Have you ever asked someone for an opinion about something you own or some aspect of your appearance or personality, and the response is not quite flattering? Maybe interesting, or unusual, or striking, or unique, but it’s not really a compliment?
Yesterday, someone thought she was paying me a compliment by saying I was agile and spry. Spry! That’s a word you use for an old person who has a bounce in her step or who doesn’t groan with pain each time she moves.
When I hear the word “spry,” I have a picture in my mind of an 80-year-old white-haired little old lady in tennis shoes. I’m sure this woman didn’t mean to insult me, but that word landed on my vanity with a thud. Spry belongs in the same sentence with Granny, another moniker I’m thankful not to have been cursed with. Grandma is bad enough.
If you think I’m not accepting my age, you would be right. I have always had difficulty accepting my blindness, and that’s 1 reason I strive to knock it aside when I’m on my way to accomplishing a task or a goal. Now here I am, nearing the end of my 60s, and denying the consequences.
I refuse to be the stereotypical senior citizen, but actually, today’s stereotype is much different from the picture of an older person that was my youthful perception. These days, grannies are running races, swimming laps, cycling for hours, roller-blading, skiing, and engaging in any number of active pursuits that used to be reserved for the young.
And we’re not spry! I now have a new description of myself that innocent well-meaning people offend me with. I am not “amazing,” and I’m not “spry.”
About the Author
Mary Hiland, a native of Cincinnati, lives in Gahanna, Ohio, with her Seeing Eye® dog, Dora. She is a graduate of the Ohio State University with a B.S. degree in Social Work. She recently retired as Executive Director of The American Council of the Blind of Ohio. Before that, she served for over 21 years as Director of Volunteers for VOICEcorps Reading Service. Ms. Hiland has been published in Chicken Soup for the Parent’s Soul, Redbook magazine, Toastmaster magazine, and The Columbus Dispatch, and is the author of The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living: A Daughter’s Memoir. In 2001, Ms. Hiland carried the Olympic torch, and in 2015, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from her local Toastmasters Club. Ms. Hiland has two adult children and five granddaughters. For more, visit http://www.dldbooks.com/maryhiland/.