On Aging

being old doesn't seem so old

Today’s prompt from The Daily Post:

What are your thoughts on aging? How will you stay young at heart as you get older?


My thoughts on aging come from my experience of my own aging body. I’m 67. As I reached my 50’s, various body parts began to go bad on me, many the result of my misuse or neglect.

  • At 50, I had a very large basal cell carcinoma removed from the tip of my nose, which then required reconstructive surgery. The doctor did great work and people don’t even notice now.
  • At 51, I had one bad gall bladder attack and had to have my gall bladder removed,laparoscopically.
  • At 54, I had four eye surgeries to try to repair a Macular Hole and then a detached retina. The retina was successfully reattached, but I lost the central vision in my left eye.
  • At 56, I had a heart attack and had angioplasty and one stent inserted.
  • At 59, I was diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer, and then underwent aggressive radiation and chemotherapy. The treatment killed the cancer, almost killing me in the process.


Is this too much information? My advice to those of you in your forties and fifties: get regular medical checkups! A number of my medical misfortunes came from not doing that.

So, my sixties have been more uneventful, physically. However, I know that I am losing my hearing ( all those rock concerts in my twenties!). I also have trouble with name retrieval.

But my older friends are dying or are already dead. My parents’ generation ( who were born around 1915) are gone. When I return to my home town, most of the people I knew ( my parents’ friends) are gone.

And yet, age is relative in many ways!

I am one of the younger ones in my religious community; but at the university where I still teach, I’m among the older professors. I am amazed that my students, who could be my grandchildren, don’t seem to mind. And the saying “they keep me young” is true in so many ways.

How do I stay young at heart?

By being interested in many things, and in new things. By looking forward to Spring in my garden.

By still teaching. By writing poetry.

I could say much more, and will, perhaps, another time.

Here’s a poem I wrote last year which seems appropriate:


Wow me not with verbotechnics

Summer gardens work just fine

Gladioli shock the clerics –

Delicate but so divine


Star magnolias fill the air with

Suntan lotion’s thick perfume

Then I’m thanking Heaven’s goldsmith

When the air is filled with June.


I feel old when nests remind me

I don’t have much future here

Most of my life lies behind me;

Still I call the summer dear.


Vincent Van Gogh:  Woman in a Garden

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/young-at-heart/”>Young At Heart</a>




Published by ahiggins2013

poet, birder, senior citizen, cancer survivor, Catholic sister. Eight books of poetry published: At the Year’s Elbow, Mellen Poetry Press 2000; Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky, Plain View Press 2007; chapbooks: Pick It Up and Read, Finishing Line Press 2008, How the Hand Behaves, Finishing Line Press 2009, Digging for God, Wipf and Stock 2010, Vexed Questions, Aldrich Press 2013, Reconnaissance, Texture Press 2014, and Life List, Finishing Line Press, 2015.

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