lizardek's obiter dictum lizardek Home Now Then Friends Info Ek Family
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GROWING OLD IS MANDATORY, GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL*
I have, and have had, so much to do that I keep forgetting I've done things. I've always been proud of my memory but it seems to be failing me more and more lately. Or rather, I suppose it's I who have overburdened it so badly that it's staggered and fallen to its knees (beneath my hairline). My memory has fallen and it can't get up!

When do I start worrying about Alzheimers? When does the Part-heimers cross the line? When I can't remember who I am? Where I'm supposed to be? Which of my children has a birthday in July? When I find the milk in the pantry and the cereal in the freezer? When I walk into a room and suddenly stop because I can't remember what I came in there for? Oh wait, I've been doing that for years.

Ugh. It's an uncomfortable feeling, nonetheless.

What consequence of aging do you fret over most? And don't tell me you don't fret about aging, regardless of how young you are. Even if you think that things are better now then they ever were before, there must be somethings that make you pause and hrm to yourself. Maybe it's the creakiness with which you climb out of bed, or the fact that your glasses have more than one setting, or how those darn kids mumble: EH? SPEAK UP!

Maybe it's the way you turn all Roger "I'm too old for this shit" Murtaugh-ish when your children drag you on some crazy escapade. Or how you start yawning at 9 p.m. when once you could have stayed up talking all night. Maybe the fretting only hits you when you have to congratulate a colleague on her TWENTIETH birthday. Or when an acquaintance remarks that he was in kindergarten when Challenger exploded.

But I think one of the hardest things about aging is the realization that inside I am still the same. The same as I was when I was a child, at least to a great extent. The same as I was as a teenager, the same as a young woman. Even though I have changed and grown and learned, my self doesn't feel any older to me. And it's a strange thought to know that even when I am 60 or 70 or 80, that will still be true. I'll still feel like my SELF, young and able to do anything, but my body will have other ideas and will call me whippersnapper and tell me to get off the lawn.

Cracking Me Up: When Stereotypes Come to Life

*Chili Davis
tired
mood: tired
music: Show of Hands—Real Love


Comments

At 65, it is scary to realize that over half my life is over. I have an aunt who just died of Alzheimers and I fear that condition terribly. I know I'm morbidly obese and terribly out of shape and have no desire to change that, but it scares me to think it will eventually kill me, just when I have a new granddaughter to celebrate. Growing old sucks. But the trip from 0 to 65 has been an interesting, sometimes exhilirating, sometimes gut-wrenching one. I wouldn't start over again for anything.

I remember someone who was turning 50 telling me that it was weird to think that she'd never again live as long as she already had (pessimist!), and it does feel weird and awful to realize that the time left is shortening.

Doesn't having that new granddaughter make you want to do something about your weight, just so you can be around longer than you might have been if you DIDN'T? I wouldn't want to start over again either, but I wouldn't mind starting from maybe 20-ish just for fun. :)

When I hear creaking as I go up the stairs and I realize it's not the steps making that noise.

The other day the kids were watching some weird claymation-type video of Curious George from the 70s and he got on a record player and spun around until it threw him off. I realized that neither of my kids had ever seen a turntable or a record. Ingrid thought it was a toy. So I showed her a record and she thought it was cool and impossible that music was on there and that a needle would make it play. My records were my life and now they're obsolete and children don't even know what they are. And I'm only 40!

We have a whole shelf of records on the bottom shelf, tucked away in the computer room. We don't even OWN a working turntable...or rather we do, but it's American and can't even run on a transformer here. I remember how much Karin laughed about the Walkman...I don't dare get out the LPs! :D

I will turn 50 in a couple days. I feel the same as I did at 20, although I do creak more now than then. The one thing that bothers me, the hurdle I have not yet managed to jump over, is bifocals. *laugh* At the moment I switch back and forth between two pairs of glasses, but after all the sight problems I know that it is in my best interest to bite the bullet and get bifocals now. *laugh*

I did a couple of years ago and they didn't take much getting used to, honestly. :)

As a kid, I visited a local old folks home pretty regularly. It scared the crap out of me. Pretty much *everything* about the aging process terrifies me when it comes to the physical stuff. Though I can't say if I fear a loss of physical faculties with my brain power remaining or a loss of brain faculties with physical power remaining more. (If I lose my mind maybe I won't notice? But the burden on those who love me - oy!)

And I totally agree on how my self still feels like me despite my age. The vehicle may be different, but the motor is just the same!

That's a great analogy! :D

What consequence of aging do you fret over most?

it might be just me suffering from this, but HAIRS ARE STARTING TO GROW EVERYWHERE WHERE THEY ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO!

and, there's that collagen issue too...

:)

oh, btw, did you FORGET i told you about the mental effects of stress? alzheimers? ageing? bah! it's probably just the stress you keep ignoring. you tough american, you.

Stress, schmess. :P And I agree with you about the stupid hair!!!

Age is just a number

But it's aging that we're talking about, eh? :) As you know, I'm getting over my ankle surgery (healed very well, btw!). The severe arthritis was making my ankle hurt to walk and I remember the first time I used the motorized scooters they have in some stores. Even though not many people were there at the late hour to see me, I felt like I aged 20 years.

During my recuperation I've had to deal with some of the issues older people must: not being weight-bearing, needing assistance to do things I would have done on my own and just plain feeling more tired. I saw and met so many people at the care facility/ nursing home, with mobility issues that weren't going to get better. It made me realize how independence affects our identity.

I think the only way to deal with this is with honesty and acceptance. Doing what you can about it but letting go of the ego. I'm reading Oprah's new book (Awaking to YOur Life's Purpose) and it talks about how our ego gets attached to who we think we are- who we see we are and/ or how we think others see us.

It's like you said, Lizardek.You are the same. We have a spirit that is the same. We are more than what we see or what others think. Maybe it's hard to remember that as we face getting older. But could we ever trade it for our younger self? Not me.

Re: Age is just a number

I think what's equally hard is remembering that this holds true for OTHER people. When you look at other people, even the ones who are annoying you or driving you crazy, it helps to think that they are actually someone young inside, too. :)

Re: Age is just a number

Here is what I am still learning... our true self is not a younger version.

Quote from the book, Awakening to your Life's Purpose:
"Ego is a conglomeration of recurring thought forms and conditioned mental-emotional patterns that are invested with a sense of I, a sense of self. Ego arises when your sense of Beingness, of "I Am," which is formless consciousness, gets mixed up with form." End quote

Our true self is not young or old. It just is. The book says it better than me:

"You realize your true identity as consciousness itself, rather than what consciousness had identified with. The ultimate truth of who you are is not this or I am that, but I am."

An excellent, thoughtful post; I completely agree with your closing paragraph.

Here's what I've observed at my 49th birthday:

--Being able to no longer worry about birth control (although there is still a moment of fear when my periods are late...but not nearly as much as when one is 20!)

--Impossibility of going without a good night's sleep. I really pay the price the next day if I go out late. 10 years ago I could stay out well past midnight and still work clear-mindedly the following day.

--My back hurts constantly. Constantly. And that's never going to get better

--My short-term memory is no longer acute. I can't multi-task as I used to be able to do. I'll ask my kids a million times if they've brushed their teeth before we depart in the morning...too distracted by other things to retain their response. This was not the case years ago; I could listen, remember and execute many things at once.

On the bright side: I care far less about what people think. I'll go out in jeans and tennis shoes and look really American and not worry about "not looking Parisian". I'll speak my mind and not worry about being perceived as a bitch. I rarely have moments of "esprit d'escalier" because I say what I want to say when I need to say it. Not to the point of rudeness, but more that my voice merits being heard just as much as anyone else's.

Also, I really really really live each day as if it might be my last. I'm much more conscious of the fragility of life at 49 years old than I was at 30.

I live for sleep. :D And the whole not being able to multi-task thing scares the crap out of me. How will I manage if I can't multi-task?! I've never particularly cared what people think, so I don't imagine that will change much. And I agree with you about living each day more in the now than I used to. Time is precious and it's all we have.

(Anonymous)
getting old

... when you start repeating the same stories over and over again!

What a great and thoughtful post Liz. My dental surgery sure put aging into perspective for me. And then there is that thing you speak of here~ I still feel like my eighteen year old self, inside. Sometimes it creates hilarity. Sometimes it’s fiercely frightening.

Having watched my Dad a few years back, after my Mom's death, as he succumbed to Parkinson’s and Asbestosis; watching as he became unable to button his shirt and his mixture of frustration and anxiety over asking for help gave me a good dose of the frightfuls ~ in relation to myself anyhow. I never minded helping my Dad. I minded his feeling of diminishment.
So, having said that, I hope as I age and whatever comes my way, I can find the elegant dignity within myself as help on mundane tasks may try to rip that sense of dignity from me.

"elegant dignity" while aging...something to aspire to, for sure!

(Anonymous)

What a perfect way to say what really is on the minds of all of us as we age- no one wants to feel diminished. And, all the more true for those of us who so value independence. I wish for more patience in dealing with my Mother at 91+ years - who still really doesn't want help or to be told what I think would help! I am experiencing exactly what Lizardek will be feeling a number of years down the road! Lizardmom

I highly doubt that I will be experiencing the same things, Mom. Although, it WOULD make me happier if YOU lived only half an hour away!!

Yes, independence or the feeling of it was SO important to my Dad. He was in fear of losing his driver's license. He scarcely ever drove himself, not at all toward the end; but just knowing that he could if he wanted to afforded him so much relief and dignity. He always had one of his daughters drive him, still, he did not want the powers that be to give an official, you can't do that anymore.
Yes, independence or the feeling of it was SO important to my Dad. He was in fear of losing his driver's license. He scarcely ever drove himself, not at all toward the end; but just knowing that he could if he wanted to afforded him so much relief and dignity. He always had one of his daughters drive him, still, he did not want the powers that be to give an official, you can't do that anymore.

And there were other simpler flags of self~dignity.

I think the Native cultures had it right regarding the respect of our elders. I think the way the elders were treated and yes, even helped when getting less able, was done with such respect and dignity and was such a woven in part of the culture, that surely this diminishment problem rarely existed. Now modern culture had invaded even the sense of respect for elders~

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