Lee, 83 yrs

May 9th 2022

“To me, growing old means many things. You don’t realize how much things are changing until your health starts to deteriorate and then aging becomes difficult. I live alone and I got two titanium hips, which I suppose are better than the actual bone but difficult regardless. I have a limp and my sacroiliac joints are out of whack and my back is always sore. Aging is a total awareness of all your body flaws.

The first time I felt “old” was when somebody called me ma’am when I was in my 40s. The word meant to me that I left the younger generation and became an older person. As I grow older, I feel even more dismissed by society, like no one wants to hear my thoughts and opinions, not that I don’t try to impose them. If other people dismiss you, you can’t dismiss yourself, so you become very self-involved and learn to take care of yourself.

I also feel like I’m not contributing to society any longer since I’m retired. I have contributed all of my life but all of a sudden, I don’t have any earning power. I was the second woman in Edmonton to be a bank manager. I was always more of a career woman, so the proudest thing I’ve accomplished in my life was being able to rise so quickly in the ranks of my job.

I lost my husband when I was 57 years old. He died of a heart attack but he was very healthy, so it was a total surprise. There were a lot of loose ends and things to look after. We had a place in Arizona, and a year after he died, I drove myself there during the winter for the next 17 years. I met this one fella when I was 70. We had a great time, we travelled all around the world, but he died of cancer. I don’t mind being alone, but it can be lonely sometimes. It was very lonely during the pandemic because your outside sources were gone.

I think you should maintain your independence as best as you can. The last thing I want is to be a burden to my children or anyone else. That’s not always possible, but try to maintain a cheerful attitude because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring, so you might as well enjoy today. Look after yourself and make yourself number one. You’ve looked after other people all your life, so it's your turn now."