Crow’s Feet
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Crow’s Feet

What’s Around the Corner?

I’m only 67 and wonder if I’ll feel this good in 10 years.

Photo by Вениамин Курочкин (Benjamin Kirochkin) on Pexels.com

Walking briskly through my neighborhood, swimming in a freshwater lake, clambering up and down rocky hillsides where I now exercise more caution than I did 10 years ago. These are all activities I enjoy as often as possible these summer days.

At 67, I have a reasonable amount of energy, even though it’s more apparent at 6 o’clock in the morning than at 9 o’clock at night. I keep my mind busy, either editing or promoting the work of other Crow’s Feet writers, and to the best of my knowledge, I haven’t messed up too badly yet.

I read novels and news articles, though my memory is not what it used to be, so I have to try harder to remember what I’ve read. I think or talk about what I’m reading so the details will sink in. I’ve developed a new technique to help me sleep if I wake up restless during the night: I re-tell myself the plot of a novel I’m reading, with as many details as I can conjure up. It has the same effect as reading before bedtime: it puts me to sleep!

Today, I read thoughts about aging well from two well-known octogenarians: Dr. Anthony Fauci and NY Times personal health reporter Jane Brody. Ms. Brody writes that she gave up ice skating at age 80 but still manages 10-mile rides on her bike. Dr. Fauci is a former marathon runner who, at 81, still power walks several miles a day. He now says he will retire by the time he is 85 years old, but until then he will continue to shape policy as head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

It will be another 13 years before I reach 80, and I wonder how I will feel then.

I plan to keep moving my joints — walking and gardening — and maintain a workout routine. But maintaining my mental acuity worries me more than the physical side. I’ve seen too many of my elders who can’t remember the time or the date.

I’ve been doing some brain exercises that are being used in a study to ward off dementia, but just like the researchers, I don’t know if they really will work. I don’t want to obsess about it, but if I can do something to keep my brain functioning well, I would give it a try.

If I continue to lose memory function, if I can’t roll off the names of every actor I see and the films that he or she appeared in, it won’t be the end of the world. Perhaps by then I will have some grandchildren (no pressure, kids), and giggling with them or playing hide-and-seek in the cornfield will be all that I need.

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Nancy Peckenham

Nancy Peckenham

Journalist, editor, mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, adventurer, history-lover. Editor of Crow’s Feet