I recall a time when it was considered impolite to ask a woman her age (perhaps it still is), but there does come a time in one’s life that one’s age becomes a source of great pride and accomplishment. Something that was once kept discreetly private is transformed into a medal of honor to be proudly displayed.
Last weekend, I flew to California with my family to celebrate my mother’s 80th birthday. A veritable gala was thrown by her wonderful friends Donna and Irene (24 years and 10 years her junior). Some forty celebrants were there to pay tribute to my mother’s youth, and I do mean youth. Half the people there had no idea that my mother is an octogenarian (that is until they received the invitation).
Many were her bowling pals who have witnessed her prowess in the alley where her average hovers around 150. Some have gone out dancing with her into the wee hours. And all of them know her to be a ball of fire and the life of any party-especially her own.
So with her cover blown, my mother’s birthday was a celebration of life lived with enthusiasm and joy. No mention of decades past, but much anticipation for the days to come. Perhaps the secret to aging gracefully is not to look back and mourn days gone by, but instead to look forward to the future for new experiences that have yet to occur.
Yesterday, I treated three successive patients with the following birthdates:
I’ll do the math for you, two 91 year olds, and one 95 year old. Each had their own “Je ne sais quoi.” Sylvia watched CNBC while in the dental chair to follow her investments. She had been living with chronic back pain for years until she found a doctor earlier this year willing to perform surgery. Now pain-free and with a bounce in her step, she never has an idle moment.
Teresa sadly lost her two sisters this year. For the past 3½ years she was caretaker for one of them. With no children of her own, she suddenly finds herself to be the family matriarch with her five nephews and nieces vying for her attention. A novel experience for her, which she describes with a smile on her face.
And then there’s Mr. Goldmark who survived the Russian front during WWII while fighting in the Hungarian army. He is a veritable speed demon with his two canes. Always on time (even in the snow), he couldn’t get out of the chair fast enough to race home. His wife broke her hip three weeks ago and is still (but not for long) in a wheel chair. He wanted to take her outside to enjoy the beautiful weather. (And yes, he pushes the wheel chair himself).
So my point: Happy Birthday Mom; and to Sylvia, Teresa, Mr. Goldmark, and all of you who are young at heart:
Carpe Diem (SEIZE THE DAY!)
Dr. Michael Sinkin has been practicing dentistry for over two decades. He truly cares about the experience his patients have and takes great pride in making them feel relaxed and comfortable during every visit. Come in for an appointment and experience a different kind of dental practice. You may even receive a healthy dose of Dr. Sinkin’s famous comic relief!
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