Wednesday, November 3, 2010

That Old Age Thing

There was a time in my youth that I thought people who were the age that I am now were positively ancient. I laugh and maybe even cringe a bit at the thought. But I have to step back and think on that for a minute.

I don’t move as quickly as I used to. I was told I have arthritis in my knees and I suspect I have it in a couple of other locations as well. But, arthritis??? Isn’t that an old people disease? I won’t use this blog to list my other “ailments” that go along with aging, but rather, my point is there are a multitude of things happening to my body and yes, even my mind :) that have been changing thanks to the aging process. Suffice it to say, I am sometimes taken aback by the older person I see looking back at me in the mirror. I notice the changes taking place that I never thought would happen to me.

So what of aging gracefully? My mother and her mother aged gracefully. In fact, I dare say, they became more beautiful with age. Not only that, but all around me I see women whom I admire aging most gracefully. I have to wonder what the secret is.

I decided to google it. I came up with all kinds of hilarious jokes and articles on the humor of aging. Unfortunately there were far too many I could identify with. It was more depressing than funny. What I learned from that was that humor is one thing essential to aging gracefully. That is not all. I learned much more as I pondered this whole aging process. A couple of articles hit a few pointers right on the nail for me as well. I thought I would share what I have learned.

The whole aging process is an important one and denying ones age though it is a silly, harmless, game played, (i.e. “I’m twenty five again…” or “Still thirty and holding…” etc.) it can also be disabling. After all, those grey hairs, those wrinkles, those scars, well, they are all a big part of who we have become over the years and we have earned them through our lives experiences. Therefore, we should wear them without guilt or shame, rather with pride and joy having survived or accomplished all we have experienced.

When you think about it, you can look back and say I am X many years old. I have learned X many years’ worth of lessons, X many years’ worth of personal growth, X many years’ worth of challenges and happiness, and X many years’ worth of accomplishments. Looking back there has to be some satisfaction for that growth and learning and that in turn can build self esteem. May you live that many more years and find much happiness in them! It’s something to be proud of.

Age doesn’t have to be a debilitating thing for us. We can age gracefully. After all, they say age is a state of mind—(I just wish my body would keep up! The physical stuff is a little harder to deal with!)

I know that as I have aged, my perspective has changed. I know now that the friends I have are the friendships I will always treasure.

I cherish moments with my loved ones as I realize there just aren’t enough of them. This is an about change when as a youth I hated it when my sister came near me or even touched me if I was angry with her or when she crossed to my side of the room after we had drawn the imaginary line.

I have strived to become more knowledgable and therefore more stronger in my convictions which inturn gives my life reason and purpose.

There are times I have become more forgetful, it is true. But maybe this isn’t all bad. It has helped me to be more forgiving— for when I do finally remember, I have discovered that some things just aren’t worth being contentious over.

I have tried to become more at peace with myself and with my fellow man.

I realize more than ever I have much to do and much to learn and suddenly I really don't have all the time in the world, nor all the answers to solve all of the world's crisis's but now, more than ever, I want to try to do my part.

The list goes on. I am finding that maybe aging isn’t such a bad thing. I would never trade my adorable grandson for less grey hair or a flatter stomach and firmer end zone.

Life comes with broken hearts— there we learn strength and love and compassion. It comes with trials and struggles and challenges—there we learn faith, hope, patience and endurance. It comes with adventure and experience— there we can learn wisdom.

Each and every day that we have on this earth can be a blessing. We can either cherish it or go out kicking and screaming. It is my hope that I can learn to cherish it and age with grace.

And so, in ending this blog, I have to add some of the humor that goes with aging. After all, in the beginning I did mention we have to have a sense of humor with aging, right?

When I was younger, one of my favorite shows was “The Sound of Music” Now that does age me, doesn’t it? This may be a bit of that “denying my age stuff” but “The Sound of Music” was the best picture of 1965 and one of the best musicals ever produced. In 1965, I was a little young to appreciate this fine film. But my mother helped me to appreciate it several years later.

This is a copy of a forward I received on Julie Andrews. It fit perfectly with my blog today and I couldn’t resist using it. I was unable to locate the original author: I could certainly relate to her feelings, could you? (Be honest and proud of it if you could!)

Julie Andrews turned 69 and to commemorate her 69th birthday on October 1, actress/vocalist Julie Andrews made a special appearance at Manhattan's Radio City Music Hall for the benefit of the AARP. One of the musical numbers she performed was "My Favourite Things" from the legendary movie "The Sound Of Music."

Here are the actual lyrics she used:

Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favourite things.

Cadillac's and cataracts, and hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favourite things..

When the pipes leak, When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,
I simply remember my favourite things,
And then I don't feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favourite things.

Back pains, confused brains, and no need for sinnin',
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin',
And we won't mention our short, shrunken frames,
When we remember our favourite things.

When the joints ache, When the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I've had,
And then I don't feel so bad.

Now there is a sense of humor from a lady who has aged gracefully! :)

*FYI The article I referred to in my blog for information was written by David Leonhardt on aging gracefully.

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