STAYING STRONG AS LIFE GOES ON
As Mae West was the first to admit, “Aging Ain’t for Sissies.” But it isn’t all doom and gloom, providing you have been lucky and know how to do what you can with all you have been given. Here’s an article that provides some tips. The Art of Aging Gracefully
I have been lucky. I know now that not being a raving beauty during my youth and teens has made aging easier. I didn’t focus a lot on beauty. I have not suffered about aging as much as some of the prettier women I know have. I did what I could, to look the best I could but no more. Not too much into hair care, particularly as I aged, I became too lazy to dye my hair and yes, there was a period of when it was pretty mousey, but now it is shining silver. I stopped going to the beauty shop for hair cuts when my income diminished and now my hair is both long and silver. One of my nice aging memories is having my grandson exclaim once, “Your hair is sooo beautiful.” Here is a picture of my aging self for those of you who haven’t seen me ever or in a long time. Not bad for seventy-three and a half if I say so myself and I do.
Just like not being the prettiest girl in town had an up side, so did having a learning disability. The word processing capacity of computers drew my interest long before anyone else I knew became a geek. That has translated into having a rich on-line life that has helped me in three ways. It allows me to write and share my writing. As I become increasingly deaf, my geekiness allows an alternative way to communicate. Most of all it has given me new friends and enriched my relationship with many real life friends.
The article makes it clear that loss and change are part of aging. The also article points out those on the Downhill Slope are survivors and most likely accustomed to or growing accustomed to loss and change. I’ve had my share of struggles, but something always kept me trying to move forward and so I have learned the value of two things–persistence and goals; persistence to keep moving forward, goals to have something to move toward.
I have also lived both poor and well off. So I have learned to enjoy the one, but not take it for granted; I have also learned how to make the best of the hard luck times. Retirement meant a loss of income and the poorer times of my life have made that easier. It also meant the need to find cheaper housing. We could not stay where we were. Particularly as the economy turned sour. Both retirement and moving west have been a huge changes as well as meaning the loss of easy time with friends and family who live back east.
The decision to move to Denver was mainly so we could be near our newest grandchild and to help with his care. We never would have come here on our own. But it has been a blessing. Both of us love sunshine and hate humidity. I hate summer heat. New York is famous for its heat and humidity. Colorado has 300 days of sun a year and no humidity. What’s a little snow and occasional cold. David would have preferred Florida, but we both have veto rights. David is happy here, although still thinks about Florida. Much of life is a having to trade-off something for something else. He still would like more heat, but is almost as happy as I am being here.
Also I have vowed always to live within an hour of one of my sons; although hopefully not with them, but at least close. The lure of being near a growing grandson was by far the most important reason for picking Denver. Being Ben’s care takers when Amy has to be in the office gives our lives more meaning and lets us do good– two ways to stay strong.
Retirement has not been without other benefits. I am into health and more so as I age. Exercising is much more on my list of must do and although not easy, being retired has made it easier. I have more time. Moreover, Colorado is a walker’s paradise. I miss the people on the streets of NYCity, but Colorado offers more in terms of beauty.
More time has also made eating and cooking healthy foods also easier. Between that and the walking, I have slowly managed to let go of the weight my doctor wanted me to get rid of.
And more time has meant maybe I will get to write that novel of my dreams and build up my blog so Emotional Fitness Training helps people stay strong. Whether either of those goals are reached is up to life, but I at least have the joy of working on both.
The article makes it clear that having lots of friends and a caring family matters a great deal. Being on the down hill slope also means the loss of friends and family. I am so grateful for my sons, that we survived the hard days and are there for each other. That is probably the biggest blessing in my life and moving away from where Zach and Max live the hardest part of our move.
The article is frank about another downside–prejudice. I have refused to become invisible or seen as a wearisome old woman, but it does take a bit of work. What has helped has been practicing kindness and gratitude and working on my comedic skills. I do like to make others laugh and the older I get the better I seem to do that. Of course, it is mostly self-deprecating humor; humor that hurts others violated my code of kindness.
One line that usually gets a little laugh is to reply when asked, as all the cashiers must ask,now-a-days. “How are you?” I reply–“Doing good for an old woman and it certainly beats the known alternative.”
So if you are on the Downhill Slope appreciate what you have, it probably won’t last, be kind, laugh as much as you can and when others are rude, comfort yourself with the idea that aging is unavoidable and life will teach them what you can’t.