But I Look So Good

How many of you have that moment you realize that something significant about you has changed?  I’ve been experiencing that moment over and over lately and am not quite sure how to make it stop or even what is the cause.

I’ve always had a mental image of myself as a twenty-something –  still young and not at all concerned with getting older.  I’m still not worried about the getting older part, because my view has always been that if I am lucky to keep living, aging is inevitable.  What hits me lately is the rest of the world is beginning to recognize me as either elderly or infirm -neither of which do I normally feel or identify with.

The young people where I work are usually oblivious to the next person to walk through that door they just opened, but in the past year they have been stopping and holding the doors open for me.  In the past few months there have even been these young’uns coming back to the door that has already closed, just to open it for me.  I would like to attribute it to their parents and raising polite children with great manners, but on further observation I don’t see them holding the door for their peers or other elders.

This phenomenon also happens in public spots – people are holding doors and stepping aside to let me pass. At the grocery, or in the mall or other spots where people gather, I am the one others not only hold the door for but also insist I get in front of them in the line. They are also prone to give me their shopping cart and yielding to me as I walk through the parking lot so I no longer have to play Frogger, dodging for my safety across the lines of moving traffic to get inside.

I would love to blame these unexpected acts of kindness on my husband who is six years older than me, and has had silver hued hair since his early thirties.  My hair color has remained unchanged, largely thanks to the wonders of home chemistry and self-applied coloring, so my grays are not giving away my age and making me look decrepit.  This also happens to me when he is not along, so alas, he is not the catalyst.

These days I do walk a bit slower, but I am definitely not shuffling to get from point A to point B.  My stride could be better but I don’t walk with the lurching action of Quasimodo, at least not on my good days.  My cane is almost always resting safely in my car and is rarely used unless I am traveling in places with long stretches of walking, such as the airport or an outdoor venue.  I almost always greet others with a pleasant demeanor and not a grimace, which might convey I am in distress.

So I want to ask – is there some type of signal that those of us with Multiple Sclerosis put off that indicates our infirmities and weaknesses and draws this attention? If I were a creature in the wild, would I put off signs to the vultures that they should begin circling?  Or do I just happen to regularly encounter strangers who like to practice random acts of kindness?  Maybe it’s just because I live in the Midwest, in a state who has the slogan ‘the heart of it all.’

Even though I shudder when others say it to me, I am usually of the mind that I must look so good until I get these subtle reminders otherwise from strangers with good intentions.

Wishing you well,

Laura

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Comments

View Comments (8)
  • Pam
    5 years ago

    I, too, have met a lot of “nice ” people. holding doors,asking me if I’m ok,that kind of stuff. not too long ago they would push infront of me.. so I do like this better. and I’m 60 also. with the help of miss clariol, my hair dosent show the gray creeping in. I don’t use a cane or a helper but I know my walk has definitely changed! depending on how tired I am it can be a limp or leg drag. maybe that’s what gives me away:)

  • -lois-
    5 years ago

    Sigh…I JUST turned 50…and no matter how great I LOOK…the pesky walker kind of detracts. It does open doors for me…literally. People go out of their way to help me. Had a walker for a little over a year now and I am one constant “Thank You.” kind of person! Thank You for opening the door, Thank You for moving that stuff so I can get through, Thank You for stepping aside. I used to think it would bother me – but it doesn’t. Thank goodness!

  • Tommy Johns
    5 years ago

    Laura and Sonya,
    I’m bettin’ it’s because you all are hot! Let’s face it 60 ain’t old now like it was back in the 60’s and 70’s when we were growing up. Even though I ride a jazzy now instead of walking I’m sure everyone thinks I’m 40 not 60. So just enjoy it, you still got it going on baby!! ;-D

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    5 years ago

    I’m so happy you got the playful tone of this blog – thanks for the compliments. ~Laura

  • Kim Dolce moderator
    5 years ago

    Laura,

    I can’t get past your likening people who do you a good turn with vultures circling in the sky above dying prey, LOL! That’s freaking hilarious!

    Kim

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    5 years ago

    Kim, It’s always good to provide a comparison so the reader can visualize a concept, right? So glad I picked the right one to make you laugh. ~Laura

  • Sonya
    5 years ago

    Laura,
    As I read this article, a smile began to creep across my face. I too have noticed this, to some degree, in the last few months. I, as you, thought it must be because I am from & live in the south; we all know how hospitable southerners are 🙂
    Then I began to notice this even when we were out of town.

    This summer, I celebrated one of those “milestone” birthdays, I turned 60. I don’t think of myself as 60…gosh that’s getting on up there, then again I do have a 40 year old son! Can it be that other people are beginning to look at me as “getting older”? I don’t color my hair, so there is plenty of gray. Maybe it’s the limp I walk with at times, or it could be that they have seen the handicap sticker in my car.
    Do I look my age? Oh my gosh….do I look older?

    I think I’ll go with this….it has to be that there are kind people everywhere & we just happen to be the ones fortunate enough to encounter them in many different places.

    Another wonderful article.
    Best wishes to you my friend ~
    Sonya

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    5 years ago

    Sonya, I just turned 59 this month and continue to be happy to age -the alternative is not a good choice right now. I like your ‘kind people’ theory – it sure beats the ones I proposed. And yes, it’s good to know you got it and it brought you a smile for the day. best, Laura

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