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Read my piece about growing old

Opinion: Age is coming for me

Deborah DiSesa Hirsch Nov. 17, 2023 Comments

Illustration on aging

Nancy Ohanian / MCT

A lot of talk about age these days. Is Joe Biden (or the roly-poly one) too old to be president? Biden rides a bike every day and is lean and dapper, while the other one is chauffeured around in his golf cart and we won’t talk about his weight.

But are they each too old? Age never mattered much to me. But it’s coming for me.

I turn 70 next year and though I look younger (I had a fireman in his 40s ask me out), thanks to hitting the gym every day (and hair dye), the truth is, most of my life is behind me. NOVEMBER SALE: Get 6 Months of Access for 99¢! ACT NOW I’m trying not to feel terrified about this but to be grateful I’ve been here this long. No one knows when it’s their last day. Cancer taught me I’m going to die. Of course, everyone does. But cancer presses your face up against it. I’ve had a good life, a long marriage and a great kid. But I hate seeing the end of the ruler (thanks, Dr. Phil) showing up when it gets to my age. My husband will turn 74. I still see him as the tall, slim man with the bushy hair when we met a hundred years ago (OK, 40), and even though it’s gray now, that old spark is mostly still there. More News

Sometimes I think I’m going to be so mad at myself when he’s gone and I’ve yelled at him for not putting his dishes in the sink. He’s had cancer, too. This is the age when people you love die. Both my parents are gone (though my dad made it to 94) and some high school acquaintances, too. I have friends who read the obituaries just to make sure their name’s not in it. But it’s definitely catching up with me. I forget where I put my keys and find them in my hand. Or where I put my glasses. On the washing machine. And when my son was little, he had to remind me what I went in the kitchen for. “Orange juice, Mom, remember?” I even now have to hold on to the railings on the stairs down to Stop & Shop in Ridgeway (though that’s mostly because of an old knee injury). I tell myself it’s because I’m always thinking three steps ahead of where I really am. But I have a sinking feeling old age is coming for me. But it’s not all bad. I’ve accomplished a lot in my life — written a book, won awards for my writing and had my longed-for son. But like most of us, I want more. I guess it’s a sign you’re getting old when you remember your child’s early days, those days he was so annoying, with fondness. I remember, with a bit of heartache, him holding my hand when we were walking in the woods at a park and when he didn’t mind me kissing him in front of his friends. Now I’m lucky if I can touch his arm when I’m trying to get his attention. So, what is it about aging that scares us? Maybe, that everything is changing. I used to never go a day without exercising. And now, I’m tired so maybe I’ll skip it today. What’s different? The guilt. Waking deep in pain, from a recent surgery, I thought, “but I’m alive.” Maybe, in the end, that’s what we have to remember. Stamford resident Deborah DiSesa Hirsch is the author of “Counterfeit Mother,” a memoir (

Written By Deborah DiSesa Hirsch



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