1. Everyone you know is dead.
All of your friends are dead. Both of your parents are dead. Your brothers, your sisters, basically anybody that you ever held dear is long gone. In fact, at this point you’ve outlived even your own children. And your grandkids have got to be like, what, in their seventies? If by some miracle you still have someone in your life that hasn’t kicked the bucket, it’s only a matter of time before the men from the ambulance service show up unexpectedly to wheel you to another funeral. How many funerals have you been to, five hundred? A thousand?
2. You’re probably going to die soon too.
And every time you manage to catch your reflection on the back of the spoon that’s forcing another unwanted bite of sugar-free orange Jell-O into your mouth, you see what can only be a cruel joke. “Is that really me?” you think to yourself, unable to recognize the face gaping back at you. Somewhere deep down inside, you remember what it was like to feel young. That twenty-something year old that came of age while the Ottoman Empire was still around is still in there somewhere. But now you can’t even remember how old you are. You just know that it felt like just yesterday that the local news crew pulled up to the nursing home to put you on TV for your 100th birthday. Now people from the Guinness Book of Records are starting to call. There’s a guy in Japan who says he’s the world’s oldest man, but he isn’t looking too good lately, and the people in charge of the records want to make sure they have the next oldest ready to go when he dies.
3. The Social Security office keeps calling to make sure you’re still alive.
It’s bad enough that your life has boiled down to a permanent hospital stay. You’ve got to deal with the concept of your own mortality on a daily basis. But starting ten years ago, the Social Security office started calling every month just to make sure you’re still alive. After a while, you managed to communicate that yes, you are still alive, and that you don’t appreciate being called so often. And the guy on the other end of the phone was like, “Well, I’m really sorry. It’s just that, most people don’t live to be your age, and the computers keep flagging your monthly payments as a computer error, and then someone has to check and our supervisors make us give you a call … there’s really not a lot that can be done.” And you’re just like, “What? Hello? What?” because you’re so old, your hearing is all but shot, and you really can’t use a phone that well.
4. You probably have diabetes.
Most old people probably have diabetes, that just goes along with getting old. But if you get to be past a hundred years old, you definitely have diabetes, it’s a non-negotiable. And that sucks, because maybe you were one of those really health-conscious people your whole life. You only indulged in a sugary treat once in a while, knowing full well the importance of maintaining a balanced diet. And where did it get you? It got you to be one of the oldest people on the planet. And now you have diabetes. And so instead of living out your final years enjoying what little life has to offer, the nurse in charge of spoon-feeding you lunch every day refuses anything sweeter than that sugar-free orange Jell-O. You really hate it. You can’t imagine eating another bite. But despite your protests, the nurse always says, “OK, open wide!” and even though you try your hardest to keep your mouth shut, he just brings the spoon closer and closer until it’s in.
5. You still use the word “gay” like it was used in the 1890s.
It’s not your fault society had to go and change the definitions of some of your most common words. Because, look it up, they used to call the 1890s the “Gay Nineties,” and it just meant that everyone was really happy. And there was a lot to be happy about back then. Like, maybe some people that you knew were starting to get electricity in their houses. And the Civil War had been over for like thirty years already. Those were some gay times! So when some person you don’t recognize brings a little kid claiming to be your great-great grandson to your nursing home, and he needs to interview you for some school project, and he asks you, “What was it like growing up in the 1890s?” and you say, “Oh, it was so gay!” and he starts laughing, that’s really not cool. Hasn’t anyone ever told that kid to respect his elders?