Posts Tagged With: aging

 
 

Forever Young

Friday Letter to my Kids – July 17, 2015 –

Dear J, J. L, and L,

A month ago, consistently and often, well-meaning sales associates, grocery baggers, repairmen and strangers insisted on offering me their senior discounts. What a sweet gesture to want to help me save ten percent on my purchases and services. Unfortunately, I always walked away from such encounters deflated and more tired than I already felt. I didn’t think I looked all that old.

Then one day in less than four hours I was referred to as “young lady” a dozen times. I wasn’t sure how to take that either. I’m no spring chicken, so the reference felt a little odd. I should have accepted it as their way of being polite without making me feel old.

Surely there’s a balance between “senior discount” and “young lady”. I’ll let you know when I discover what it is.

Mom circa 1957

Mom circa 1957

Yesterday morning I spent some time with my mom, your Grandma M, looking at some of the many photo albums she’s compiled over the years. Next time you’re up her way you should ask her to show them to you. (They’re in the living room closet nearest to the front door on a shelf, if she forgets.)

One album my sister N had put together for them as a gift. That album had  photos of your Grandma and Grandpa as kids and as teenagers, as newlyweds and as young parents. I wanted to snap photos of all the photographs but restrained myself to just a couple.

Those pictures bore witness to the my mom as a clarinetist in her high school band and as a smartly coiffed, high-stepping majorette. She also competed in the first Miss Morgan beauty pageant with four other contestants. Ooo la la! I’ll bet  you didn’t know that about her.

Dad circa 1956?

Dad circa 1956?

We stumbled across some postcards with a 1947 postmark that my dad and his brother had painstakingly written to their mother (your great grandma M) who had apparently gone to Illinois to visit someone who’d had a baby. Grandpa’s handwriting improved drastically when he became an engineer and had to hand letter blueprints for the DOT. You’ve probably seen his distinctive penmanship, which could pass as a typesetting font.

Some of my favorite photos in the albums were of Mom and Dad’s courtship days. Such smiles! Such innocence! Such true love!

The photo albums sparked remembrances located mostly in the recesses of my brain, such as:

  • my Dad riding a tricycle with his knees on the back stand and his hands pedaling, quite a feat of dexterity for an adult
  • my Mom hanging sheets on the laundry line or holding my hand on a hike
  • my Dad riding motorcycles on mountain trails
  • peeking in on my parents when they hosted a card game night at our house, laughing raucously with their friends like they never quite laughed with us kids
  • Mom holding a newborn baby after each of my five younger siblings were born
  • Dad’s ear-piercing  whistle that we could hear from the bottomlands of the local park

They were quite a team, raising such a gaggle of offspring. Almost sixty years later, they depend on each other like never before. Dad tries to fill in the memory gaps and missing sequencing ability that Mom’s strokes have destroyed. He makes breakfast every morning for her and she provides background music on the piano throughout the day. She insists on her independence as much as life allows. He still teases Lulu the cat as if he were a sixteen year old. She still makes jokes and laughs at the funniest things. Dad still has a wanderlust and needs to go somewhere every day in the car, even if it’s just to town or the grocery store.

Despite what my eyes show me when I visit them, in my mind they will always be forever young,

They’ve seen a fair bit of the world, from Russia to Cancun and a lot in between, which for a couple of western kids born in the 1930’s says a lot about their willingness to try new things and step outside their comfort zones.

In my mind, my parents remain that young newlywed couple with a future laid out bright and wide before them. There’s no other way to think about it. Anything less is unfathomable; forever young and together forever.

It’s what I’d wish for each one of you. May you also be forever young.

All my love,

Mom

p.s. Here’s a cover version of that famous song by Bob Dylan. Listen and enjoy a wonderful song.

“Forever Young” by Bob Dylan

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

Advertisements
Categories: Family, Friday Letters to My Kids | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Will the Real Me Please Stand Up

Friday Letter to my Kids – June 19, 2015 –

Dear J, J, L and L,

I’ll let you in on a little secret.

Age slows you down. You swear it won’t happen to you. Then menopause hits, or a surgery or two, or an autoimmune disorder appears. You cope, you adjust, you medicate, you treat, you pursue other options. You age faster than you thought possible.

You sound like your grandma when she used to try to stand up from her chair. Yeah, that sound. Ooomph, uhhhhhh, psssssshhhhh, ahhhh.

You straighten your back slowly, hoping it doesn’t catch and stay crooked. You feel like a lawn mower that’s sat idle over a few months and needs some oil, fresh gas, a new air filter and a sharpening.

One day you try to roll out of bed and wonder what alien life form took over your body in your sleep. Your feet hurt, your legs turn to bags of rocks. Nimble no longer describes anything about you except perhaps your wallet.

Smart man, that Robert Frost guy.

Truth.

The mirror betrays you.

The scale lies.

Your clothes shrink overnight.

Brain cells shrivel and rearrange themselves.

And forget the whole memory thing. I recall at thirty something, staring at Big L and being completely blank on what your name was. I tried to say your name, not even the letter L graced the screen of my brain. Nada. Imagine putting a couple of decades on top of that early memory loss and you’re staring at a mega data sink hole.

I’m fighting it. Not sure where I’d find a personal trainer who helps you win against aging and old person syndrome. But time isn’t on my side and neither are the odds. I pedal my bike pretending I’m sixteen, but looking more than a few decades older and slightly wider than that. Surely there’s more countermeasures to deploy in beating back the aches and arthritis and aging process.

Why do I tell you this, in your prime, your vigorous amazing twenties and thirties?

Photo by Paweł Grzywocz

Photo by Paweł Grzywocz

It’s a sign. it’s one of those small roadside poster sized signs you see two hundred miles from your destination. “There will be other signs,” you think to yourself, “as I get closer.”

And there are. But those miles roll by in the hectic pace of life with kids and schedules and work and fun.

I swore in my teens: “I will never grow old. I refuse to look old or act old or become old!” And now I’m offered the senior citizen discount by the AC repairman without even getting asked for my ID. So what if I saved twenty-five dollars. My already tilted world slanted a bit more and I felt myself sliding toward some abyss.

Well, that’s a bit dramatic.

But still. Imagine that happening to you. At your age! You’d feel disheartened and brushed aside, too.

In my head I’m not really any older than you. Just a little more jaded, a little slower. The real me inside dances to Queen’s lyrics, “we will, we will, rock you!” The real me holds up a lighter and sings “we are the champions, my friend!”

The real me never actually grows old!

Here’s real secret I meant to share with you: neither will you.

All my love,

Mom

~~~~~

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” ~ Sophia Loren

Categories: Friday Letter to My Kids | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment
 
 

Unbelievable and Shocking Realizations Unfold Worldwide

photo 4-4 copy 11

“Time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking, into the future…” Bad lyrics from a dumb song.

Recent events coupled with historical data have revealed the following true facts that are unquestionably the most unnerving thing you’ll read all week:

  1. Children born in the last twenty to twenty-five years are now in their twenties!
  2. In a related, but so far unexplained phenomenon, adults who once looked twenty are now approaching the age of fifty and beginning to look older.
  3. Sadly, fifty years-olds from twenty years ago, have progressed to the age of seventy and just don’t feel as young as they once did. Congress has dispatched a committee with a massive budget to look into this.
  4. Apparently this oddity extends beyond the human population as well. Cats and dogs, although showing little signs of aging by way of wrinkles and graying hair, nonetheless develop lung, heart and arthritic conditions as they move into the first decade of life.
  5. But wait! Even plant life is affected. Acorns become trees in some miraculous and heretofore unfathomable process. How such a tiny thing can transform into a tall and expansive growth has many average people baffled. “I just don’t know how it happened. My dad and I planted a little nut like seed a few decades ago and now this huge tree stands here in the backyard,” said one unbelieving and mystified eyewitness.
  6. Things that people found appealing and interesting, in fact, even innovative, over thirty years ago, have become mere artifacts of curiosity and sometimes ridicule. For example eight-track tapes, aerobic dance videos, pagers and MC Hammer pants. Somehow, these things and many others find themselves relegated to the same area as golden oldies, fifties memorabilia and blue eye shadow.
  7. Unsure of the relationship, but seeing a correlation nonetheless, not doing regular chores leads to a messy house.
  8. Likewise, the phenomenon of groceries needing to be purchased more than once seems to be part of the, dare we say it, conspiracy!
  9. And sadly, scientists have finally concluded after years of extensive research that toilet paper cannot be successfully recycled for multiple uses. Some think this, too, somehow relates to the above mentioned realizations.
  10. This last curiosity no one can explain, but, brace yourself: clothing wears out eventually.
  11. In a completely unrelated, but still shocking development, being nice feels better than being mean and, surprisingly, sharing makes other people feel good.
  12. Most baffling of all, these things remain consistent across the globe. From Japan to Iceland, from South America to Russia, from Antarctica to Alaska, the phenomenon holds true. The only exception was found in the person of George Hamilton and a few former Disney starlets refusing to act their age. The president deployed the Secret Service several years ago to investigate. Results were still pending.
photo 2-6 copy 8

“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.” – Groucho Marx

Can anything be done? Many have been searching for answers for years and years. Sadly, scientists reveal they have no clue as to how to repair, prevent or treat this slowly developing and ongoing process. They fear that side-effects of a cure would lead to malaise, boredom and stagnation. They have considered that some of Einstein’s theories might be related somehow, but they don’t have time or space to figure it out.

~~*~*~~

“They say I’m old-fashioned, and live in the past, but sometimes I think progress progresses too fast!” ~ Dr. Seuss

Categories: Fun, Humor | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Just What I Always Wanted

When I turned nine years old, as I opened each birthday gift I said, “oh, just what I always wanted!” I said that over and over. “Just what I always wanted!” It seems like that year I got a Barbie and some Barbie clothes Mom had sewed along with a few other things I adored and gushed over.
A picture of a birthday cake

Happy Birthday!

Dad documented the day on 8mm film. A trip to the zoo was also part of the day’s celebration. I felt like a princess. That particular birthday along with other family event he recently transferred to CD for the family’s viewing pleasure. What a wonder-filled time of life that was.

I used to anticipate birthdays with pleasure and excitement. Not so much in the past few years. At a certain point getting older feels like less of a bonus and more of a deficit  It’s better than the alternative though, right? I should probably change my attitude.
It embarrasses me when I’m the center of attention. At the same time being recognized, wished happiness, gifted or wined and dined has its perks. What a conundrum!
As a way to address my desire for a better birthday attitude I looked up a few of birthday jokes:
An old lady was being interviewed by reporters on the occasion of her 110th birthday.  “What do you think is the reason for your long life?” they asked her.  “Oh,” she replied, “I suppose it’s because I was born such a long time ago.”
 
Q:  What do you always get on your birthday?
  
A:  Another year older!
Some employees bought their boss a gift for his birthday. Before opening the gift, the boss shook it slightly, and noticed that it was wet in the corner. Touching his finger to the wet spot and tasting it, he asked, “A bottle of wine?”
His employees replied, “No.”
Again, he touched his finger to the box and tasted the liquid. “A bottle of scotch?”
His employees replied again, “No.”
Finally the boss asked, “I give up. What is it?”
His workers responded, “A puppy.”
 I thought those were good for a few laughs!
Seriously, I think this quote best captures how I’m feeling this year on the anniversary of the day my mother labored to bring me into this world:
“Age has given me what I was looking for my entire life – it has given me me . It has provided time and experience and failures and triumphs and time-tested friends who have helped me step into the shape that was waiting for me. I fit into me now. I have an organic life, finally, not necessarily the one people imagined for me, or tried to get me to have. I have the life I longed for. I have become the woman I hardly dared imagine I would be.”
present | the both and | shorts and longs | ju...

(Photo credit: shorts and longs)

Time and Age have gifted me something rare and unique;  they have made me into the woman who writes, laughs, loves, rolls with the punches, loses her temper occasionally, wonders about life, feels grateful, shares what she can and revels in living.

Although far from finished and perfected, the person I am today is “just what I always wanted!”
Categories: Gratitude, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“When You are Old” An Unexpected Perspective of Love

When You are Old by William Butler Yeats

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

One of Yeats’ lesser known poems. I especially like the perspective from a life well lived.

I find that poetry is best enjoyed when read aloud. The cadence and the roll of the words across your tongue add a dimension of beauty and depth. Try it.  Then read it out loud a second time a bit slower and you’ll find it warming you from within.

If you’re really brave, read it out loud to someone you love, a son, a daughter, a spouse, a parent, yourself.

I think everyone should have a poem or two about love tucked away in their memory. Silly,  poignant, freeing, flowing, sad, gleeful, tender. Even a limerick will do if it’s one that can bring a laugh to your day or a smile to your lips.

If  you have a favorite poem about love I’d be delighted if you’d share it with me.

Categories: Love | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: