There is an old proverb that says, “With age comes wisdom.” I’m still waiting. Perhaps I’ll wake up one morning having been whacked across the head by a cosmic two-by-four, suddenly knowing the meaning of life and the secrets of the universe. Until that happens, I merrily muddle through life acquiring a bit of knowledge and experience along the way.     

Much of my life experience has been practical and good advice worthy of passing along to succeeding generations. Things like the fact that wine in a box can be rather tasty, and that nothing good ever comes from putting celery in a garbage disposal or buying fish from the clearance bin.
           
Since I have officially graduated from Middle-Ager to Senior Citizen, I have to admit I’m enjoying it. There are certain benefits and quite a lot of freedom that come with getting old.
           
The anxiety of being politically correct and being held hostage to the heritage of my southern manners were very taxing, so I no longer censor myself before I speak. One afternoon while standing on the Metro platform waiting for the Green Line train, I noticed a well-dressed, middle-aged man looking at the Metro map. He turned to me and asked if I knew how he could get to the Senate. I suggested he might start by running for his local school board.
           
The stress of sitting quietly in my seat smiling feebly at my fellow passengers when my flight hits severe turbulence is long gone. I now scream “We’re all going to die!” or something else suitable to the situation.
           
I have also become more realistic about time management. Instead of agonizing over things I need to do, I only list items I have already accomplished.
           
Comfort is one of the most freeing aspects of being elderly. I ultimately accepted the certainty that I was doomed to lose my ongoing battle with gravity. I blissfully surrendered, replacing unflattering and unforgiving spandex with cool cotton skirts and blouses.
           
The desire for long lean calves accentuated by three inch heels is not only impractical but hazardous for us elderly ladies. What I now look for in a shoe is support and good traction. Recently, while enjoying breakfast at a neighborhood diner, I noticed the waitress had cut holes in her white canvas shoes to accommodate her bunions. At first I was somewhat amused but then I thought, “That woman is positively genius.” I took scissors to my own canvas shoe and painstakingly cut a hole exactly the size of the bunion on my right foot liberating it from a dungeon of torture. When I wear socks the same color as my shoes the hole is hardly noticeable.
I am convinced pantyhose were invented by Satan himself as a method of torture more ghastly than the fiery pit of Hades. The decades of torment I endured struggling to get into those excruciating and expensive nylon stockings easily qualified me to be a contortionist with Cirque du Soleil. My enlightened elderly status gave me permission to cast off my last pair of pantyhose, joyfully replacing them with dense knee high stockings beneficial for good circulation.
Since I no longer wear sheer stockings my emancipation from the dreaded razor has been enjoyable.  But confidentially, old ladies rarely shave above the knee anyway, unless we’re expecting company.
 
By D. Sherwood Chamberlain
D. Sherwood Chamberlain is a professional speaker and writer specializing in the history of America’s First Ladies. You can view her website at: http://www.deborahjonessherwood.com

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