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I am in a strange mood today, feeling my age and trying not to. It's so hard when you've been as active as I've been to find yourself unable to participate in life, as you've known it.

I have finally recognized that although five years ago I could work full time in a very demanding job, come home, cook dinner and manage on one day each week to keep my home spotless without any outside help I can't do it anymore.

I am now no longer employed, yet I could never do all I did five years ago. I now need to break up all my chores by the day of the week. It took me a while to accept the fact that it was okay if I vacume on Monday, washed the floors in the kitchen and bathrooms on Tuesday, did laundry on Wednesday, took my shopping cart to the super market on Thursday, etc. etc. etc. It was okay. I was doing pretty good for an 80-year-old woman. I actually convinced myself that I was pretty darn amazing.

Well now I'm 85 and it's getting harder. The two falls I took in the last couple of years did more to me than I realized. True I broke my wrist and it was my left hand, and of course I'm left handed. Almost as soon as I healed I took a terrible fall, and although I didn't break anything I did get two black eyes, a leg that from the thigh to the toe was badly damaged and a knee that still acts up. BUT I kept telling myself how lucky I was that this thin woman who looks like you could break her in half, didn't break another bone. Wow! I guess I have to walk more carefully.

Right now I don't know whether it's because I'm getting close to another birthday that has made me think about my mortality so much, but I find myself feeling physically as though my body is saying enough, and I don't want it to be enough. I've never been afraid of aging. I never thought about it too much. I was healthy, happy, vibrant, so why would I let a number dictate how I felt. Why now! I want to see my grandaughter graduate from college next year, and I want to see my twin grandchildren in a few more years get into the colleges of their dreams, and I want, I want, I want. What do I really want? I want to walk out of the house without worrying about taking another fall. I want to stop worrying that the weather is so bad I had better stay in. I want my daughters to be happy, to have their unrealized dreams come true. I want them all to stay healthy. I want to stop worrying about those I love. I want to have a conversation with a lost love. I want, I want. I don't want to be frightened. I've tried so hard for so many years to be "strong." I never wanted anyone to be responsible for me, but me. It took me so long to find my strength and it brought me a happiness I never believed possible. I don't want to lose it and it's become a tough fight.

And yet despite all of the above I know how lucky I am. I can still walk out the door on a nice day without a cane, a wheel chair or a walker. I can still see friends for lunch or dinner. I can sleep late, and that's the best part of retiring, honestly. I was never a morning person, and not having to get up at 5:30 a.m. has been a blessing. And I know that one must try to Just Live each day and make it worthwhile, big or small. It's all we can really do. So I'll keep fighting and this morbidity shall pass because it's just another birthday coming up and I shall celebrate it and all I have.

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