But Then Again: The twilight years

  • Living
  • Monday, 29 Jan 2018

According to a recent study, there’s no reason we can’t live to the ripe old age of 130. I’ve always declared that I would like to live to see (myopically, of course) my 100th birthday, but anything beyond that doesn’t hold much appeal.

We’ve probably all seen TV reports showing the wrinkled faces that belong to the world’s oldest citizens. Shrunken people with watery eyes staring blankly ahead as yet another birthday cake, sagging under the weight of more than a hundred candles, is plonked unnoticed in front of them. “Birthday? What birthday?” the old dear might ask. “Can I go back to sleep now?”

Life is for enjoying. If I’m barely hanging on in there, trying to remember who I am half the time, with diminished appetites for all of life’s pleasures, I think I’ll be more than ready to shuffle across to the big checkout counter in the sky.

Of course, some of us might be able to weather the passing years a little better than others. To give you an idea of what might lie ahead, here are a few pertinent extracts from the diary of a very senior citizen.


Went for my monthly check-up today. My doctor has scheduled me for my fifth hip-replacement operation. The rate that my joints and other bodily bits and pieces are being replaced, there will soon come a time when I’ll be more manmade than natural woman.

My hearing is worse than ever, and there is only so much a hearing aid can do to help. I would learn to lip read but my eyesight is also in a bad way.


My daughter, who celebrated her 100th birthday last week, took me out for lunch. She’s not allowed to drive since she knocked down a traffic policeman while going the wrong way down a one-way street, so my great-great granddaughter drove us to the restaurant. It took me half an hour to get into her SUV. In the end, a small stepladder had to be used to enable me to clamber on board. I just hope that no one caught a glimpse of my undergarments as I was manhandled onto the back seat.

I thought my daughter made a slightly disparaging remark about my new frock. Young people have no respect for their elders these days. My son, however, jumped to her defence when I called him afterwards to complain about her comments. He claims that it’s easy to misunderstand what she says these days because her new dentures make a loud clicking sound when she speaks.

I’m not sure if I can trust the opinions of a man who took up a dubious form of yoga at the age of 102.

I suspect both my children are a teeny bit disappointed that I’m still around after all these years. I’m sure they were hoping that their inheritance, which is slowly being gobbled up by the cost of keeping me at an old folk’s home, would have financed a few exotic, fun-filled holidays. If it weren’t for me they could both be ensconced in some senior citizen resort, playing bingo and mini golf, and getting their bunions massaged by a hunky 60-year-old or a seductive 70-something vamp – depending on their orientation.


My boyfriend of three weeks took me to see a movie this afternoon. The cinema was one of those new places specially designed for older people. The screen is huge and the sound is a few decibels louder than normal. I can’t remember anything about the movie we watched. I suspect we both fell asleep shortly after the opening credits, because when I looked across at him as we exited the cinema, there was a trail of dried drool running from the side of his mouth all the way across his cheek.

Although my boyfriend (does a woman of 130 still refer to her man as BOYfriend?) is a sweet man, I’m a little concerned about the age difference. At 110, he’s possibly too young for me. Besides, I don’t want my friends gossiping about me having a toy boy.


Today I washed my white wig. While I waited for it to dry over the bedside lamp, I watched some TV and napped a lot.

Since most of the population is getting on a bit, all I ever see are ads for things like prosthetics, hearing aids, haemorrhoid preparations and incontinent pads. It’s all very depressing.


Today was an odd day. No sooner had I eaten my breakfast than the catering woman was knocking on my door with my dinner. When I asked about lunch, she smiled in a strange way. A man called me claiming to be my son, but I’ve never even been married before. There’s a furry white animal sitting on top of my bedside lamp. I will have to complain to the management.

Get more of Mary Schneider at facebook.com/mary.schneider.writer

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