By Diana Sevanian Suddenly within the cool, dark room, that familiar voice whispered to me: “Come on, woman. Let’s do it. You’ll feel sooo much better.” Me thinking: For crying out loud! What’s it been, four, maybe five hours? Sure, that time I gave in. I had to. And yes, I felt better afterward. But not now. Nope. I wanted to be left alone. I wanted to sleep. Abruptly, I flipped over and pulled the bed covers high atop my head. Drat! That hasty body realignment evoked an inevitable reaction. Now I had to get up – and go do my 5 a.m. wee-wee. Yep, I’ve entered “the senior years.” That era in life when what once functioned like the German railroad – predictable, controlled clockwork — is now taking orders from a fickle station-master with a wicked sense of humor. Perhaps you too are “of a certain age” and can relate. Some other formerly voluntary muscle-controlled parts could sorely use surge protectors (or at least warning systems). That keen sense of smell has been diminishing (probably a good thing in the absence of surge protectors). Those arms, once supple and wrinkle-free, now resemble crepey pterodactyl wings. The legs, previously limber, tanned, and muscular, have morphed into creaking, crackling appendages held together by (someone else’s) rumpled geezer flesh. Liver spots, much like summer ant infestations, appear overnight. Varicose veins pop from the calves like sewn-in purple-blue sidewinders. One drinks prune juice every morning, but not for its rich pruney flavor… Those annoying changes The fresh, youthful face that your long-ago beau said could launch a thousand Sea-Doos has gradually drowned in laugh lines, crow’s feet and jowls. And yikes, those annoying mental changes. They’re happening – no matter how much you tell yourself that playing Words with Friends 12-hours a day keeps the synapses greased and snappy. Case in point: I recently came out of Trader Joe’s with a loaded shopping cart but no idea where to push it. All the while, I tried to look like I knew where my car was parked, but suspected folks were onto me. I could feel that semi-panicked appearance take hold. Quickly, I pressed the key clicker several times thinking that would be my auditory compass. No luck, my hearing’s been a little dicey lately too. Eventually I found my vehicle, then casually sauntered over to it, making eye contact with no one. I’m taking precautionary measures now, like making lists, e-mail reminders, notes on where I need to be, and what to buy. I never required those memory nudges before. Everything was securely downloaded in my gray matter and easily retrievable. It’s as if my data storage facility got hacked. So how did this happen? Only yesterday I was a sharp, young multitasking professional who thrived on four hours of sleep and prided herself as the mom who could do it all, a woman of endurance. (Endurance? I can’t even go five hours without going tinkle.) Time, oh time…where did you go? All griping aside now, I have a confession to make. Even more mind-blowing these days is the fact that this longer-toothed version of me is learning to accept such changes. In fact, I’m beginning to appreciate them, even laugh about them. Many of those sage giggles are shared with my similarly amused peers. We’re aging, and we’re damn glad to still be here. Feeling fortunate United States Census statistics reveal that of the 76-million baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964, 11-million had died by 2012. While individual ages at the time of death are not revealed, the oldest age range they could have reached was 48-66-years young — prime years! Gone, along with their golden years and later life bucket lists. This figure saddens me. It also inspires me to embrace the various vicissitudes of growing old with gratitude and grace. I feel fortunate to be creaking and (occasionally) leaking. Like Rose Castorini told her daughter Loretta in “Moonstruck,” “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” Until it’s time for me to go to that spirit in the sky, I want to be that good-humored Purple Hat lady who savors people, places, and life’s delicious buffet of experiences, right to the very end – whether I’m standing on my own two wrinkled pins or pushing a cherry-red walker. Having just turned 66, I humbly acknowledge that not everyone makes it to this ripened age. Now if I can just make it to the lady’s room… A Valencia resident, Diana Sevanian is a former longtime Signal features writer and columnist, as well as a retired R.N., mother, grandmother, and dog-mother. At this time she does not require incontinence products.