I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Another birthday around the corner

Exercise class ten years ago
I have always enjoyed showing off, the typical class clown, I guess. It was ten years ago (in two weeks) that I got my fellow exercisers to pose with me in this picture for my 67th birthday. I am still attending this class on Tuesdays, and the lovely lady on the right is Mona, who is 88 now. She doesn't look much different and shows what a difference getting regular exercise can make in one's physical fitness. She is the mother of the instructor, Robin, standing third from the right. I keep a copy of this picture inside the door of my locker, so I see it often.

Birthdays just aren't the same as they were when I was a kid. Then I looked forward to whatever I might receive from my family as gifts, and now that seems not only unnecessary, but unwanted. I do enjoy getting a small gift now and then, but I sure don't need any. In fact, I am in the process of getting rid of stuff I no longer use.

Yesterday I walked with the ladies, my usual Saturday exercise, and we were a little worried about the possibility of getting really drenched. Rain was forecast to start around 10:00, so we hoped we'd miss it, and that is exactly what happened: it didn't start until after we finished, but of course we all had to be ready for whatever was coming. I brought along my rain pants but didn't want to put them on, as they are very hot once I get moving. Instead, I carried them in the little pack I carry with some water and sunglasses (which we sure didn't need). The rain started right after, and it's still going strong, almost a day later.

This year, my friend Hedi will be having a small birthday party for me at her apartment here in the complex. She did that two years ago when I celebrated my 75th and had just finished recovering from cataract surgery. It reminds me that it has been two years now since I got my new eyes, and they are still so much better than before. No more glasses all the time, although I use them for extended reading, as well as distance glasses for driving and going to the movies. You get the choice (at least I did) to have either close vision or distance. Since I have been nearsighted my entire life, it made no sense to me to suddenly be able to see 20/20 but no longer able to see my watch without readers. I made a good choice, I think, and can certainly see well enough to drive without them if I didn't need to read street signs. What a boon that surgery has been!

It's that time of year when us old folks have a window of time to choose to change our insurance coverage. I have been using a Medicare Advantage plan and will try a different one, a bit cheaper with lower out-of-pocket costs. I just learned that our small COLA (cost of living adjustment) will probably not cover the increased Medicare Part A deduction from our Social Security benefits. I will be happy if it all works out to be about the same, and I realize how fortunate I am to be able to have health insurance coverage at all. So many young people who don't have coverage through their work cannot afford to have comprehensive medical insurance at all. I talk to some of them at the coffee shop and am just happy to have another year ahead with good health insurance.

At some point, I will probably have a health issue that will mean a hospital stay, although I sure hope it's not any time soon. But once you reach a certain age, it's important to have some way to pay the bills if you get sick. I am not so naive as to think it won't ever happen to me, because the older you get, the more our bodies break down. A hiking friend just died two weeks ago from cancer. I had wondered how he was doing; he told us he had pancreatic cancer a year ago, and now he's gone. It was a bit of a shock, since he seemed so healthy.

I also feel very fortunate to live in a place that has plenty of options for healthy exercise, both indoors and out. And now that I've reached the grand old age of 75+, I get to ride the bus for free. A sign at the terminal said that there will be a meeting to discuss raising the bus fares, which concerned me until I realized it won't affect me at all! I'll just continue to pull out my Gold Pass when boarding the bus.

I'm also thinking about buying myself a birthday gift, just for fun. It needs to be something I really want, not just need, and a few things come to mind. I read a review yesterday about the new AirPods Pro, which are expensive but also add a noise canceling feature while listening to music or watching movies on my iPad. That's one item that caught my eye.

I know I could go into the local REI and find something that I just cannot live without, but it seems I have little need for any new workout or exercise clothes. If I looked as fetching in leggings as so many young women do, I might consider buying a pair. But I feel naked in them and would then need to put a pair of shorts over the top, negating the intended look. I wear them in yoga class but that's different than walking around outside. However, they are ubiquitous everywhere I look. Do you wear them on the street?

We used to celebrate our birthdays by going out to eat, but that's not as much fun these days. I tend to overeat when I go out, and the food isn't as good as what my dear partner has prepared for me. He's the cook in the family, and it's so lovely to know all I need to do is rummage around in the fridge for something good and it's always there. He's a little proprietary about the kitchen, wanting things to be just where they belong, and clean, too. I'm not as persnickety as that; if I cook something and clean up, he will surreptitiously follow along behind me to make sure I do a good job. I don't mind a bit, as long as I have good food to eat and a wonderful pal to enjoy it with.
If you age with somebody, you go through so many roles – you're lovers, friends, enemies, colleagues, strangers; you're brother and sister. That's what intimacy is, if you're with your soulmate. —Cate Blanchett
That pretty much says it all for me: having a partner who shares my life in a perfect manner for both of us. It wasn't easy getting here, but I now would not change it for anything. He is still sleeping next to me, having gone to bed long after me (our usual evening activity), and I'll be getting up soon and heading off to the coffee shop. Today my friend Judy are going to see that new movie with Helen Mirren (The Good Liar). I'll be wearing lots of rain gear when I venture out, since the rain is still pounding the roof even now.

Until we meet again next week, dear friends, I hope that life brings you lots of love and, if you want it, some adventure too. I look forward to our next little chat in a week. Be well and don't forget to count your blessings. I am, and you are one of them.


gigi-hawaii said...

I don't wear leggings at all nor shorts, for that matter. I wear muumuus and feel fine in them. They are comfortable, hide all my defects, and they are machine washable.

Rian said...

Love the pic! You look great... so healthy and happy.

I chose to set my cataract surgery so that I could see up close (since I'd never worn glasses before my eyes began to age and it became difficult to see up close then). But... because of that, my far vision was not as good as it used to be after cataract surgery. Thus, I wear progressive lens - and don't mind wearing glasses since I never wore them when young.

And as for Medicare, etc. We love it. We have Medicare and a Medicare supplement - have never used an Advantage plan - but have been curious about them. Don't know what people do that don't have some sort of medical insurance. Everything is so expensive.

And no, I haven't worn shorts (or leggings) in years... but do have yoga pants.

Arkansas Patti said...

Wow, hard to believe it has been 2 years since the surgery. Doesn't seem that long ago that I was waiting to hear the results.
You are so right about regular exercise. I have a friend my age who exercises all the time and the she looks and acts 10 years younger. Hope you find something fun for your birthday present that makes you smile.
Cute picture. Your personality shines through.

William Kendall said...

Well said.

Marie Smith said...

Happy birthday a few days ahead. You still look just as good, Jan.

I don’t understand about medical insurance in the U.S. I am glad yours is ok. So many people have little or no insurance from what I hear.

Red said...

Well keep on showing off. I'm sure what you're really doing is keeping your head in the game.You keep a strict routine so that you keep up with things.

Linda Myers said...

The annual Medicare review took me hours! I changed from Medicare Advantage to a supplement so I have the freedom to choose my own doctors here in Tucson.

Nope on leggings. I have no German in me, but I have German peasant legs. Even when I was young they wouldn't have been flattering.

My birthday present to myself this year was a pedal-assist electric bike. So much fun!

The Furry Gnome said...

See you next week then.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I get so much junk insurance medicare stuff in the mail it is a waste of paper. We have Tricare for Life...it is free so why would I change? It covers most everything...we do have a co pay with medications.
You see those pants all over...I have a few pair but I wear them under my nightgown if it gets really cold...not the intended use but I won't buy anymore...I suppose I could wear them under my full length parka no one would know:)
Hope you have a good week! :)

Tabor said...

You look super healthy in that photo of long ago, now you need to share a new yoga portrait. YOu are wise to realize that trying to live a healthy life is no guarentee that you will always be healthy. We work at it, but there are no promises. I also want to see that movie. We are driving to Florida for the upcoming Thanksgiving, and maybe I will see it there.

Trish MacGregor said...

Great photo!

Rita said...

I was always very nearsighted, too, so it is so weird after the cataract surgery to need glasses to see close up. But I need trifocals still so I still wear glasses all the time.

Happy birthday!!! Get yourself something fun and extravagant!! :)

Linda Reeder said...

I don't wear leggings either. I do have stretchy exercise pants, but they are not as fitted as leggings, and I only wear them at home.
Now that I have reached 75, I think I'll not pay much attention to birthdays either, except the ones that end in 0 or 5. I really have had very few birthday parties. Mid July birthdays are usually just another summer day.

C-ingspots said...

Happy birthday DJan!!! I do hope you plan some special activity to celebrate your day.
As far as wearing leggings in public...occasionally yes, but only with a long, tunic length top. I have slender, well-muscled legs but my body always seems overly large dressed in leggings. Now if I had a tiny waist - maybe.

Glenda Beall said...

Happy Birthday and I hope you find just the right present for yourself. I am buying myself a new laptop computer for my birthday. I have to find a way not to sit so much in front of my computer. It kills me.
You are far healthier than I because of your hiking and moving your body. My sister, two years younger than I, dances three times each week and is in good shape.
I am not a fan of leggings out in public. So many women just look awful in them, and those who do look good in them in some places, should wear a long tunic to cover their bottoms. I feel it is like wearing your underwear in public. I like jeans that fit close to the leg but not tight. I do like long tops to cover my negative spaces. I am looking for something to wear to a fancy dress wedding in January, but I don't want to wear a dress. I don't wear heels anymore and so I have decided on Palazzo pants. No one will be looking at the great aunt of the groom, but I don't want to embarrass my great nephew. Stay well and keep writing.