take every day of the coming week.

45. You buy slip-on shoes because it’s easier than having to tie the laces.

46. You shop only in stores where someone can help you. I can’t reach high or bend too low to look at the goods, or read the prices right.

47. No one bothers to ask for your driver’s license when you say, “Senior discount?”

48. When you meet younger people, you ask, “Who are your parents?” Nine times out of 10, their parents are your contemporaries.

49. All the important people – national and world leaders -- are younger than you.

50. Do you remember when…? So many of that going around these days. That’s why Facebook has Throwback Thursdays. Keep the memories coming. One day, you won’t even remember when.



51. It’s time to make your will, not only who gets what, but also when to pull the plug. Most people defer doing this until it is too late.

52. You are attending more funerals than baptisms and weddings. Each time a friend passes away, you think about your own mortality and how you would like to be remembered.

53. Some of your older friends insist on bringing their spouses everywhere they go so they have somebody to drive for them. I guess it is also a security blanket; in case anything happens, your spouse is with you.

54. You look for volunteer opportunities. It’s okay to be with your spouse, but 24 hours a day, every day of the week? I think I would go crazy.

55. Do everything in your bucket list now, while you still can. Travel, check. Zip line, check. Sky diving, maybe next year.

56. You often think about retiring, if you haven’t done so yet, and going back to the Philippines to die.

57. You don’t understand technology and refuse to learn. As long as you know how to type and press the SEND button, you’re okay.

58. You like your own quiet moments, be it reading a book, taking a walk, watching the sunset, praying, without any disturbance. I find I am doing a lot more of these now.

59. Was I a good daughter, sister, mother, wife and grandmother? Did I live a good life and help others live a good life too? You get concerned about your legacy.

60. You get very reflective at times and wonder what kind of world your grandchildren will inherit, and how you wish you could still be around to protect them.

When I was in my twenties, I thought my parents were old. When I was in my forties, I thought my parents were really old in their sixties. When I was in my fifties, I saw my mother die and my father slowly losing his memory. Now that I am in my sixties, I feel old and many times, I cannot remember people, places and things. My father is in his nineties, and cannot remember most things. But one thing I know for sure, I will fill up the rest of my life with many good, funny and inspiring memories, and when the time comes when I cannot remember any of them anymore, my grandchildren will tell me the stories.