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.
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.
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 . . .
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.
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)
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A friend of mine had a severe undiagnosed mental illness. No one knew this, and she didn’t want anyone to find out. Among other symptoms, she would lose time.
I'm not sure when it happened—the first time I looked in the mirror and didn't recognize what I saw. Who was that older person staring back at me?
How should I count them? Which . . . or who . . . qualifies?
My cousin-in-law sends birthday greetings to his female relatives telling us we’re “aging backwards.” I’ve always thought it was a cute sentiment, but realized on a recent hike that it might actually be true for me. Thanks to the miracles of modern science and a strong stubborn streak in my family history, my aging future looks more active and agile than my middle age past.
My mom died two years ago at the age of 94 1/2. Recently, while stressing out over tests for breast cancer, I have been thinking of how Mom comported herself as she too was tested, poked and prodded in her last years. Believe me it wasn’t pretty.
Bill Funk has been a hobby and a professional photographer for over 30 years.
Years ago, I left an investment career to become a freelance writer. During the day, when my husband Howard was at work and our two kids went off to school, our house was my domain. I worked at my desk in a common area off the kitchen where sunlight poured in through large windows—a luxurious and quiet space where I wrote without distractions and answered to no one. It was perfect.
And, then, last summer, Howard retired.
“What are you doing with your time, now that you’ve retired?” That was the question the Ski School Director asked me during our pre-season ski instructor orientation. My answer to him was not even close to adequate, especially when I realized that many of my friends have been wondering that very thing for themselves. What I’ve been doing is not so much a “list,” as much as a continuing process of calibration.
Initially, thinking about going from a busy medical practice to “retired,” I'd developed a sense of impending dread. Would I become useless, cranky and senile? Would my health deteriorate? Would I “fail retirement,” and become depressed with nothing to do, and have to go back to work?
No— I’d prove my continued vitality.
As age consumes me, slows my stride, and tips me over, I began to gather walking sticks.
At age seventy, I signed up with a matchmaking website for seniors. If you haven’t tried online dating (and it was all new to me), the first hurdle for a woman ‘over a certain age’ is to get past the idea that meeting someone online is too much of a fringe thing, and that goes against everything our generation was warned about.
But if you decide to give it a try, here are some things to consider. First, you’ll need a ‘handle’ for your profile. Remember the days of truckers on their CB radios using nicknames like GoodBuddy and RubberDuck? ’ Well, a dating site is like that. So how do you choose a name for yourself that gets attention without being . . . what? . . . too coy, as in Needaknight? Too suggestive, like Sweet&Low? Too anything?
For years I've resisted setting up a blog. I'm a deliberate writer, so feeding a blog when I'm not inspired or don't have time isn't something I felt comfortable with. But, about a year ago, when I was preparing my Creative Aging writing workshops, I scoured the web for personal essays on aging and I came up short. I couldn't find any sites for these types of pieces. And that got me thinking . . .
I’ve taken ski lessons since the age of seven, and have always hated them. I’ve been led down chutes, over precipices and through the trees, and have panicked more than once. While I love to ski, and want to improve, I struggle to keep my fear in check.
So why, at the age of 57 did I become a ski instructor?