Ostomy Memories of Being Old


WHEN DID I FIRST REALIZE that I was getting old?  This puzzling thought popped into my head on my way home from my recent encounter with the gal who didn't know what a southpaw was.  Age, after all, is more complicated than just a chronological number.  Some people age faster than others.  Perhaps an early indicator for me was when I realized that the frequency of my being called "Sir" was increasing substantially.  That threw me for a loop.  Another clue was when I noticed with disgust an increase of men with earrings.  I still haven't gotten use to that.  Then, to complete the apparent onset of an androgynous era, I began to have occasional difficulty distinguishing gender.  "Was that a boy or a girl?" I asked sotto voce of my wife, her only answer being one raised eyebrow, my signal to shut the hell up.  Times change, and you do your best to adapt.  When you can no longer keep up, you're old.


A sure sign of impending old age is when interest in the opposite sex is lost. An elderly gentleman who suffered from cardiovascular problems asked his cardiologist if he could resume sexual activity with a willing partner. The doctor replied: "You know that can be serious, one can die." His answer: "Well, if she dies, she dies."

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Hello HenryM.

As with most things in life, the concept of ageing is surely different for different people.

All the males in our family died before they reached 60 years so this was our unwritten life-expectancy. I presumed that after three-score-years I must be ‘old, in comparison to my ancestors.

Apart from that obvious indicator, I have noticed that I am appreciating the ‘grumpy old men’ syndrome so I tried to capture this in verse (below).

Another indicator is that I am less likely to travel across the world to avoid the winter, this is also captured in verse (below).

One of the surest signs of old age must be the perception of younger people towards us oldies.

I was working at the local youth centre with some ‘difficult’ youngsters when one of them addressed me derogatorily  as  ‘granddad’. This, from my perspective would be an indication of ‘bullying’. Of course, I love it when someone tries to be horrid to someone like me, as it gives me the opportunity to respond in ways that others perhaps are not able to do so in the spur of the moment.:

My retort was to smile broadly and thank him profusely for recognising my status a grandfather, as this was a role that I was proud to occupy, especially as, when my grandchildren addressed me as ’granddad’, they did so with genuine love and affection, a trait that I appreciate from whatever source it comes. Thus, I finished the conversation by thanking him again in front of all his on-looking friends.

The young man actually blushed and, as he walked away, could be heard to say ‘You’re welcome!’

Sometimes, being old has its advantages in terms of experience and aptitude for dealing with potentially adverse situations.

Best wishes





I’ve always been a grumpy sod
Right from the very start.
To those who know, it won’t seem odd.
I’ve made it quite an art.


It used to be the major stuff 
like politics and war.
Now I’m old, they’re not enough
I’m needing so much more.


I enjoy TV’s ‘grumpy’ shows.
And agree with all they say
I’ll opinionate on all life’s woes.
It’s what I do all day.


I search for anything that’s wrong
Or seems that way to me.
My grumpiness has grown so strong
Wrong’s all I ever see.


Awaking to the dawn chorus.
From every little bird.
There’s no way they sing for us.
The cacophony’s absurd.


From that time I must get up
And join a mad-brained world.
Where mostly I feel so fed up
With all the wrongs unfurled.


I see wrongs here, I see them there.
Invading personal space.
Everything’s wrong, everywhere.
In each and every place.


So now I’m old I am resigned
To keep my grumpy way.
I’ve always been that way inclined
So that’s the way I’ll stay.


                                       B. Withers 2011

(In: My Coulourful Rag-Tag-Bag 2012)




In younger years I was a one 
to fly far south to catch the sun
and thus, avoid the winter’s chill
which otherwise might make me ill.


When autumn dawned, I would believe
it was the time to take my leave,
would wend my way to warmer climes
partaking in summer pastimes. 


The great outdoors was good to me
where I would wander and feel free,
both lifted by what nature gives
and gifted by how nature lives.


Watching nature’s procreation 
in spring and summer’s recreation
I would ponder summer’s breezes 
knowing that at home it freezes.


That very pretty snow and ice
for me was never very nice.
It made me more morose inside 
and made me want to run and hide.


Now I am frail and growing old
I can’t hightail the growing cold
as winter rears its ugly head
and each year makes me nearer dead.


I am now old and cannot fly
I cannot wave the cold goodbye
I cannot lay on sun-baked shores
for winter makes me stay indoors.


On my hot cocoa I will sup
and turn my central heating up,
then close my eyes and drift away 
back to my summer hideaway.


                                                                B. Withers 2017

            (In: B. ‘Withers in Winter’  2018)


You're only old if you want to be old.

Reply to AlexT

Well, at some point it's psyche, meet reality.  But good luck to you.

Words of Encouragement from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister
Reply to HenryM


Reply to Bill

I love both of these, Bill. I can relate to the subject of being less likely to travel long distances to avoid the cold weather. The irony for me is that my reluctance to travel to tropical destinations to avoid the cold is happening at the same time as my aging body is becoming more and more sensitive to the cold!


Reply to TerryLT

Hello delgrl525.

Oh! how I know that irony.

Best wishes


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