The little old lady coughing away in her room. When I walk in, she smiles sweetly, the wrinkles on her face moving in unison
“Don’t get old” she warns.
Don’t get old.
Don’t develop those wrinkles on your face and skin
Don’t get worn out joints that creak and moan when you walk up stairs
Don’t become slow, holding up the crowd behind you as you slowly make your way down the corridor to the bathroom. You see the young people zoom past you, the breeze they leave behind their walk chills you.
Don’t develop the shakes. You think your hold is strong, but it never is. You’re one tremor away from dropping that cup or letting go of that railing and falling backwards.
Don’t lose your hearing. You won’t hear the questions, the comments, the put-downs.
Don’t lose your eyesight. The world isn’t bright anymore. You’ll see spots and floating things. You need those special glasses to even see your cat’s face.
Don’t experience your internal organs break down one by one. Your heart struggling to pump blood around your body, even though you’re smaller than you ever were.
Your kidneys are finding it harder and harder to clean your blood even though you have to use the toilet more often.
Don’t lose your sleep. Sitting up in your favourite chair during the day while talking to your daughter, you nod off. But you’ll be wide awake, staring at the ceiling with dry eyes at night.
Don’t end up in hospital. Every other day they’ll whisper that they doubt you’ll make it out. They’ll smile and be happy to see you.
Don’t talk too much. They’ll say you’re confused and demented for telling that story that’s so close to your heart more than once.
Don’t lose the person you’ve loved and lived with for more than 30 years. You’ll be truly alone for the first time in your life.
Don’t get old.