Letter to My Senior Self

Until midlife, my exposure to seniors was limited to my grandparents and occasionally grandparents of friends of mine.  Seniors were people who bought candy for their grandchildren and made them waffles on an ancient waffle iron.  I never really considered their circumstances, health, lifestyle, etc. until I entered my thirties and had the context to better understand these things.

Seniors are great, of course, and I know more now than I ever did — or at least I know them better.  But, sometimes I hear about some strange logic, unshakable habits or inflexibility that has created some sort of impass in a senior’s life, and I think about how they might have made different decisions at a different life stage.

People love that old expression — “Hindsight is 20/20.”  But what about foresight?  I mean no disrespect, but I think that some seniors could benefit from advice given to them by their midlife self.

So, I’ve come up with this idea — my letter to my senior self.  Although some of what will be included are mistakes that I’ve witnessed seniors making, several things are pieces of advice that people have learned through their own experiences as seniors.  I haven’t put it to paper yet, but it will look something like this…

Dear Senior Self,

If you have the same doctor you did when you were 40, it’s time to consider a new doctor.  Chances are, any doctor you had at age 40 is approaching the senior stage of life themselves.  Experience is great, as long as your doctor keeps an open mind about new practices and developments.  Remember, you’ve witnessed too many “seasoned” professionals who miss things because they were over-confident with their past experiences.

If you are taking medications and spending time away from home, bring more medication than the exact amount for the days you planned to be gone.  Perhaps it is an excuse, but you’ve heard people say too many times, “Oh, I can’t stay.  I only brought the exact amount of medication.”

Let people take care of you.  Independence is great, but you aren’t keeping any of it by refusing help.  You might get more mileage out of it if you do accept assistance.  Keep in mind all the times you had a 102 degree fever with two children under three at home and you had to decide between bundling everyone up to get to the pharmacy for Thera-Flu or waiting eight hours until your husband came home because no one else was there to help.

If you can’t come for at least a week and help with your newborn grandchildren, hire a post-partum doula for them.  You know that they will forever worship you. (I will likely be a senior when my kids have children.)

Yes, you need a cleaning service.

Love & Best Wishes,

Midlife Self