Pushing 80. That’s me. So now I am feeling the urgency of old age, but I don’t have the time to get old yet. I am still trying to accomplish goals for autism. I am trying to make sure that my son will have a good quality of life after I am gone. I feel great for my age, but how much time do I have left? I just heard about the death of a 40 year old acquaintance, so I realize that death has no age.
What if I don’t live to see the fruits of my labor? What will happen to my son? He is so much better now, but he is still handicapped by autism, and I still don’t have any answers. His father, Pervis Jackson Sr was so sure that we could accomplish something meaningful for people with autism. It was his goal, which is why we formed the Pervis Jackson Autism Foundation. I am pushed by both the Pervises to continue to try to help others, but it would have been easier with my husband’s help. He died so suddenly that I am aware of how fast circumstances can change.
I am so thankful that old age is not what it used to be. We seniors have redefined old age. 70 is now the new 50. I remember when I was old. I was trying to manage the arthritis pain in my knees and shoulders. Various body parts were dropping or drooping. I felt weary and worn. I realized that if you lived long enough, these things were bound to happen. Old age had come to me and I would have to adjust. I thought about who I would give my high-heeled shoes too, who I would get to run errands for me.
I thought about the old people that I knew when I was a child, how they looked, (toothless and bent over), how they smelled (liniment). Now I was one of them. Oh well, this is inevitable if you live long enough. I was old for about two months. Then, I realized that I was not ready to be old.
I thought about Phyllis Diller, the comedian. When they asked her about getting old, her reply was. “I was old, I didn’t like it”. I agreed with Phyllis. I was not going to be old before my time. I thought about one of my heroes, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. He said that the attitude is more important than the fact, that if you can’t change the fact, you can change your attitude about the fact. I had changed my attitude about autism, now I would have to change my attitude about old age.
This is actually the best time in history to be old. They make arthritis medicine that doesn’t smell. They make solutions for dropping or drooping body parts. Us old folks now can buy teeth and hair. They make pretty shoes that don’t have high heels. Medical advancements have made treatments and medications that help keep us young. You are only as old as you feel.
I started back doing yoga for exercise. I started drinking more water and eating more nutritious foods. You know, all the healthy things that we are told to do. I started feeling better. My mind and my Spirit are still young. You have the same Spirit in old age that you have when you are young. That was a close call. I decided not to be old, yet. There are still many things that I want to do. I still want to travel and see more of the world. I still want to speak for my son who can’t speak for himself. I still want to enjoy life.
Until next time I leave you with the words of Psalm 92:14, “They will still bear fruit in old age. They will remain fresh and flourishing.”
May the love of God enfold you. May the Power of God protect you.