What Have You Gained as You've Aged?" A Writing Prompt Response

Back in May, I posted the following quote by Viktor Frankl "Why are we so obsessed with what we lose as we age, and unclear about what we gain?” and asked you to take a few minutes to write down what you’ve gained as you’ve aged. A dear friend of mine took this to heart and wrote a list of what she gained as she’s become older. She prefers to remain anonymous, which, BTW, is always an option if you want to post! Below are her thoughts:

Being Forgetful Can Actually Make You Smarter, A Hyperreal Nude Redefining Beauty, and Aging Hippies in “Hair”

Over the past few months I’ve come across some relevant and interesting articles/videos pertaining to “Creative Aging.” Thanks to my friends for thinking of the blog and forwarding many of these to me. Below are links to a few of them. Enjoy!

Reluctant Planning By Debbie Leaman

“You should learn how to use the snow blower in case I’m not here one day,” my husband Howard mentioned over dinner last winter. No snow was predicted.

I put down my fork. “What do you mean not here? Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. But maybe you need to learn a few house things, you know, just in case.”

Lake O'Hara, British Columbia - Photograph by Howard Leaman

“Even a cloudy day in the mountains is beautiful.”  - Howard Leaman

“Even a cloudy day in the mountains is beautiful.”

- Howard Leaman


Howard Leaman, MD is a retired Sleep and Occupational Medicine physician, and in the winter, a ski instructor at the Alf Engen Ski School at Alta, Utah. Read about his journey into retirement: “Retirement: Diving Into Danger.

Do you have a personal essay, a photograph or poem on aging you'd like to share? If so, I'd love to see it.  Send it my way! Together, we can continue to build an online community - a forum to share our stories and images on aging.

Join the mailing list for info on upcoming workshops, writing prompts and blog updates.

I Remember Cars by Jan O'Neill

It is a peaceful storm, snow drifting and floating, lulling me into memories. Years past, fall away like lazy snowflakes.  I drink coffee and reminisce about you, my sister.  My older sister whom I loved to be with, who took me on adventures before my time.  I remember cars.  So many memories. So many questions.  What has become of you and me and those cars from way back when?

How to Improve Your Health and Well-Being: Become a Mentor

How do you keep your legacy alive while increasing your well-being? Become a mentor. In The New York Times article by Jane Brody, “Want to Leave a Legacy? Be a Mentor,” Marc Freedman, the founder of Encore.org, says, “The real fountain of youth is the fountain with youth. It’s spending less time focused on being young and more time focused on being there for the next generation.”

My Life According to Food By Michele Straube

The first few months of retirement gave me time to reflect on what provides meaning in my life, what I really value and want to spend time on.  Then came the month of December, a month filled with three family birthdays in addition to all the usual celebrations.  I realized that food plays a most essential role in how I move through my days.  Yes, I need food to survive.  But food is so much more than physical nourishment for me. 


Love for Women Who Are Apples By Leah Forster Gauvin

When I was in high school, I was so slim that the history and government teacher took my best friend aside to ask her two questions: 1. Was I anorexic?; and 2. If not, was my family too impoverished to feed me? (Neither was the issue, I was just thin and a dancer.)

Writing Prompt #4

“I write because I’m afraid to say some things out loud.” (unattributable)

You know those niggling voices in your head? The ones you try to ignore? The problem is, the more we ignore thoughts swirling around inside of us, the more powerful they become. What do you want to say out loud?

What's the Definition of “Old”? It Depends on Who You Ask

On a recent trip down south to visit my daughter, our Uber driver complained that to us that he’s “an old man.” He’d just turned 60. Wait, I’m 60! If anything, I’ve just accepted that I’m no longer middle-aged. So, who’s right? What defines ‘old’?

In The New York Times piece by Steven Petrow, “Am I Old”?, the meaning of “old” depends on the person you ask. (Published December 13, 2018.)

Jubilation By Holly Webster

Me, retired? The word ‘retirement’ seems repugnant— dismissive and a relic of old social norms. It conjures up images of shuffling around in slippers, padding quietly through the days, waiting for the end. I'm not quiet. Nor do I shuffle. That’s not who I am.  And, I am certainly not waiting for the end! 

Aging—Who Me? By Pat Clay

For each of us aging will be different. For me, the revelation that I was aging was stunning. I say revelation because I had never thought much about age. Each milestone along the path to 80, was met with a shrug and a comment such as “it is only a number.” Now, there are fewer milestones left in my future and the number just gets higher.

Fishing Without a Hook By Lynn Decker

Boxing up the last odds and ends of my work life, I sorted thirty-four years of books, papers, talismans and stuff among a few boxes and the overflowing recycling bin. I reached for one particular talisman, a button pin – Fishing for Solutions. Faded from years of exposure to finger oils and sunlight – it was smooth and perfect, nice in the hand to finger and flip while thinking. Given the handling and the dozen office moves during my career, I am not sure how it survived. It both reminded and inspired me – of the chase, chance and opportunity that every day and every challenge presented. I’d been working the last 14 years in fire and forest conservation across the U.S. The wicked fire challenges for people and our forests was both a passion and compulsion – and now it was over for me.

A Sad Week in Our Country (from my October 29, 2018 newsletter)

I would be remiss if I didn’t convey my grief over the horrific events of this past week. Normally, I keep my monthly updates strictly related to the blog posts and upcoming workshops, but the massacre in Pittsburgh felt personal. I only hope and pray that we come together as a country to eliminate fear of the “other,” heal our wounds, and find common ground and understanding.

2018 Silver Pen Writing Contest Winners Announced

Silver Pen Writing Award Partners, Salt Lake County Aging & Adult Services, Salt Lake County Library, and Salt Lake Community College Community Writing Center, invited all older adults to participate in the 2018 Silver Pen Writing Contest by writing and submitting their own essay or poetry based on JOY . . . read the winning essays and poems . . .

Her Majesty by Judy Martin

Judy Martin Elephant.jpg
Judy Martin photo.jpg

Judy Martin finally retired at age 70 after over 30 years of enjoying herself as a business owner in the financial services industry.  Now she indulges herself with her addiction to travel.  She continues to be challenged by her on-going pursuit of painting.


Do you have a personal essay, a picture or a poem related to creative aging (any artistic expression will do!) that you'd like to share? If so, I'd love to see it.  Send it my way!

Join the mailing list for info on upcoming workshops, writing prompts and blog updates.

Is Aging in Our Minds?

man on beach.jpg

It’s all well and good to try and keep ourselves physically and mentally fit, but as we age our bodies and minds aren’t necessarily cooperating with us. So what’s the “secret” to aging well? In “The Secret to Aging Well? Contentment” from The New York Times, Robert W. Goldfarb says, “Despite having many friends in their 70s, 80s and 90s, I’ve been far too slow to realize that how we respond to aging is a choice made in the mind, not in the gym.”

(Essay published in The New York Times, October 2, 2018, by Robert W. Goldfarb)

Read the complete essay from The New York Times . . .

Do you have a personal essay on aging that you'd like to share? If so, I'd love to read it.  Send it my way!

Join the mailing list for info on upcoming workshops, writing prompts and blog updates.