My Prayer for Old Age

  1. May I keep my health and faculties to be able to enjoy a ripe old age.
  2. May I do my best to keep myself physically fit so I don’t have to spend most of my golden years in a doctor’s waiting room and/or in surgery.
  3. May I never become so enamored of my various medications and ailments that I  never do anything to help reduce my dependence on them and instead, spend most of my time listing them to anyone who will sit still long enough to listen.
  4. May I never get to the point where I believe I know everything and resist learning anything new.
  5. May I never assume everything new is bad and everything old is much, much better.
  6. May I always continue to keep up on current events, technology, trends, ideas and thoughts so I have something to discuss with others that doesn’t involve the olden days and so I know how to use my debit card before I’m standing at the check-out counter with 12 people behind me.
  7. May I continue to make it a point to spend time with younger, much younger and much, much younger people and listen to what they have to say.
  8. May I read something other than the tabloids and same five books I’ve enjoyed my whole life and may I watch a movie or TV show once in a while that isn’t like the movies or TV shows I usually watch.
  9. May I keep my mind open and accepting of things even if they initially shock me.
  10. May I continue to try new things even if they seem a bit weird at first.
  11. May I continue to challenge myself every day even if I feel more like just sitting on my sofa and watching TV.
  12. May I never, ever, EVER make “comfort” my only criteria for my choice of clothing.
  13. May I never get a “man haircut” just because it’s easier to deal with.
  14. May I never assume that just because I’m old I am automatically entitled to respect, deference, attention and discounts on everything. Instead, may I do whatever I can to earn that respect deference and attention from others, while taking full advantage of all discounts offered.
  15. May I allow my adult children and grandchildren to be adults and not constantly question, judge or render unsolicited opinions on all their choices and activities in life.
  16. May I allow my children to remember things that I, for some reason, don’t remember the same way.
  17. May I remember to have a sense of humour, even through my innate crankiness, while trying to make a distinction between being witty and just repeating the same tired, old quips that made people chuckle 30 years ago.
  18. May I not alienate friends and other people from my life because they don’t do things the way I think they should do them.
  19. May I ask for help from my family or friends if I need it and not assume they should automatically know when I’m in need and then criticize them for not being there for me.
  20. May I spend some time every month or so watching myself eat in the mirror to make sure I’m still able to do it without grossing everyone out.
  21. May I continue to make an effort to look groomed and clean and attractive and make the most of what nature and time has bestowed upon me.
  22. May I make it easy for my family to love me and want to spend time with me instead of them having to doing so out of guilt.
  23. May I move myself into a senior’s residence, or make some similar arrangement, long before my family starts to worry about me and check up on me daily.
  24. May I continue to laugh often and find enjoyment in life.
  25. May I open my windows every day to let the fresh air in and the old people smell out.

31 responses to “My Prayer for Old Age

  1. May I never assume that just because I’m old I am automatically entitled to respect, deference, attention and discounts on everything. Instead, may I do whatever I can to earn that respect deference and attention from others, while taking full advantage of all discounts offered.

    This is an issue that seems to vary considerably between cultures, with some assuming that just being ‘an elder’ is sufficient cause for respect.

    In our society, I think we are probably too deferential to ‘elders’ in positions of power (Dick Cheney, Henry Kissinger) but not usually sufficiently respectful of the elderly in general.

  2. When I was your age I used to walk 14 hours to school and 14 hours back, through 10 feet of snow in the middle of the summer and had to ….. I’m not gonna make it to old….

  3. I like this very much. Personally, I think it should be compulsory. Oh, right: May I not be controlling of others. But seriously, it’s a keeper.

  4. A thoughtful list.

    You know what’s scary? When someone’s long life seems to amount to a handful of opinions and self-flattering anecdotes. Kill me now, if that’s my destiny. I’ll take the smell and the creaky joints, but not that.

  5. Alison – That’s freaky. Are you psychic or do you have a mother like mine?

    Milan – Ya, I think generally we should show a little more respect and deference to our elders than we do to our age-group peers. But sometimes those old people get pretty uppity. On the bus the other day an old lady actually pushed herself onto one of those sideways seats that a little kid (maybe 4) was sitting on, so the kid fell off, just so she could put her bag on the seat next to her. The father, who was standing, was so shocked he didn’t know what to do. So we gave up our seat to the kid and his dad. He should have said something to her, I think. That was rude.

    Julia – Thanks

    Lebowski – It might be a good idea to live as if you were anyway…just in case.

    Mrwriteon – Thank you sir. I’m going to be reviewing it regularly myself.

    MM – It will be an honour to be on your fridge!

    G – I know there are interesting old people around. I see them on TV sometimes or read about them in books and newspapers. But then again interesting people in general are far outnumbered by the uninteresting people, so it stands to reason that eventually the interesting old people will be far outnumbered by the uninteresting old people.

  6. This afternoon my mom and I attended the funeral of one of Mom’s old friends, who died in her late 80s. After chatting with a number of her old friends who were also there, I fervently wish most of them had your list and referred to it regularly! Well said!

  7. Hahah! Good on you, for #13.

    It’s just SAD, when the women get the old-bat brushcut. It’s like they stopped caring.

    And before half the ladies here scream at me, I’m NOT knocking short hair that looks feminine.

    I’m knocking the butchy 1/4 inch buzz-cut that the over-70 crowd prefers.

    (Especially the larger women, who, for some reason, choose hairstyles that make their head look even SMALLER in relation to the rest of their body).

    Ladies, that is NOT a flattering look.

  8. These are all good but I think #19 is a rule that should be in place for everyone starting at age 10.
    There’s nothing more annoying than an angry friend or relative that assumed someone should have known what they wanted/needed.

  9. #18 is the one I find the most heartbreaking. I see a whole lot of older women who lose touch completely with their community through this and then they rely entirely on their kids to be that community. It doesn’t work well especially when kids are far flung, and it also seems to lead to elder abuse.

    Beverly Sims (feminist playwright) wrote a play called Crabdance in the mid 70’s about the twilight years of women and it all revolved around an old woman playing out her life dramas with the aid of door to door salesmen. They were stand ins for her son, husband and lover. She got to fully orchestrate their roles because “the customer is always right”. The true bitterness she felt about how her life had actually played out was summed up in one line “My bones are hollow, they’ve sucked the marrow from them”

    May I never find myself so lacking in community that I think every telemarketer is my new best friend, my lover, my children, my confessor…..

  10. Amen + Alleluia! However, you forgot #26: May I continue blogging on a regular if not daily basis to enlighten my faithful followers’ lives.

  11. May I never worry about what I’ll do in my golden years while I’m in the prime of my life?


    But seriously, I would add only this one – or maybe, have only this one:

    “May I not look back at my life and say, ‘I wish I’d done that, but now I can’t, because it is too late.'”

    Don’t leave room for regret in your life.

  12. 26. May I maintain an immaculate driveway that I hose down daily.

    27. May I develop a fear of breaking large-demonimation bills, and only pay with exact change.

    28. May I dodder to the front of the line, and cut right in. Because no one will dare yell at a frail old senior.

    29. May I start to wear a HAT when I drive, and never exceed the speed limit.

    30. May I restrict my shopping hours to lunch time and after 5:00 PM, to hold up the line for everyone else who still has to work.

  13. 25 “May”s. That got me to thinking about some Irish blessings for you, XUP.

    “May you live as long as you want,
    And never want as long as you live.”

    “May the saddest day of your future be no worse
    Than the happiest day of your past.”

    “May your neighbors respect you,
    Trouble neglect you,
    The angels protect you,
    And heaven accept you.”

    And, “May the wind behind your back never be your own.”

  14. #16 resonated particularly with me. My Mom and I remember so many things so very differently, and now the same thing has started to happen with me and MY daughters.
    I guess it must be me…

    Let’s all reconvene back here in ten years to see how we’re all doing; that is if this interweb thingy is still around.

  15. This is a long list; a heartfelt list. I think I’ll start practicing now… except for #’s 26 – 30 🙂

    I have to watch #4 with regards to new technology. I’m content with what I’ve got and resist upgrading to the latest and greatest. I’ll probably end up like a friend I have. She has never owned a computer and is afraid to get one now. No Internet, no email…

  16. @Davina,

    Your friend sounds like the perfect candidate for an iPad – seriously, they’re that easy to use.

  17. @Brett,
    Yeah, I tried to give her an old computer of mine to learn with and she refused; a free computer – she refused! I’d love to try an iPad one of these days.

  18. Mary – No I haven’t. I’ll give it a look see

    Pinklea – The time to start working on the list is NOW!! I wrote it as a daily reminder for myself.

    Betsy Mae – Of course I wrote it! Thank you

    Friar – I know, eh? A lot of older women seem to not want to look like women anymore. They get man shoes and man clothes and a man haircut and stop even trying to keep the facial hair at bay. I love it when I see an old lady who obviously still enjoys being female and making the most of it.

    Geewits – Married couples have the same issue, too. One assumes that if the other loved them enough they’d know exactly what they need, when they need it — and you shouldn’t have to ask. Unless you’re married to a psychic, that ain’t gonna work out so good.

    Mudmama – That’s why it’s important also to maintain connections from all age groups. Your cronies are going to die off one by one and then you’ll be back to depending on your family. I wouldn’t mind hanging out with a jolly old lady now and again, but they seem to regard me as a frivilous young flibberty-gibbit with whom they have nothing in common.

    Mr. Jazz – Bah! You’ll all be dead by then and I’ll end up writing into a void. Ha ha ha

    Jazz – They’re golden if you let them. If you feel well and are engaged in life and no longer have to work and get discounts on everything so you can travel and enjoy things at your liesure…that sounds pretty golden to me.

    Brett – Absolutely. And the crazy thing is that the things you’ll regret when you’re old are not always the things you now think you have to do/have. They’ll be much smaller, simpler things, I think.

    Friar – Ha ha — didn’t you do this blog post? Speaking of cutting in lines – go read my comment to Milan about a nasty old lady.

    Trashy – Thanks dude.You may just be right — assuming I write nothing more interesting in the next year. (That would be pretty sad though, wouldn’t it??)

    LGS – Gee thanks. But you sure don’t look Irish. Who knew?

    Finola – It’s very maddening when you finally try to clear the air with a parent about something that’s been eating away at you for years and they just flat-out deny that it ever happened. Even worse when all your siblings remember the same thing the same way and the parent still flat-out denies it. Your memories are your memories.

    Davina – It’s too easy to start looking at all the new-fangled things as flashes in the pan which you don’t want to jump into. We should take advantage of the fact that we’re old enough to be patient so we don’t buy up everything that comes along, wise enough to know a useful tool when we see one, and rich enough to be able to afford a new gadget now and then. We’ve got it all over the young folk in those respects. And being connected to the internet and emails seems like a perfect thing for a senior. How simple to keep in touch with the grandkids, share photos, skype, shop, be entertained, chat with other old people, look up all your symptoms. Silly stubborn old people!

  19. @XUP,


    If there is some small thing you have a chance to do, do it.

    For instance – driving back from a soccer tournament one day with my oldest, I remarked that I had never been down a side road we often pass by that has a really interesting name.

    He said, “why don’t we go see it?”

    So we did. It turns out there is a really nice vista there, that we had never seen.

    On the near horizon, there is a place (not far from where we live) that I have often suggested as a “weekend getaway” for my wife and I.

    However, when I mention it, she always says, “but I’d rather save for a tropical vacation”.

    So I decided last week, “frak it”.

    She often goes away on “girls’ weekends”, and I never go away alone.

    I will be going away alone, in the fall (my favourite season), to this place.

    If no one else wants to come with me, to hell with it – I’m going to see what is there, before I’m too old to go.

  20. This is brilliant!! Xup, would you mind if I post a link to this in my blog and translate it to Spanish?

    In Spain, I’d add one or two more – at the moment, people over 50 find themselves having to take care of their grandchildren all day (both parents work, expensive day care, etc.), Can you imagine what it must be like going through the works of raising a kid all over again?. Being firm about not becoming a substitute mother for your grandchildren no matter how convenient this is for your daughter (whether she is unmarried, married or divorced).

    I’ll print a copy for my mom and stick another one on my fridge door right away.


  21. Brett – Good for you!

    Doug – Ya, that is a problem. Let’s try and solve it, shall we?

    Patsy – I would be honoured if you translated this into Spanish and posted it on your blog. Now I can say I’m an international author!

  22. You list while somewhat amusing, shows a certain lack of understanding. I don’t know how old you are, or for that matter how old any of the people who have commented are, but one day we will all be at the above mentioned cross roads in life. When we do reach them, we will very quickly realize that it is alot easier to critize then it is to avoid becoming a silly stubborn old person.