Thursday, September 23, 2021

Aging--where's the joy?

 

Image via Gerd Altmann of Pixabay

Can age bring joy?

Can you change your perspective on aging, so that you can find new joy every single day? Are there circumstances that prevent that? I don't know the answers, but I believe and hope you can actually train yourself to intentionally appreciate life more than a lot of folks do. 

Do you ever think how much you've changed over the years? Okay, okay, no I wasn't thinking about the wrinkles, the sags, the varicose veins. There's a universal distaste for what happens to our bodies with the advancement of age. The brown spots, the lumps, the inability to jump lithely up and down stairs . . .dang, don't you hate that?

Life changes

You think about life differently. There are cares you never paid much attention to when you were younger. It's as if one day you wake up to the shocking truth that you really are getting older. It happens when the roofing guy tries to sell you roof tiles guaranteed for 30 years, and you do the math. Uh Oh! Don't think I'll be needing those!

Conversations change. Your peers mostly have grey or greying hair, except for the ones who keep colouring. Perms that everyone used to have are now the hallmark of a woman who simply hasn’t realized they’re passé. 

You watch the obituary page in your local newspaper, and say how shocking it is that Mary has gone. After all, she was only 68. You Inwardly congratulate yourself though. After all, you’ve made it through to 78 with little trouble, all things considered. But there is a feeling like each night might be your last, so what nightie should you wear? 

Some conversation topics predominate

Your health for instance.  That's a biggie. These days you find you can't go anywhere without that subject coming up. All around you are people on walkers, trundling their oxygen tanks around. The latest models in wheelchairs and sporty golf cart thingys are sad reminders of the days when you got around unaided, and had the wind blow through the sun roof of your nice car. 

There's a certain helplessness too in knowing your mind is that of a delayed 18 year old, but the body simply continues on its path of destruction.


Insurance is another topic. People congratulating themselves on having plenty. People having anxiety attacks because they don't. Pressures to buy this kind or that. It's all about marketing and money.

Money becomes a big thing too. Will you have enough when the ravages of time wreak their worst on you? Will you become a burden to your children, who have a whole lot of concerns with their own families? Will you end up in a nursing home, and can you afford that?

It’s tantalizing. Now, for the first time in your life, you should be able to draw on the fruits of your labor. Working hard. Living frugally, because you had this sense that you might need enough money to look after yourself in old age. But at the same time you smugly saved your hard earned shekels, advanced age seemed comfortably far away. 


At that time you weren’t really thinking too much about cruises and trips to exotic places. Paying off the mortgage was a big one. People actually had mortgage burning ( real document!) parties. Then they settled down to being grandparents, helping the kids (who now have your grown up grandkids) and living in a comfy home until they died.

You know the way you get emotionally  charged up by greedy politicians who swear they’re going to change senior things for the better? How that flicker of hope inside you just refuses to die, no matter how many times you hear the nonsense? 


Well, you come to realize a very similar feeling flares up when you contemplate the idea of taking a vacation - just you and someone of your choice - to some exotic destination.


True, you’ll hopefully  never find a bed as comfortable as your luxury mattress you spent so much time and money on. But we’re talking about roughing it in the style only older folks can manage.  


First consideration is the bed. Second, the toilet facilities. Somehow the bladder or even sphincter muscles don’t always work the same way  as they used to. 


So ahead of taking a vacation you need to decide on the following:


Can you afford it? How much are you willing to pay for memories? Late though they may be?


Are you traveling solo? Most accommodation deals favour two bodies in a room. However many bus tours have several single seniors aboard! 


When do you want to go? Wherever you plan, the shoulder months are good to consider.


You can tell a lot of things by the weather too. I used to love the heat. Couldn't get enough of it, baking in the sun, slathered in coconut oil. Those were the good old days, before the protection of sun block lotion. Now, thanks to that, we have become really good clients for the dermatologists.




I don't love the heat any more. Neither do a lot of people I know. That's seems to be part if the aging process too. It's like your body thermostat gives inaccurate readings of what's comfortable. On the other hand, I can't stand cold either. I like even temperatures. Preferably with rain every evening, and mild sun every day. That would be good.

I find most of the time I'm pretty content these days. I'm fortunate to be healthy, not to have any grey hairs, not to worry about makeup,  just moisturiser and sunscreen. (We do learn from our mistakes!)


Who are you?

After the first shock of actually realizing that your body is aging, and not that gracefully, it’s time to evaluate what kind of person you want to be. 


Your actions at this time of life will determine how you are regarded by your fellow agers and others. 


Will you spend too much time griping incessantly about change, or will you find joy and embrace the richness that change can bring?


Stepping out and spreading your acquired wisdom can be regarded as value by other generations.  But do it kindly, and without criticism. No one said you can only have friends within your own, and new friends bring new joy.  But always remember, too much re hashing of old stories is boring. Very.


Giving a listening ear is perhaps one of the greatest ways you can serve others,  and in turn reap great joy in the aging phase of life. People love to talk about themselves. If you become a great listener you’re golden.  Your focused  listening ear becomes a magnet. Hearing aids have nothing to do with this ability.  It’s all about generosity of giving something only you can afford.


Wacky adds interest


Be slightly wacky. People expect that of you as you go through aging, but make it nice wacky. You’ll think of ways you can give to find joy. My personal enjoyment comes with buying 10 scratch ‘n win lottery tickets and randomly giving them out to folks that look as though they could use some hope! Their looks of delight bring me great joy. 


Maybe each day we live should be a day of gratitude that we are still here, able to do the very best for ourselves and others.  You can consider it as an adventure towards patience. Aging actually may have its benefits. I can't remember thinking like this in my younger years. 


If you have enjoyed this philosophizing please consider commenting below. It’s free, and your email address is never shared. You don’t even need to use your real name!



Garden Glimpse

Sarracenia mixture in my garden consists of several different types of this plant in two large containers. These plants work vaguely like the Venus fly trap, in that they live on bugs that they attract with an attractive smell. Once the bugs enter their trap they cannot get out again. Look closely, you can see digested bugs inside some of them. They are brightly coloured, hardy and very attractive, not only to the bugs! They must be kept damp with regular watering. It works to put a container underneath the one they grow in. The only way to kill them is to use any fertilizer. Their only nourishment is the bugs they catch.




6 comments:

  1. Congrats on your move, V! Looking good!

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  2. Hi Ange, looking forward to the migration being complete and setting up shop in my new digs! My Tylenol is depleted!

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  3. Hi Vickster,
    I will follow you anywhere. Here's to smooth sailing moving forward.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Mareer, thank you so much! Helps to know this!

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  4. If this is any indication, your new site looks great! As to aging, I think you have the right formula. Keep smiling and enjoy each day as it comes.

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  5. Peggy, thanks so much! Always great to hear from you. Thanks for your kind words.A move is a challenging thing.

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