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What does “old” feel like?

Many people mistakenly believe that an old person’s skin feels like dry leather. It could, depending on the type of work they’ve done. Mostly, though, aging skin feels like it looks – fragile. It’s also softer than you might expect.

The way an older person holds your hand varies as much as how people shake hands when greeting. Sometimes it’s a firm grip or just a tentative grasp.

This is a recent photo of my father’s hands. He’ll be 91 years old in mid-July this year. He doesn’t have arthritis. He has exercised almost daily since he retired 30+ years ago and has been fairly conscientious when it comes to eating a healthy diet. He’s a source of inspiration for aging well. His body is physically strong, but he seems to be moving more slowly and sleeping longer hours with each passing day.

It’s not easy watching someone you’ve known your entire life begin to vanish. I find myself filled with conflicting emotions simultaneously and remind myself not to feel guilty about any of these feelings. Life is filled with unending cycles we’re all familiar with, at least intellectually. It’s only when you’re confronted with reality head-on that you learn where your strengths and vulnerabilities reside. It makes me take a good look at my own hands.

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2017 © Norma-Jean Strickland