Ask Dr. Gramma Karen: I Am Getting Too Old for This!


Dear Readers,

A few months ago, as I was reading Dominique Browning’s article, “I’m Too Old for This,” I found myself smiling vigorously in agreement. Although there are downsides to aging, she goes on to say: “ . . . there is also something profoundly liberating about aging: an attitude, one that comes hard won. Only when you hit 60 can you begin to say, with great aplomb: ‘I’m too old for this.’ ”

I thought about this and decided it would be fun to poll my 60+ year-old-friends. Here is what they came up with when I asked them what was on their “I’m too old for this” lists.

They said, also with great aplomb, “I have stopped . . .”

  • Coloring my hair, getting botox treatments, having my eyebrows professionally shaped, wearing high heels, paying a fortune for skin creams. Instead, I am singing this song: “I’m Popeye the Sailor Man, I’m Popeye the Sailor Man, I yam what’s I yam, And that’s all what’s I am . . . “ ♫ ♪ ♪
  • Putting off that knee replacement I need; it hurts like hell and it is making me a miserable person to be around.
  • Being nice to my replacement at work. I was forced out! I wanted everyone to know me as a nice person. Now I want them to know me as a retired person, so I told them to stop calling me for help.
  • Paying for my lazy, grown kid’s expenses.
  • Competing in tennis events that I just cannot do anymore.
  • Nagging my husband, who has a serious heart condition to take care of himself, e.g., stop eating crap, smoking, and drinking, and start eating the healthy meals I prepare for him, walk with me. No question in my mind: he will soon die of a heart attack. I am both resigned and pissed.
  • Being patient with someone who keeps complaining and whining about something someone did to her decades ago. No more commiserating with her. Now I say, “Yes, you’ve told me about that already. Many times. That was then; this is now.”
  • Watching sad and depressing movies and plays, especially having to do with the Holocaust – just too emotionally draining and I don’t learn anything new. I am not going to these events anymore, just to please my friends.
  • Remaining silent during my family’s trashing sessions of absent family members. Now I simply ask, “Would you be dumping on them like this if they were here?” No doubt they dump on me when I’m not around, but I am past caring.
  • Trying to explain why I have made certain food choices when I am asked why I don’t eat certain things. For some reason many people feel obligated to tell me why I am wrong and that I am “just trending”. I just say, “Hey, It works for me.”
  • Going all out to prepare a nice Christmas Eve dinner for my husband’s extended family (I am his second wife), only to have them whine and complain and not be appreciative. In the future I’ll do special dinners for my family, but not for my husband’s. He agrees with me!

Many of those I polled talked about being too old to put up with certain relationships. Their sentiments can be best summarized with a quote from Ms. Browning’s article: “I am too old to try to change people. By now I’ve learned, the very hard way, that what you see in someone at the beginning is what you get forevermore. Toxic people? Sour, spoiled people? I’m simply walking away; I have little fight left in me. It’s easier all around to accept that friendships have ebbs and flows, and indeed, there’s something quite beautiful about the organic nature of love.”

My closing comment: Although Ms. Browning uses the phrase, “I am too old for this,” it is obvious that the expanded, and more accurate, phrase really is, “I am too old for this sh*t!” YouTube has compiled many of the movies where someone uses the full phrase, beginning with the fictional character Roger Murtaugh (played by Danny Glover), from the Lethal Weapon series of buddy-cop action films debuting in 1987.

Getting too oldWe’re never too old for a good laugh, or two.

Happy 2016

 Ask Dr. Gramma Karen is published every other Tuesday.

E-mail queries to [email protected]

Karen L. Rancourt has a new book,
Ask Dr. Gramma Karen, Volume II: Savvy Advice to Soothe Parent-Grandparent Conflicts

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