Old is the new new

Old is the new new

Old age seemed years and years away when I was young.

Yes, I know that I am stating the obvious, but please bear with me. My maternal grandmother, whom I affectionately called “mama,” would stay at our house quite often, and she would always stay in my room. I would set up the little tray table and on it would go one glass of flat, bottled water, one glass of seltzer water, and a box of tissues. Because she had glaucoma, I was in charge of putting in her eye drops (which is why we needed the box of tissues), and every night, before we went to bed, we shared an apple. We also listened to the fine radio programming of WWOR…is that even still on?

I am pretty sure that most of the folks we listened to have gone to the big radio studio in the sky, but I sure did learn a lot about gardening and how to get along with your landlord from those radio shows. I even have a tape (yes, an actual tape) that I made of an interview I did with my mama. Keep in mind that Howard Stern was on 66 WNBC radio during this time, but we never listened to him. I just pretended to be a DJ on his show (which was nothing like it is now).

In any event, my maternal grandparents both died relatively young, so I didn’t get to experience what grandchildren witness these days — grandparents who are sick or are not aging well. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I am not really sure. I am sure that my mom wishes her parents lived longer, but it breaks my heart to watch my kids watch my parents change from active grandparents who would come visit every Friday with chocolate and take them to shows, to grandparents whom they now have to go visit in their home in order to see them.

Yes, I know I am lucky that I still have them, until 120. There was a whole generation of kids who didn’t even have grandparents at all, there are kids who lost their grandparents when they were too young to appreciate them, but like everything in life, everything is relative. As I always say, “No one has everything, but everyone has something”…

Wait, this week’s column was supposed to be funny. Sorry. Here we go. The other day I was visiting my adorable cousin in the city and we went to see my aunt, who is her grandmother. We were having a very animated discussion about physical therapy. My aunt was telling us that everyone who is anyone goes to physical therapy. It is quite the social scene. People working on their new hips, testing out their new knees; the folks who are recovering from strokes and other neurological ailments…And then, my adorable young cousin said, “It sounds like physical therapy is the new SoulCycle!”

Holy cow. She is right!

When you are young, you go to the gym to socialize, exercise to your fullest potential (unless you are like me and you never do anything to your fullest potential). You wear stylish workout gear. SoulCycle, for those of you who are unaware of what it is, is a place where you go to spin. Spinning, for those unaware, is what you do on a stationary bike. You bike quickly, slowly, stand up, sit down. There is no actual spinning of your physical self involved, just spinning of the wheel. You also are able to purchase SoulCycle apparel.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was apparel for physical therapy? “I had two knee replacements and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.” “I can stand unassisted for five minutes. Wanna see?”

Physical therapy is the new gym, for those older folks who are no longer up for the gym. They may fall in love with their trainers, they may ignore someone who they are no longer friends with…because even though we get older, we still are people. That never changes. We just do things a little slower, we walk a little more carefully so we don’t fall, but who we are, fundamentally, never changes. Actually, and unfortunately, we just get worse.

Which means that in a few years I will be without any editing mechanism…at all.

Wonder if there is a physical therapy exercise for that!

Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is a big fan of spinning. She also is a big fan of eating. She has yet to do both at the same time…

read more: