What do I feel like? Am I standing barefoot facing a bed of smoldering coal? What would it feel like to walk across? Looking at the long thorns sticking out of the ground where I was expected to walk — once again on my bare feet — I wonder how do I not cut my foot on those monstrous things? Why am I thinking all these dreadful thoughts? In a very short while I will turn 79. A year to go before 80, intimidated by wrinkles, teeth falling, eyesight failing, everything going down the drain. You expect me to laugh over that?
The last time I remember being this scared I was turning 50. Turning 50 for most women is a nightmare. You’re leaving 40 and the vestiges of youth behind. But it wasn’t bad at all. I turned 50 and turned into Duke Ellington’s song Sophisticated Lady: “Smoking, drinking, never thinking ‘bout tomorrow, nonchalant…” Those are the words of that song that I felt referred to me.
When you’re looking at the line that divides you from now to 80, you realize maybe you better start thinking about tomorrow. What is the tomorrow I am facing? For one thing, the huge typhoon is over. But it’s only the end of July and there will be many tomorrows with more typhoons. I know I have to keep making rosaries because I have so many orders. I will still sell StemEnhance Ultra because I have regular customers who love it as much as I do. I hope I will still keep writing this column because quite a few old people read me. So what will change?
My husband is not well so I still will deal with caregivers. Maybe death will knock on our door but who is being called? Him or me? Only God knows. The best thing to do is trust Him since God won’t change His mind. We always say Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. That clearly means surrender. My husband and I have surrendered, except we don’t know when that will happen, so why worry about it?
What is there to look forward to when one is in her 80s? Maybe we will extend something that turned on many of us in our 70s. Like the teenagers we once were, we now have crushes on Netflix movie stars.
I have a friend who’s a few years younger than me but unmistakably in her 70s. She is madly in love with Keanu Reeves. Oh, how handsome he is! How tall, how kind, how gentlemanly! She will die for him. She watches all his movies over and over again, reads everything she can find on him, raves about him every time we get together. We find her so funny. She finds herself hilarious, too. We all laugh together even as we recognize her crush as genuine.
Another friend is in love with Don Johnson, who is now 74. She swears she didn’t like him when he was younger. But now at 74, she thinks he is the sexiest man she sees in her dreams. She knows she can never see him in person. The other day she invited her good friends to lunch where she announced with much distress that Don Johnson had had a stroke, had already said goodbye to his wife and children but not to her. She was distraught. We didn’t know how to console her through our giggles and laughter, which she joined, even as she knew we were looking at her eyes trying to find an effort to hold back tears.
And me? Do I have a crush? Of course but I don’t see enough of him. I saw him first in the K-drama Black Knight, The Man Who Guards Me. His name is Kim Rae-Won. He’s the handsomest Asian I have ever seen. Tall, handsome, well-dressed. He loved his leading lady when they were young and loved her all the rest of his life and beyond. Then I saw him again in another series that had something to do with doctors. I would watch him until late at night, until I fell asleep hoping I would dream of him but I never did.
I don’t know what I would do if I ran into him face to face. After all, he looks young, at most in his middle to late 30s. Omigod, he’s the age of my eldest grandson. I am grateful he is in Korea and I will never meet him but I am pleased that I have a crush on him. He makes me sigh when I watch him. Sighing longingly for a handsome man is the best thing you can get when you’re facing 79. I think I’ll carry that habit over to my 80s.
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