The Emotional Roller Coaster Old People Put Me Through

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I recognize that I write about my experiences at the gym far too often, but I feel a lot is resolved and sorted out in my raisin brain while I sweat my way through virtually the only quiet time I get all day.

Most of the time the gym is crawling with cliched stay at home moms like me, the occasional male, and throngs of elderly folk. Throngs, I say.

I quite enjoy most of them, despite the random curmudgeon in the pack. I’ve heard some good jokes, seen some good fashion, and heard some great phrases from those old birds.

I can’t remember the jokes, because I simply do not have the mental capacity to remember jokes. I certainly tell the most painful joke the world has ever heard as well. I’m one of those people who tells the punchline wrong, but only after backtracking on the joke 3 or 4 times to add in a forgotten detail.

As for the fashion, there are a surprising number of them who wear- wait for it- shirts tucked into jeans! With belts! Brilliant.

Phrases, you ask? How about: “wash and wear hairdo”, or “You give a kid a peanut and he blows up”. Try this on for size: “Betty’s not doing any of the driving. She can’t see well enough. I mean, she can see shadows, but that’s not good enough to drive.”

I don’t know. I have a strange fascination with the old folk. They simultaneously delight and terrify me, because they will fawn all over 3 year old Beckett when we ride with them in the elevator, but then mostly what I hear out of their mouths in the locker room are stories of cancer and dying. I know it’s natural to be talking about medical things at that age, but it fills me with dread.

There will be the crinkly-eyed gentleman who makes Beckett’s whole day by asking what his name is. While they bask in their connection, I am trying to quell the voice in my head that’s screaming, Oh my god! Look! My child is relatively new on this earth and you are at the end of your days! Did you even notice the poignancy?! 

Many times (like way too often) I picture myself as an old woman, walking on the treadmill, chatting up my buddies. But I assure myself I won’t repeat myself three times before I go do it. Example: Today a 70 year old woman in horribly embarrassing pigtails told her cronies she was going to go “walk the pool”. Three times. She felt the need to keep telling them, and I wondered if it was because she was nervous she might never return, then they would know where to go looking for her.

Anyway, I look at all of the old women and choose who I want to look like at that age. There is a beautiful older woman that I aspire to be, but I assume she’s not human. She’s one of those 68 year olds who has a better body than most everyone, walks with quiet grace, and has curls the color of warm wheat- natural looking and full and they fall perfectly around her face.

Shall I shut up now? Are you people as obsessed with getting old as I am? Probably not. This is what happens in my mind while others are engaging in healthy conversations or watching their treadmill TV’s.

image: Cristian Newman



  1. 12/03/2012 / 5:33 pm

    Your writing brings happy tears to my eyes. Please don't ever stop.

    You would get such a kick out of my mom (I'll send her to you, if you'd like). She'd give you some great material.

  2. 12/04/2012 / 3:37 am

    Dude. I think about being old I wish I could stop. I think maybe it's because I have several old people in my life right now, and they are obsessed with babies and youth, all while talking about illness and dying. It's such a weird parallel.

  3. 12/04/2012 / 5:33 am

    I'll take your mom for a while; that'll be fun. Will she bake cookies with me?

  4. 12/04/2012 / 5:34 am

    Ha ha! You're crazy like me. I think you're right, when you're around the elders a lot, your brain can't help but go a mile a minute.

  5. 12/04/2012 / 10:44 am

    You made me laugh so hard. Did I ever tell you that I grew up in a town with the first retirement community? Leisure World. It's 1/2 our town's population and the stories I can tell you … though admittedly, not nearly as funny as yours!

  6. 12/04/2012 / 11:01 am

    I kind of obsess about getting old, too, but in that asininely juvinile "OMG OMG ONE DAY I'M GOING TO BE A REAL LIVE ADULT" kind of way.

    But no, seriously. I'm going to be an adult soon. I am already actually. That's kind of nerve wracking when I think about it.

  7. 12/04/2012 / 1:04 pm

    Do not tell me that Leisure World was actually the name! That may be the most awesome thing I've ever heard. I hope the old gents all wore leisure suits. Wow, what an upbringing.

  8. 12/04/2012 / 1:10 pm

    That's the sad thing. You go from panicking about being an adult soon to obssessing over your imminent demise. So sad, we are.

  9. 12/04/2012 / 2:45 pm

    I want to be that 68 year old one day!

  10. 12/05/2012 / 7:45 am

    I am terrified of becoming the type of old person who holds up the line at grocery and drug stores. But, then I think, perhaps the young people who hold up the line at stores are the ones who become the old people who do it. And then, I feel a little better, BUT ONLY FOR A MINUTE OR SO.

  11. 12/05/2012 / 1:17 pm

    I'm super obsessed with old people. Only the cute ones though. Kinda like with kids. Yes I do this too. Now I want to walk the pool with you. Walk. The pool with you. Walk the pool with you. Xo

  12. 12/06/2012 / 3:52 am

    How crazy that this name is so popular. We now have a few Leisure Worlds here. It is THE PLACE TO LIVE if you're of a certain age. Expensive and all that, too.

  13. 12/06/2012 / 9:03 am

    Maybe no one responded to her and that's why she repeated herself? I think that's probably who I'll be in 35 years. I already feel like I repeat myself when I'm with my inlaws because they rarely acknowledge I'm talking.

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