We have always been told that as we age we would enter into our “Golden Years.”

Well, they’re here and you know what I’ve discovered? They’re not golden at all or even brass... they’re rusty!

The aches and pains and insecurities we’ve suffered all our lives become magnified and loom gargantuously above us like an ominous black cloud.

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The Russian leader, Leon Trotsky, once said, “Old age is the most unexpected of all things that can happen to a person.” I definitely agree. It seems to appear so suddenly that you wonder where you lost the self you remember. The independent, fearless, coping person you used to be.

For me, it happened when my husband died. After 62 years of being a couple, I was left with just Adrienne. It had always been Adrienne and Jason. We did everything together, and continued to live as if we were just starting. We never felt old and, because of good genes, never looked our ages. We thought we were indestructible... and then we weren’t. So I coined the phrase “rusty years” and together we would laugh at the thought and “keep on truckin’.”

I had never counted on being alone, having to cope with life without a partner. I guess we all think of ourselves as being immortal, and that’s good because it causes us to try harder and accomplish things that surprise even ourselves. The miracle of being born and living in this wondrous world is still there, even if ‘one’ (as the song says) is a lonely number.

I am learning to be my own advocate; to stand tall and not be overcome by age, which is really only a number. I will remember all the grand things Jason and I did together and use them as a pedestal to stand on and take it from there, somewhat crushed, but still unbroken.

Adrienne Kavelle is a published writer and poet. She was a trustee of the Patterson Library, served as March of Dimes chairman for the city of Yonkers and, as a founding member of the Clergy and Laity of Yonkers, she was instrumental in innovating the Yonkers Exceptional Child PTA. As a freelancer, she wrote a six-part series, “Children in the Shadows,” for the Gannett newspapers, which was subsequently read into the Congressional Record by Rep. Richard Ottinger. She can be reached at AKL.seasonedcitizen@gmail.com.