“I don’t feel old. I don’t feel anything until noon. Then it’s time for my nap.”
– Bob Hope
7 weeks ago I had my knee surgery, and ever since then I have been hobbling around with a new perspective on life. I used to put in my earphones, turn on my music (loudly), and go. Auto-pilot, every day. I paid attention to no one, and I am sure no one paid attention to me. That of course was until I needed them to.
I take 72 stairs to get to the subway in the morning. One by dreadful one, and I am sure everyone behind me is clenching their teeth in hopes they don’t yell, “hurry up!” prior to their morning cup of Joe. My foot sticks out, many people have stepped on it, rolled over it with their stroller and asked me to move, in a not-so-polite fashion. Truth is, no one is used to seeing a 27-year-old with a cane. No one is used to the hassles, except for senior citizens.
I often forget that anyone over the age of 70 used to be my age. I have to repeat myself, they can’t hear as well as they used to. Slow? My goodness, it takes an hour to finish a meal. Yet once upon a time they were just like me, unsure about who they were and hoping to fall madly in love with someone till the time they were old and grey. Now, they are old and grey, and have often lost that one person they vowed to sit on the porch with sipping on prune juice. They are angry with the world for leaving them in a non efficient vessel.
I met a woman at the ballet who asked me if I would recommend my cane. To say this was out of the ordinary would be an understatement! But, I let her cruise around with it for a while, asking questions, giving her some advice on my sleek bronze model. All of a sudden, we both seemed the same age. We could have been talking about a pair of shoes or handbag, and it reminded me that we aren’t so different after all.
I hope that I have learned as much from the lovely seniors I have interacted with as they have learned from me. That our generation is not filled with young adults who won’t help them across the road, it’s simply that sometimes we forget they were once like us, just as they often forget we are just like who they once were.