What is it like for me to be 881sh?
Now, when people ask me as a greeting: "How're you doing?" I always reply, "Surviving!".
Rereading the Roberts' Essay [Journal January 11], I realized that "surviving" was exactly what he was trying to convey. At the age of 90, he was surviving! He defined his problems as aches and pains, short term memory weaknesses, and a decline in energy which produced a slower pace of activity and accomplishment. His techniques for minimizing such problems included the establishment of standard living programs and routines, regular afternoon naps, and positive mental attitudes.
On the morning of February 9 I walked out to pick up the newspaper. There was bright moonlight, a full moon was beginning to descend toward the West. Suddenly I realized that the experience was an unusual one for me. Rarely now do I see the moon. Rarely do I experience moonlight
But 50, 40, or even 30 years ago I saw the moon, experienced moonlight, regularly and frequently. Popular songs emphasized the silvery moon! Like everyone else I crooned, spooned, sang love's tune! As a newly-wed I honeymooned! I rarely went to bed before 11 PM. During the night hours I was often outside the house attending school or business functions, social parties, or even shopping.
No longer do I participate in any of those activities during night-time hours. Now I am rarely outside our house in the evening after Seven. Usually I have retired by Eight! I almost never see the moon! It was an uncomfortable shock that morning to suddenly become aware that I was experience-ing moonlight! I hastened back inside; I didn't want to get moon-burned!
I regularly skim the obituary pages of the Washington Post. On February 8 there was an account of the death of Anne Lindberg, the widow of Charles Lindberg who, about 1926, was the first person ever to fly alone across the Atlantic ocean. She was 94. She was a woman of accomplishment in her own right; she became an airplane pilot, was awarded the National Geographic Society Gold Medal for distinction in discovery. She was a prolific authoress, publishing 13 books. I certainly recognized her name!
Thirty, or even twenty, years ago I often saw and recognized an obituary recording the death of a professional associate or social acquaintance, or a familiar person of achievement. Now, I rarely do.
Of course as the comedian George Burns once remarked as a nonagenarian: "If you live to be 100 you've got it made. You never see an obituary for a person older than that!"