During the 13 years since I began writing a column, several times I have mentioned the fact that expressing myself in this way is very good therapy.
I still believe that.
In sharing my journey from late middle age to dipping into the 80s, I think I have gained an insight that would not have occurred had I not revealed my inner self to you in My Senior Moment every week.
And after all these years of self-awareness, I have come to a conclusion. I think I’m suffering from multiple personality disorder.
Actually, “suffering” is not the word I’m seeking — “experiencing” would be more fitting.
First and foremost, there’s the little old lady which is the personality most revealed to the world. I’m that woman who walks with the help of a little seat on wheels that’s called a rollator, and I’m the one people eye with a little bit of scorn as I not-so-skillfully manipulate an electric buggy through the aisles of Walmart or Publix.
I don’t quite understand why most shoppers feel a little hostility to those of us who speed through the produce section with the push of a button, but I know that I am confronted with more frowns than smiles when I’m cruising around the store.
I often get the same glares when I pull into a handicapped parking space.
To these people I represent a threat of how age will eventually leave its mark on them.
That’s OK, because there’s another side of me.
It’s the career-oriented lady that I am.
I have a job that I love doing and it’s what I have a passion for, which makes me a very lucky lady.
I feel that I am still at the top of my game at work, and I leave the old lady behind when I’m behind my desk turning out newspaper pages.
And you’d better believe that anytime I carry on a conversation with some stranger such as a new hairdresser or a friendly clerk at the store where I shop, somewhere in the conversation I will throw in a mention of my job. This usually leads to a little amazement showing on the other person’s face that I am still working.
On the other hand, I like to fool myself into thinking that I look much younger than I do.
This can lead to me steering the conversation to age so I can hear the words, “You can’t be 83. You don’t look a day over 60.”
I work hard for those words. That’s for the woman in me who is sometimes vain and cares a little too much about how I look.
Unfortunately, I don’t get that response as often as I once did.
Then there’s the girl in me — the little girl who loved to sing with her daddy and misses him still, and the teenager who fell in love dancing to “Stella by Starlight” and became engaged while Les Paul and Mary Ford sang “Vaya Con Dios.”
When I want to escape the aggravations associated with getting old, I settle back in my recliner, switch to YouTube on my TV and indulge myself for hours listening to the music from my past.
I sometimes have a smile on my face as I listen, and sometimes tears will fill my eyes.
There’s another personality lurking within me that most people aren’t aware of — I want to be a race car driver in my next reincarnation.
You wouldn’t know it by the way I drive now — better safe than sorry when one is old.
I learned to drive in the mountains, and my best friend’s uncle, a North Carolina highway patrolman, taught me how to brake and punch the gas at the same time so my car would hang tight in the curves. I have put this behind me but I still remember the feel of that stick shift Chevy as I worked the pedals and cruised the highway.
Age has left its mark on me, but I don’t ever want to lose all of these other personalities that make up a part of who I really am.
And remember when you see me zipping around Sam’s Club in an electric cart, don’t frown. That’s just my inner child at play.