The 3 “R’s of Old Age-Raving, Ranting & Regretting

maybe-better-not-do-a-tantrum-on-the-floor-because-who-knows-if-I-ever-will-get-up-again (title – compliments of Sarah! http://secretartexpedition.wordpress.com)

I do not like being an old lady.  There’s not much I can do about it but I don’t like it.  I don’t like it!  I do NOT like it!  If there was someone watching right now I would lay down on the floor, pummel my legs up and down and scream out obscenities which I’m too embarrassed to write down proving I’m an old lady because I was taught that ladies, no matter their age, don’t swear.  Even now, when I can’t be sent to my room, I hesitate to say “hell” or “shit” much less utter worse.  The problem is I don’t even know what current swear words are.  (There’s even a bigger problem if I lay down on the floor.  With no one here to watch  I might not be able to get back up without help.)

The urban slang dictionary didn’t exist until I was well past middle age and I couldn’t even look up cuss words that were creative.  I’m now stuck with the “hells” and “I don’t give a damns” because that’s all I learned.

Let’s talk about wrinkles (it’s easier than the belly fat that has accumulated around my mid-section when even sucking in my stomach it still blubs around like Santa Claus’ bowl full of jelly.  So wrinkles it is.) 

Why would I want wrinkles? . . . to  prove I’m as wise as I have ostensibly become?  Phony baloney, I’v never seen a wrinkled owl.   Rather than look wise it’s easier to look down my elongating nose at people who have plastic surgery, botox or collagen treatments.  If I weren’t scared of pain and had the money I’d get rid of my wrinkles.  Instead, I’m doomed to cultivating a self-righteous attitude about my aging, sagging, bagging body and pretend to embrace how old I am.

I’ve tried political correctness – how wonderful it is to be wise, to have accumulated all this worldly experience and be on social security . . . I’ve tried to embrace aging, smile when people ask me what I do and act like it’s  wonderful to have no career, no purpose, no energy.  I’ve tried wrinkle creams that promise me youth.  I’ve tried laughing at the “old age” cartoons that appear in my in-box and sting in their truths.

Give me the money (and a bottle of numbing vodka – ladies don’t want alcohol breath) and I’ll be on the next surgeon’s schedule to tighten my jowls, pull up my eyelids and get rid of the bags under my eyes . . .  

I’ve even considered moving to another country where old age is supposedly venerated.   But I’m too tired to pack so I live in these here United States where I’m wise enough to know it’s the youth who say it like it is and have the energy to make this world a better place.

Old age – phooey. It’s highly over-rated . . . by the elderly.

A Cautionary Tale

Dance while you’re young

Pierce your tongue

Dye your hair green

Eat fat, not the lean

Don’t give a lick what makes you tick

Eat, drink and be merry

because if you tarry

you’ll soon be too old

all covered with mold

and have to scrap it off with a stick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sleep deprivation, late life eroticism, memory loss, wrinkles? – Bring it on!

James Hillman explains why he believes that a person’s true character only emerges in old age. 

(only 11 1/2 minutes – LISTEN!)

*Jungian psychologist James Hillman is the author of “The Force of Character and The Lasting Life”.

Thanks Laurie F.  Hibernationnow for this grrrrrrrrrrrrrreat interview!

Hooked on Haiku – No BONES about it

My bones are creaking

past sinking, future winking

ain’t it glorious!

judy journal page, mixed media

judy journal page, mixed media

Haiku Horizons - prompt BONE

Haiku Horizons – prompt BONES

Inspiration

Curiosity!

More is more, less is a bore

Dive in, you won’t drown

“At 91 years old, Iris Apfel is busier than most people half her age. She told me [Ari Seth Cohen] that the secret to her success is her sense of curiosity. When it comes to learning and personal style, Iris proclaims, “More is more and less is a bore.”‘

Advanced Style by Ari Seth Cohen is my new favorite blog! Iris is one of the wonderful women featured.  Check it out.

No Left Turns

Those of you who follow Max’s Blog know that we love to post other people’s creative expressions.  Right now I’m sitting on a back log.  After re-reading this I decided that I’d better start sharing them with you before my expiration date runs out.  

  • I received this from Rosemary Lee at SEEKING EQUILIBRIUM
  • It’s long.  
  • It’s worth your time to read.

Rosemary LeeSEEKING EQUILIBRIUM 

“This is a wonderful story that I wanted to share with all my friends…I hope it makes you reflect a little on the good things in your life and makes you smile…even laugh”

“My father never drove a car. Well, that’s not quite right. I should say I
never saw him drive a car.

He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he
drove was a 1926 Whippet.

“In those days,” he told me when he was in his 90s, “to drive a car you
had to do things with your hands, and do things with your feet, and look
every which way, and I decided you could walk through life and enjoy it or drive through life and miss it.”

At which point my mother, a sometimes salty Irishwoman, chimed in: “Oh, baloney!” she said. “He hit a horse.”

“Well,” my father said, “there was that, too.”

So my brother and I grew up in a household without a car. The neighbors
all had cars — the Kollingses next door had a green 1941 Dodge, the Van Laninghams across the street a gray 1936 Plymouth, the Hopsons two doors down a black 1941 Ford — but we had none.

My father, a newspaperman in Des Moines , would take the streetcar to work and, often as not, walk the 3 miles home. If he took the streetcar home, my mother and brother and I would walk the three blocks to the streetcar stop, meet him and walk home together.

My brother, David, was born in 1935, and I was born in 1938, and sometimes, at dinner, we’d ask how come all the neighbors had cars but we had none. “No one in the family drives,” my mother would explain, and that was that.

But, sometimes, my father would say, “But as soon as one of you boys turns 16, we’ll get one.” It was as if he wasn’t sure which one of us would turn 16 first.

But, sure enough , my brother turned 16 before I did, so in 1951 my parents bought a used 1950 Chevrolet from a friend who ran the parts department at a Chevy dealership downtown..

It was a four-door, white model, stick shift, fender skirts, loaded with everything, and, since my parents didn’t drive, it more or less became my brother’s car.

Having a car but not being able to drive didn’t bother my father, but it didn’t make sense to my mother..

So in 1952, when she was 43 years old, she asked a friend to teach her to drive. She learned in a nearby cemetery, the place where I learned to drive the following year and where, a generation later, I took my two sons to practice driving. The cemetery probably was my father’s idea. “Who can your mother hurt in the cemetery?” I remember him saying more than once.

For the next 45 years or so, until she was 90, my mother was the driver in the family. Neither she nor my father had any sense of direction, but he loaded up on maps — though they seldom left the city limits — and
appointed himself navigator. It seemed to work.

Still, they both continued to walk a lot. My mother was a devout Catholic, and my father an equally devout agnostic, an arrangement that didn’t seem to bother either of them through their 75 years of marriage.

(Yes, 75 years, and they were deeply in love the entire time.)

He retired when he was 70, and nearly every morning for the next 20 years or so, he would walk with her the mile to St. Augustin’s Church. She would walk down and sit in the front pew, and he would wait in the
back until he saw which of the parish’s two priests was on duty that morning. If it was the pastor, my father then would go out and take a 2-mile walk, meeting my mother at the end of the service and walking her
home.

If it was the assistant pastor, he’d take just a 1-mile walk and then head back to the church. He called the priests “Father Fast” and “Father Slow.”

After he retired, my father almost always accompanied my mother whenever she drove anywhere, even if he
had no reason to go along. If she were going to the beauty parlor, he’d sit in the car and read, or go take a
stroll or, if it was summer, have her keep the engine running so he could listen to the Cubs game on the radio. In the evening, then, when I’d stop by, he’d explain: “The Cubs lost again. The millionaire on second base
made a bad throw to the millionaire on first base, so the multimillionaire on third base scored.”

If she were going to the grocery store, he would go along to carry the bags out — and to make sure she loaded up on ice cream. As I said, he was always the navigator, and once, when he was 95 and she was 88 and still
driving, he said to me, “Do you want to know the secret of a long life?”

“I guess so,” I said, knowing it probably would be something bizarre.

“No left turns,” he said.

“What?” I asked.

“No left turns,” he repeated. “Several years ago, your mother and I
read
an article that said most accidents that old people are in happen when
they turn left in front of oncoming traffic.

As you get older, your eyesight worsens, and you can lose your depth
perception, it said. So your mother and I decided never again to make a
left turn.”

“What?” I said again.

“No left turns,” he said. “Think about it.. Three rights are the same as a left, and that’s a lot safer. So we always make three rights..”

“You’re kidding!” I said, and I turned to my mother for support.
“No,” she said, “your father is right. We make three rights. It works.”
But then she added: “Except when your father loses count.”

I was driving at the time, and I almost drove off the road as I started laughing.

“Loses count?” I asked.

“Yes,” my father admitted, “that sometimes happens. But it’s not a problem. You just make seven rights, and you’re okay again.”

I couldn’t resist. “Do you ever go for 11?” I asked.

“No,” he said ” If we miss it at seven, we just come home and call it a bad day. Besides, nothing in life is so important it can’t be put off another day or another week.” My mother was never in an accident, but one evening she handed me her car keys and said she had decided to quit driving. That was in 1999, when she
was 90.

She lived four more years, until 2003.  My father died the next year, at 102.

They both died in the bungalow they had moved into in 1937 and bought a few years later for $3,000. (Sixty years later, my brother and I paid $8,000 to have a shower put in the tiny bathroom — the house had never had one. My father would have died then and there if he knew the shower cost nearly three times what he paid for the house.)

He continued to walk daily — he had me get him a treadmill when he was 101 because he was afraid he’d fall on the icy sidewalks but wanted to keep exercising — and he was of sound mind and sound body until the
moment he died.

One September afternoon in 2004, he and my son went with me when I had to give a talk in a neighboring town, and it was clear to all three of us that he was wearing out, though we had the usual wide-ranging conversation about politics and newspapers and things in the news.

A few weeks earlier, he had told my son, “You know, Mike, the first hundred years are a lot easier than the second hundred.” At one point in our drive that Saturday, he said, “You know, I’m probably not going to
live much longer.”

“You’re probably right,” I said.

“Why would you say that?” He countered, somewhat irritated.

“Because you’re 102 years old,” I said..

“Yes,” he said, “you’re right.” He stayed in bed all the next day.

That night, I suggested to my son and daughter that we sit up with him through the night.

He appreciated it, he said, though at one point, apparently seeing us look gloomy, he said:
“I would like to make an announcement. No one in this room is dead yet”

An hour or so later, he spoke his last words:

“I want you to know,” he said, clearly and lucidly, “that I am in no pain.
I am very comfortable. And I have had as happy a life as anyone on this earth could ever have.”

A short time later, he died.

I miss him a lot, and I think about him a lot. I’ve wondered now and then how it was that my family and I were so lucky that he lived so long..

I can’t figure out if it was because he walked through life,
Or because he quit taking left turns. “

  • Life is too short to wake up with regrets.
  • So love the people who treat you right.
  • Forget about the one’s who don’t.
  • Believe everything happens for a reason.
  • If you get a chance,take it & if it changes your life, let it.
  • Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would most likely be worth it.
  • ENJOY LIFE NOW – IT HAS AN EXPIRATION DATE!”

How to Look Younger than You Are

The cutest, sweetest, most darling, almost 10 month old, baby boy came to visit me in my office today.  He brought his Mom.

I don’t have permission to put his picture up here so you’ll have to trust me that his face glowed and his eyes lit up in delight as he explored the waiting room with all manner of interesting things to touch and taste and see for the very first time in his life.

Mom and I were stick-in-the-muds, redirecting him away from all the wonderful new things to the boring center of the waiting room.

Earlier in the day two people said to me that they were surprised I was 67.  I didn’t look 67, I didn’t act 67 and they thought I was in my 50’s.  I gave thanks to them and thanks to Clairol, genetics and clothes that camouflaged all that has shifted.

When I got home Max took me on a walk.  He sniffed here and sniffed there, sniffing at things he’s sniffed hundreds of times before.  Sniffing as though it were the first delectable, curious sniff of his life.

And it came to me!  The key to appearing younger than you are is having a beginners mind.  Seeing, touching, tasting, hearing, smelling everything as if it were the first time.  A sense of wonder, a curiosity, an expectation that this world is a miracle and whatever, whoever, is in your path fills your senses and lights up your face.

Synchronized: Medical Marijuana & Living

A strange and wonderful place this blog-o-sphere.  Maureen  (“Sunshine and Chaos) is one of the women I’ve “met” through the marvels of this technology which I don’t begin to comprehend.

What I am beginning to comprehend is how all our lives and spirits are synchronized in mundane and miraculous ways.

Please take 10 minutes to visit her blog and view a powerful documentary she discovered on the web.

(The beginning of the video California is a place was a bit start and stop but I couldn’t stop watching and listening)

Click on the post link to view this 10 minutes documentary.

I don’t need to recap what Maureen said because her synopsis of the video and what you’ll see is perfect as it is.

http://sunshineandchaos.wordpress.com/2011/07/27/multiple-sclerosis-and-synchronized-swimming/

In dog years, I’m dead.

In graduate school we studied Erik Erikson and his 8 psychosocial developmental stages a HEALTHY human passes through.

I was, at the time, in stage #6.

16 Days till my Birthday Season . . .I just realized I’ve run out of stages.

I’m not going to be 66.

I’ll be 16 with 50 years of experience.  STAGE #5

TODAY IS THE OLDEST YOU’VE EVER BEEN,

YET THE YOUNGEST YOU’LL EVER BE,

SO ENJOY THIS DAY WHILE IT LASTS.

“Age is not a particularly interesting subject.  Anyone can get old.  All you have to do is live long enough.”

-Groucho Marx-

In case you want to find out what you need to be working on in your stage of development here’s a copy from Wikipedia:

*Erik Erikson explained eight stages through which a healthily developing human should pass from infancy to late adulthood. In each stage the person confronts, and hopefully masters, new challenges. Each stage builds on the successful completion of earlier stages. The challenges of stages not successfully completed may be expected to reappear as problems in the future.The stages

Thanks Linda B. for the inspiration for this post!

Fears I’ve Overcome and Those to Come

Was talking to a client today about fear. Made me stop to think about my own fears.

  • I used to be fearful of aliens coming to “get me”.  I am pretty sure that the time it would have been useful for them to study me has passed.
  • I used to be afraid that my mind would go before my body.  Since watching the decline of my own parents I’m now fearful that my mind will NOT go before my body.  It may be a blessing not to be aware of what my limitations are.
  • I used to be fearful people wouldn’t like me.  I now consider it a compliment that certain people don’t like me
  • I used to be fearful of snakes. I spent hours in my early 20’s watching snakes (behind a glass exhibit) noticing  how beautiful their markings were, how incredible it was that they navigated their way with their tongue and how remarkable their ability to move was.  I still am afraid of snakes.
  • I used to be fearful of not getting good grades in school.  I’ve got all the diplomas now I need . . .or want.
  • I used to be terrified of dying.  I’m not afraid of that since I’ve embraced the Baha’i belief about the celestial realm.
  • I used to be fearful of never having a boy ask me to dance at high school dances.  Now I fear that if anyone asked they’d find out I can’t dance
  • I used to be afraid of heights.  I took a Wilderness Course in my 30’s where we had to climb poles, walk across streams on tiny logs and fall backwards off ledges into people’s’ arms.  I am still afraid of heights.

Hey! My list of fears has really been whittled down!

All I’m afraid of now is that there are snakes in heaven, I will be a dance instructor for eternity and that heaven is REALLY HIGH up.

Tell me what your fears are . . . or were!

Kay WalkerComment by Kay Walker 1 hour ago
Great post- especially the punchline!

I’m afraid I’ll never get a meaningful job again; that I will never have an income of my own again; that the depths of my depression will return; crocodiles/alligators- can hardly watch them on TV!; bee/wasp/bull-ant stings- very bad reactions and giant itchy lumps that last for 3 months; that I will have a stroke and be unable to do things. I’m not afraid of actually dying (I think it will be just like going under anaesthetic- no worries there), and only slightly concerned that some people may not like me- as you say- I’m quite pleased certain types don’t!