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:
“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.”
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?
“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?
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.)
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.
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.
“You must do the things you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt
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?
Forget what the mirror says, what age are you inside? Or maybe you feel many ages . . . Grab your writing tool of choice and see where this thought takes you. Put away your inner critic and start writing or typing.
Summer is approaching, and I am looking forward to that time of year when life seems to naturally slow down and I get to catch up on books I haven’t read, dip my toes in the water and breathe a bit more deeply.
I freely confess to a first-world aging problem.
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.
In order to your get creative aging juices flowing, I'm going to offer writing prompts from time to time. These are questions to get you thinking about yourself in different ways. So, grab your writing tool of choice (laptop, pen, pencil, paper), find a comfortable spot to sit and put your critical voice on hold. In fact, tell your inner critic to leave the room.
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.