Old People Have No Bums

And other things I’ve learned about aging

There’s One in Every Room – acrylic collage by Cheryl O Art

I have some issues with getting old. Granted, it doesn’t seem to matter whether I have issues. It just keeps happening.

One gem I’ve picked up; and this is one size fits all.

Exercise. The brain loves it. It can stave off dementia. Holy smokes people! Isn’t that enough right there to get you walking more? I like my brain, most of the time, as it is. Thank you very much.

Exercise. The body loves it. It can postpone those aches. Keep things in motion longer. Some folks like to be reclusive, but heck, you don’t want that to be your only choice. Hmm… dark image there.

Exercise. The energy loves it. It’s like free caffeine; that is after you get over the initial tiring effects and persevere to the energy effect. For me, that was about 6 weeks. Now I’m there and enjoying more energy and longer days, I do not want to have to do those 6 weeks again, so I am keeping at it.

Exercise. The spirit — oh dang — the spirit has trouble getting excited about exercise. But for now, my spirit must live with this brain and this body, so I will diligently flail about to my exercise DVD. I don’t pay for a gym membership. I don’t have to drive anywhere to do this, so the weather doesn’t matter. It works for me.

Science has yet to figure out the full body transplant (have at that one, you sci-fi writers), so we are stuck with it, exercise. Just do it.

Peaches in a Blue Bowl – acrylic painting by Cheryl O Art

Food is another undeniable necessity.

I like food, but I would rather be painting or writing.

Enter frozen entrees. Some are tasty. You can figure out which ones you like. Is this healthy? Not really.

So, I say to myself, add something green to that. Salads are not tricky. Throw some cherry tomatoes and little carrots at a batch of pre-washed spinach, find a couple of salad dressings I like, and my meal just got a lot healthier. Or rinse some fresh green beans and microwave them for 4 minutes. I can do that and still have lots of painting/writing time.

Meanwhile, don’t follow me for more recipes. There are food and exercise gurus out there who can give you lots of wisdom about these topics.

You can get off your no bum and figure this out. (Talking to myself here too.) You will love yourself more for it.

Your friends and family will also love you for it.


Friends and family. Oh, golly they are disappearing like sugar into hot oatmeal. What to do? Cry — then treasure those that remain.

My Mom always said, ‘No memorial places to visit for me. When I’m gone, get on with your life.’ No disrespect meant for those who value the memorials, but maybe Mom knew what would work best for me. It does.

With multiple departures from the planet, until it’s your turn, find ways to have new connections too. The bright and somewhat more energetic you needs places to shine, even if it’s simply at the local coffee shop with friends. That’s a favourite of mine. Meet in person. Don’t have to tidy my place.

I also have many much-cherished friendships through online and in-person art classes that I teach. Art connections tend to be very positive — it’s the creative spirit — and activities around art are frequently a source of joy. If you can’t afford courses, sometimes local libraries have open groups. Or you could start one there.

There are numerous ways to connect these days. I have friends who I connect with through emails. My best friend is on the other side of the country; we do weekly phone calls. I happily anticipate those calls.

Not sure if someone you like wants to connect more? You could ask them — would you like a phone call on Mondays to keep in touch?

I did not expect this next thing.

Some things surprised me about aging.

You expect the aches since everyone talks about those. I did not expect the attitude changes so much.

Some of my family enjoy games — board games. Myself, I like some games and not others. However, I have always been a bit slow to pick up a long list of new rules, but once I get the rules down, watch out.

Here’s the thing. While teaching me a new game, a grandchild said, “I don’t think we should add the rest of the rules. Sometimes getting older makes it harder to learn new things.”

I thought to myself, objecting is futile. It seemed pointless to say, ‘I have always been this way about learning new games.’ It felt too much like saying, ‘I’m not going senile — I have always been senile.’ So, I smiled and accepted that there were fewer rules to learn.

Even the way being older sometimes triggers ‘special’ treatment has been interesting to experience.

Strangers are quicker to open doors for me. Grocery store staff offer to carry things for me, and even if I don’t accept, the offer seems nice.

I suppose it depends on my attitude. Do I feel like they consider me incapable, or do I feel like they are showing respect? That’s mine to decide. I choose to err on the side of respect, it’s a happier place to be.

For example, I don’t have a problem picking something up off the floor. Hooray exercise. But when I dropped something, and my son dashed to pick it up for me, I accepted it as an act of love.

Here we are.

Until the full-body transplant is a thing, here we are. Exercise. Eat well. Connect with friends. Adopt grace and love toward attitude changes. Life is good.

Body parts tend to be much overrated. Wishing you the very best life, with or without the bum.

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Cheryl O Art writes on Medium