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Category Archives: Aging – 2009
My feelings about aging all seem to revolve around not doing it. I don’t mean physically aging, and I don’t mean growing in wisdom. I mean becoming old in attitude.
The attitude that so often sees things ‘as they had been’ as being the best it will ever be. ‘Back when I was a kid’ or ‘When we were raised’ are cliches that are covers for not being willing or able to see new ideas and new ways of doing things.
The resistance to the new can start early, just think about how the best music ever probably was the music that came out when you were in high school and college. After that it all went down hill. Did it really? Didn’t you simply get use to certain musical ideas and then closed yourself off to new ones?
When Igor Stravinsky debut of the ‘Rite of Spring’ the audience became enraged and revolted against it. Why? Because it was an idea so new that it actually caused them pain. That of course changed over time, until now that same music is seen as almost safe and boring. It took time, but people have accepted it, it’s not new, it is not painful.
What I try to do is withhold judgment of the new until I can get use to the idea, start to understand it’s value. It is one way I work to not be ‘old’.
quote by Pearl S. Buck, Author
Having dealt with my elderly father all week, trying to get him up and moving after a hip break, I have seen once again how important motivation and enthusiasm is to recovery. In his case we are helping him remember his friends back at his assisted living home (his girlfriends at his dining table in particular)!
But enthusiasm is more than motivation. It is about interest, curiosity, feeling like you have something to reach for, something you want to know about. In my father’s case he has started to think he might want to live to 100. It’s a goal, it’s something to think about and imagine.
We are encouraging that by saying we are expecting another party (we have one every 10 years for his big birthdays) so we expect him to live to 100. He might not make it, we understand it, and he understands it. But we have hope, and we have enthusiasm and we impart that to him as best we can. That is the key, not just to have it in yourself, but to figure out ways to impart it to others.
Drawing by Marty Coleman, the Napkin Dad
My father is on the roller coaster that is old age, bone breaks and lung congestion. Not an easy thing for him to deal with. His efforts are continuing to cause me to think about the whole process of aging.
I remember when this quote made sense for the first time. I was talking to someone much younger than myself. I realized that he didn’t have the flow of time I had. He had gone through 25 years of life, and for him to consider the next 25 he had to project. I, on the other hand, had all 50 years to remember. I had the age of 30 in my memory, the age of 20, the age of 40. I hadn’t given up any of those years, I had just added to them.
It helped me realize why younger people can so often not understand older people. They simply have to take a much greater leap than when an older person has to understand a younger person. They haven’t lived that age yet. Of course, many older people forget what it was like to be young, but that is an issue for another blog entry!
quote by Madeleine L’engle, Author
Everything fun you do can be seen as something you should know not to do, that you should ‘know better’.
Whether it is mountain biking, dancing all night, surfing at 6 in the AM or twirling your kids around by the arms someone will think you are crazy or not being responsible or frown upon it for some reason. I say grab your joy, your kids, your surfboard and go have at it. Do be responsible, but at the same time don’t let a stick in the mud stop you from playing in it!