“A Story I Haven’t Told You . . . “ is the theme for the 2019 Silver Pen essay and poetry contest. Here’s your opportunity to tell that one story you haven’t told! Entry requirements:
"Why are we so obsessed with what we lose as we age, and unclear about what we gain?” Viktor Frankl
I admit it, as I age, I can’t multi-task the way I used to without screwing something up, let alone hike for hours without feeling an ache (or two) somewhere in my body the next day.
Alden died today. The view remains. Rhyolite spires up-canyon. Mesquite here below. Those don’t change. All else changes. Miles from anything. Center of everything. We loved it.
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.”
“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.)
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!
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)
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.
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.