The Bank Machine and Me

The farther I get into retirement, the more reluctant I am to go “downtown” to run errands. Yesterday was no exception but the dearth of vegetable choices made a trip imperative. Then I realized I needed to send valentine cards to my grandkids, return library books, and get toothpaste. The minutiae of life and so many things on my mind that I even had a list.

First stop the bank because I had no cash and I’m old-fashioned enough that I find it handy at times. Our bank branch has a new ATM with a touch screen, bright colours, and huge fonts. It should be the easiest thing to use and it is. My mind “buzzing” with ‘all the things I had to do’ and the fact that I was parked a little close to a driveway had me grab my debit card and run. Yes, I got the debit card but left the cash hanging out of the ATM.

I returned my library books, chatted with our librarian, (it is a small town), and signed out a couple of new reads. Then to the drugstore to pick out valentines. It was only when I sat down to address them, I noticed that there was no cash in my purse. Plummeting heart…what a waste of $100.

On the off-chance that an honest person returned the money to the teller and that they might be able to trace which idiot didn’t take it, I returned to the bank.

The ATM is way smarter than me. When I didn’t get my money, it sucked it back to safety. I had to wait for a teller to go and retrieve it from the “box” in the cash machine. I am not the first person and the sympathetic teller said, not likely the last to have walked off and left their money. To say I was relieved is an understatement.

I would like to have someone to blame or to say that ATMs invite mistakes. Having a human to facilitate financial transactions like this would have saved me from making such an error. A human would have called me back immediately if I left money laying on the counter. I would like to but I know it was all me. I had a few errands and in a moment of distraction, it was me who left the money hanging.

Now that I’m Bolder…It isn’t what you think…

Looking in the mirror is always a bit of a shock but then my brain smoothes out the image and I look more as I did at 25. From inside, I am 25, just a bit past my prime. Pictures are worse. Caught at the wrong angle, every wrinkle, line, and age blotch is emphasized. Who is that old woman?

I’m not here yet, but it looks like fun.

I do have wrinkles, a lot of them. These days I like to think they match the wrinkles in my cerebral cortex, where they are an advantage. There the more wrinkles, the more intelligence. I can still fire on all cylinders.

Ageism is an issue and I don’t like to tell people how old I am. My hope is that they’re bad at math and my sparkling wit make me a young person with pre-mature lines. I have no idea if this “ruse” works but reading “Bolder-making the most of our longer lives” has given me hope.

Across Europe and in major corporations (tech among them), the expertise and experience of older people is appreciated. Oldsters are participating in sports, intellectual pursuits, and entrepreneurship. It turns out the aging brain and body is capable of a lot more that they are given credit for. The image of the grannie knitting in the corner and the doddering grampa with bad jokes, is being replaced by an entirely different concept. There are DJs in their 80’s hosting rap dances to audiences where people, 60, 70, and 80 cavort with the younger crowd. People continue to work past the usual retirement age because they want to. Some of them start entirely new endeavors.

All of this is encouraging to someone like me who has passed certain chronological mileposts. I feel more positive about taking part in my voluntary positions and can be more vocal. My ideas are still good. I continue to walk and exercise. Doing my own housework, yard work, and other chores are things to keep me in shape. I have to be thankful for good health.

This is me-warts and all.

Attitudes to the “aged” are changing so that the only options for older people are NOT leaders of the “free world” or dictators of third world regimes. Slowly we are gaining respect and stereotypes are proven wrong.

The bonuses of getting old remain. One of my great joys is my two grandkids who are becoming more interesting as time passes. So far, they are good individuals with their own interests and skills. I have the time to pursue interests without concern about what other people think. The blog? Is it a waste of time? Maybe but I like it. I do some watercolour painting. The pursuit of ladies? Could be but it’s fun and there’s a group of like-minded people who meet in my small town. I’ve always been a reader; with more time I can read more challenging books, if I want. I can write letters to editors, MLAs, MPs. I have to time to make Telus more honest in its dealings with me.

It turns out the golden years are so far, so good. Statistics show older people are happy with their lot unless they have serious health or financial issues. Settling of your place in family and community have a lot to do with it. I can sit and smell the flowers if that’s what I want.

Packin’ ‘er In

The time has come. I’m done with school and there is a segment of the local population saying, “What?? I thought she died.” They belong to the group that was amazed a few years ago to see that I was still ambulatory. I don’t take the decision lightly and these last years, I have done sporadic subbing except for the month in October where I taught science in an on-line/fax/phone method. It isn’t for me, and although I appreciated the experience, living breathing bodies in the same room, is the way I like it.

I’ve been in schools since blackboards morphed to green and were then replaced by smart boards. Skirts or dresses were the order of the day- no pants and men had to show up in suits or sports jackets. Computers? My husband and I ordered a calculator from Sears (now defunct) and argued about whose turn it was to use it. No LCD and no floating decimal. And it cost us an exorbitant $69.99.

The time has come. To tell the truth, I’ve got so many other things to occupy me, that I haven’t missed teaching. Other perks are sleeping later, having the weekend extend all week, and sitting around in my housecoat, if that’s what I feel like. If a friend calls (please, do), I don’t worry about work interfering with a coffee date.

I think I like it. Sweet.