That Difficult Age Has Come and Lit

When I was a teen my folks had a sign hanging on the wall in our cafe, with a picture of a weary-looking hillbilly sitting down and these words underneath:
“Those difficult days have come and lit
Too tired to work, too poor to quit.”

There are days when I understand that feeling well!

I don’t lack for things to do, but sometimes I feeling an inexplicable mental exhaustion that wants to drag me into the dumps. The other day a friend phoned and spoke of her recent trips; I got tired just listening to all the visiting she’d done. We received another couple’s letter and I was exhausted from the list of all their doings — and they’re ten years older than we are!

Do you ever feel like someone pulled the plug on “Interested in Life”? What causes this feeling? Advanced age? Diet? Thyroid imbalance? Some life-threatening condition? Or just sitting?

(I had to smile the other day as I read a line in Don Gillmor’s family history, The Desire of Every Living Thing: A Search for Home.  He says of his great-grandmother: “In middle age she believed she was dying and held to that belief until her death at ninety-two.” Don’t want to go there!)

I’m so thankful I don’t feel this way all the time, but I’d love to shake this completely; I may not run marathons but there’s a lot I can and should be doing. It grieves me to see some elderly folks consigning themselves to an early coffin: they don’t feel like doing much; it hurts to move; they flop in a recliner and there they stay. This is a great way to freeze solid and die sooner.

My Mom-in-law often spoke of her sister: when Aunt Mary got arthritis and it hurt to move, she just sat down and wouldn’t do anything. Of course over time she stiffened totally. Or ALMOST. She never gave up smoking, so, though she lay in a hospital bed for years unable to move any other part of her, the two fingers on her right hand remained flexible.

Mom took the lesson to heart and kept right on moving and working, though she swallowed handfuls of aspirin to cope with the pain. She knitted, crocheted, and did crosswords to keep her mind limber.

In the end she beat her arthritis and it didn’t pain her any more; her finger joints were deformed but she could still use them. She was still walking (albeit with a walker) at age 90.  Which was triply amazing considering she was born with no proper hip joints and, according to doctors, never should have walked. When Mom was almost 99 she was in a wheel chair but could still move most of her limbs.

Now it’s my turn to apply the lesson and get moving. Hopefully some of those “feel good endorphins” that Renee ( writes about will rise up and blossom within me, too, now that it’s finally spring and I can get out for walks. ☺


3 thoughts on “That Difficult Age Has Come and Lit

  1. HI Christine, I saved this post in my emails as I really wanted to read it….love your writings. This one captured my interest, and when I saw my name mentioned at the bottom, it made me ‘smile big’. Thanks my friend. Oh, I was amazed at your Mom and yes, we must keep moving our bodies as we age, especially with any arthritis, just to keep us limber and can not forget ‘those feel good endorphins’. Have a fantastic weekend and hopefully you can get outside for a long walk. Enjoy. hugs, Renee 🙂


    • In so many ways Mom was amazing. The sixth of fourteen children she was never sheltered, disdained, or pampered for being handicapped. She says she never walked without pain, but prided herself in being “too stubborn to sit and watch while the others were running around playing.”
      Only 4’8″ at her tallest, she talked of being “four-square” before she had Bob, a 9lb baby (by caesarean). And she tackled a homemaker’s normal share of work, spring cleaning, baking bread, canning.


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