Julie

By JULIE (ROTH) FREIBURGER

Bellevue Herald-Leader

Come grow old with me. The best is yet to be...

I thought it was Robert Browning who said that, but in my due diligence to impart the truth, another source quoted Robert Frost.  That's as far as my research went because I didn't really care.  If you want to know for sure, you can look it up.  I just know that the "best"  and "yet to be"  better be getting here pretty soon, because the clock's "a-tickin"    

  My column on surviving the winter of 2019 (apparently I jumped the gun a little on that declaration, as this winter certainly is not over yet), provided ensuing head nods from a lot of women who commiserated with me.  

Now, I am sure there were  male counterparts as well, although I heard from nary a one.

  Anyhow, it appears that these guys (old poets) lived a long time ago, when growing "old with me" may have meant only living until the age of 40.  Add another 30 or more years on top of that and you might have a different kettle of fish.

  The only other excuse would be that he (whichever coined the phrase) either  a) worked for Hallmark,  b) watched too many Lifetime movies, c) read way too many Harlequin romance books or d) was a hopeless romantic teenager.

 So, unlike the commercials where you see two old people sitting in side-by-side outdoor bathtubs (never quite understood those) or shuffling hand-in-hand into the sunset, or the pair sitting by the fireside, gazing into each other's eyes, I would like to tell you some of the realities of growing old together:   Most mornings are an exchange of how terrible each one slept the night before. "What do you mean you only slept four hours?  You snored for seven. Therefore, I didn't sleep at all!"

 Then there is the one-up-manship of whose arthritis is worse that day.  "Wow, I ache all over."  "YOU!!! I can hardly stand up straight."

  An attempt at conversation:  Me: "It's windy."   Him: "No, it's Thursday."  Me:  "No, I'm not thirsty."   

  Or me: “You dropped a pill on the floor.”  Him: “Who is at the door?”  Me: “There isn't anyone at the door.”  Him: “Then why did you tell me there was?”

  Me: “Could you turn the TV down?”  Him: “I can't hear you.  The TV is too loud.”  

Next to the remote control, the most sought after item in the home is a heating pad.  It should come with a homing device to discover where the last one who used it, left it. Now that I think of it, these just may be the perfect wedding gifts...His and Hers...the gift that lasts. Forever.

  I have heard it said that with age comes wisdom.  Maybe in some cases.  In my humble research, not necessarily.  Wisdom would tell you that to continue to argue the same issues over and over, expecting different results, is actually insanity.  So why do we continue to bring up past issues every time we have a disagreement?  No one is ever going to say, "Yes. You are right.  Thirty and 40 years ago I left you the sole responsibility of raising, feeding and nurturing our children while I whiled away innumerable hours on the golf course.  Can you ever forgive me?"

  This winter we are in competition to see who can fall the greatest number of times.  As of tonight, I am one fall ahead.  I haven't fallen down so much since I was first pregnant a hundred years ago, and my balance and extra 60 pounds prevented me from walking across the living room without falling down.  I don't know if I have just been lucky outside or if I actually have perfected my technique, as each fall has fortunately just resulted in landing belly up in a snow bank. I was in the middle of "Look out, this is all iiiiiiice ...." as I once again toppled over. Sigh.

  A sure-fire way to know you are old is when you fall outside you look around and hope that someone DID see you fall as images of the old lady lying on the floor in the commercial play through your mind, "I've fallen and I can't get up!"  

  We also tend to finish each other's sentences a lot.  Not because we're in sync, but because often we forget the point we were trying to make.  This, in turn, often leads to another bout of silence, as we have never learned to "fight fair" and get over it.  As Dr. Phil says, "Do you want to be right or happy?"  The answer, of course, is "Right."  

  In summation, as you get older three things begin to happen.  The first is your memory goes. I can't remember the other two.