All the Feels Now That the CDC Classifies Me as That Dreaded Word: “Elderly”

Warning: Gallows Humor

At first, the CDC’s pandemic mitigation advice to become a socially distant (i.e. reclusive) oldster applied to people 70 and above. While I recently turned 70, I was able to kid myself into thinking that because I’m healthy and fit and at the very low end of the recommendation, it didn’t really apply to me. Not the social distancing, the word elderly. But then the recommendation was amended to apply to people 60 and above. And this morning, the news suggests that 50 might be the new 60.

There is no longer any denying it; I am, for all intents and purposes, now officially a CRONE.

I wasn’t overly anxious about cancelling my activities. I have a husband with metastatic lung cancer, after all. I started socially distancing before it was fashionable. But now I feel a bit depressed about the fact that I need to do it for my own benefit as well. That means I am officially vulnerable, and even likely to be denied care if ventilators get apportioned according to the ethics of distributive justice (as they reportedly are now in Italy). Save those with the greatest number of potential years to live, the highest chance of survival, not “the elderly” the guidance says!

What about my potential! My plans for the future! I guess I better get busy finishing up my memoir, polishing an essay I want to send out, working on the dreaded “author platform,” filing the stack of paperwork sitting on my desk, not to mention my taxes and my census information.  If I don’t catch COVID-19 I guess I have about seven or eight weeks of #WFH to accomplish these tasks.

I don’t mind that I have ordered more from Amazon and Chewy’s in the last week than in the last six months. I’m lucky to have the resources to do so. I don’t mind that I am revisiting my earlier hurricane/blizzard/camping/sailing days baking bread, freezing entrees, portioning supplies. I like to cook. I don’t mind that I can’t go to the gym or the yoga studio; I have equipment at home and the discipline to use it. I don’t mind that my hands are as dry and wrinkled as corn flakes from washing them so often. (Well I kind of do…).

But feeling socially expendable is a bitter pill to swallow. It caused me to visit the wine shop this morning to stock up, to keep my spirits elevated, and who knows, maybe my mouth disinfected.

Just in case I do get sick, I’m making a list of all of my passwords so my daughter can figure out what to do with my life when she finds my cold, wrinkled, corpse. I should have done this before, anyway. Maybe this “new normal” will kick my butt into a higher gear on a number of things I’ve been procrastinating about. Silver lining anyone?

Moral of the story – we only ever have today, not tomorrow, and certainly not yesterday. Take advantage of it, laugh at yourself a bit, be grateful and Keep Calm and Carry On.

11 thoughts on “All the Feels Now That the CDC Classifies Me as That Dreaded Word: “Elderly””

  1. I am not yet 70 though I am living with my friends in this care center of a senior retirement facility where I am the youngest one among one who is 102, one 100 next week and many of the rest are in their late eighties and nineties. My body is older than that which is why I am here. So I am delighted be your crony. (that word is still used to mean friends, right?)


  2. I’m delicately close to 60 but I still have two kids at home. Maybe they’ll take that into account and give me a ventilator. My son was asking me if the liquor store is cleared out like the toilet paper aisle. I couldn’t answer because I’m now dry. But if I was still drinking, I’d have boxes of wine stacked up in the cupboard.


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