Friday, January 18, 2013
I'm An Old Lady and I'll Do What I Like!
Years ago I was working in a dialysis center where 95% of my clients were over age 75.
One of my fondest memories of that experience was seeing my 85 year old client, Gladys, who lived in an assisted living community, come into the unit 3 times a week.
She was fiercely independent, outspoken, and full of life at her advanced age on this planet.
She had a hired companion, Deana, who often accompanied her to dialysis and who also helped her around her apartment with cleaning, cooking, and took her out with her on social occasions to do shopping, restaurants, and concerts.
Her daughter lived in the city and sometimes she would bring her in to her treatment sessions and then sit with me in the office and lament about how feisty and stubborn she found her mom to be.
Then I'd hear about how that whole deal went down that week when Gladys would come in the next time and tell me how her daughter and Deana wanted her to do this and that or wear such and such or eat certain things, etc. On and on and on.
She would roll her eyes and say to me, "I just tell them, 'I'm an old lady and I'll do what I like!'."
Eventually this line became like a punch line to any story she would tell me and it actually became an inside joke during any conversation we would have together. We'd start chuckling and soon enough any story gained a humorous perspective.
I've often thought of her over the years. Her feistiness, her strength, her refusal to compormise her life choices. Even down to her final choice to remove herself from dialysis as her quality of life declined.
I learned many things from clients over the years of doing the work that I did, but Glady's lesson for life has stood out among the many.
"I'm an old lady and I'll do what I like!"
At my age, which is no longer "middle age" (unless I am going to live to age 116!), I find myself constantly aware of sifting through my priorities and trying to keep them aligned in a life-giving way.
Time is getting shorter with aging and it is moving along more swiftly than in my earlier youth.
I don't want to waste any of it doing things that I don't want to do or neglecting to do things that matter most to me.
One of these things is riding a scooter. The wonderous gift that came into my life 6 years ago. Something good that came from living out in the country for all that time.
The simple pleasure of riding a scooter.
I AM an old lady and I'll do what I like...and boy do I love riding a scooter!
Thank you Gladys, wherever you are!