Zen of Ageing

To wrap up the final day of the A to Z Blog Challenge, here is a thought about the joy and the zen of ageing.

The Zen of Ageing

“I love getting older. My understanding deepens. I can see what connects. I can weave stories of experience and apply them. I can integrate the lessons. Things simply become more and more fascinating. Beauty reveals itself in thousands of forms.”

— Victoria Erickson

Advertisements

You Know You’re Getting Older When…

Just a few laughs for our ‘Y’ day in the A to Z Blog Challenge.

older1

older2

older3

older5

older4

Xtraordinary Grandma

grandma moses

Xtraordinary Grandma

At age 76, many people are starting to slow down and start relaxing in the later, older years of life. This grandma started something new, something that would bring her national acclaim and a lasting legacy. Her new pastime would lead to her being featured on the cover of Time magazine in 1953, and Life magazine on September 19, 1960 honoring her 100th birthday. A US postage stamp was created in her honor in 1969.

Anna Mary Robertson Moses, born September 7, 1860 is more commonly known as her painter name, Grandma Moses. Known for her American folk art style, her work has been featured on greeting cards and other merchandise, in addition to the actual paintings.

Grandma Moses began painting late in life, at the age of 76 when her arthritis made her give up her current creative outlet, embroidery. She was a successful painter for more than 25 years and produced over 1,500 works. Initially she charged $3 to $5 per painting. As her popularity increased, her pieces sold for $8,000 to $10,000. In 2006, over forty years after her death, one painting, The Sugaring Off, sold for $1.2 million.

I doubt during her lifetime she could even imagine how popular her works would become or the staggering amounts of money some would sell for so many years after her death. She was simply a woman who loved life and lived it to her fullest, even if it meant taking up a new pastime in her 70’s.

grandmamoses.jpg

60lifecover_grandmamoses.jpg

Words from Holly

17553591_10211240821569141_5802344449483333208_n.jpg

In Memory of Holly Butcher

Words from Holly

This message popped up on my Yahoo page  as I went to check emails. I was intrigued and wanted to read this mysterious, moving message from a dying lady. The link took me to Holly Butcher’s Facebook page, where this post had been posted four days earlier. When I read the post –in a mere four days – it had already been shared 36,435 times. (As of today, this shared number has jumped to 161,583 shares with over 239,000 likes.)

Holly’s words touched my heart and really made me stop and search deep inside. At this time I’ve been working on Embracing 60 for several months, off and on. As you’ve read by now, I started writing this in an effort to change the way I thought about my approaching milestone birthday. I wanted to begin embracing the new age on the horizon, instead of shrinking in fear and dread.

And here are beautiful words from a 27-year old lady on the eve of her death. She writes about how she longs for just one more Christmas, one more birthday. And I’m whining because I’m about to turn 60! Really? I’m already had 33 years of life that Holly never got the chance to enjoy, plus whatever years are waiting for me on the backside of 60.

I’m ashamed at myself. I’m ashamed that I even have the gall to bemoan this upcoming birthday. And I resolve to take Holly’s words to heart, to bring them with me into the approaching days as I instead embrace this gift, this beautiful extraordinary gift of life that I have ahead of me. And instead of cringing about the numbers ahead that end in ‘0’, be they 60, 70, 80 or higher…instead I vow to live each day with the fervor, appreciation and grace like the young woman Holly, who penned the following words did.

You can read her full post here.

Here are a few words from Holly:

A bit of life advice from Hol:

It’s a strange thing to realise and accept your mortality at 26 years young. It’s just one of those things you ignore. The days tick by and you just expect they will keep on coming; until the unexpected happens. I always imagined myself growing old, wrinkled and grey- most likely caused by the beautiful family (lots of kiddies) I planned on building with the love of my life. I want that so bad it hurts.

That’s the thing about life; It is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right.

I’m 27 now. I don’t want to go. I love my life. I am happy. I owe that to my loved ones. But the control is out of my hands.

I haven’t started this ‘note before I die’ so that death is feared – I like the fact that we are mostly ignorant to its inevitability. Except when I want to talk about it and it is treated like a ‘taboo’ topic that will never happen to any of us. That’s been a bit tough. I just want people to stop worrying so much about the small, meaningless stresses in life and try to remember that we all have the same fate after it all so do what you can to make your time feel worthy and great, minus the bullshit.

I have dropped lots of my thoughts below as I have had a lot of time to ponder life these last few months. Of course it’s the middle of the night when these random things pop in my head most!

Those times you are whining about ridiculous things (something I have noticed so much these past few months), just think about someone who is really facing a problem. Be grateful for your minor issue and get over it. It’s okay to acknowledge that something is annoying but try not to carry on about it and negatively effect other people’s days.

Once you do that, get out there and take a freaking big breath of that fresh Aussie air deep in your lungs, look at how blue the sky is and how green the trees are. It is so beautiful. Think how lucky you are to be able to do just that – breathe.

 

Victory Dance

Things are not always what they seem. Jenny Darren, a 68-year old woman from Cotswold, proves that. She appeared on stage for Britain’s Got Talent dressed in dowdy attire, complete with hair up and wearing a pink cardigan over typical English granny clothing. And then…well, that’s all I’ll say here. I don’t want to spoil the surprise. She may be 68, but she’s anything but an old woman!

 

Unstoppable – Mary Houbolt

Unstoppable – Mary Houbolt

race-696237__340.jpg

Mary Houbolt celebrated her 60th birthday in a most unusual way. No birthday cake complete with black candles and black crepe paper streamers for her. She competed in her first Ironman triathlon.

If you’re not familiar with the Ironman, it’s the granddaddy of triathlons. It’s one of the most grueling and one that can intimidate even the fittest athlete. It’s a race that combines a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run.

No, I can guarantee you that competing in one of these is not on my Turning-60-Agenda! But that didn’t slow Mary down. In 1989, when she was 32, tests revealed that a lump in her breast was malignant and the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. Her two daughters were ages 4 and 6 at that time. Despite the dismal diagnosis with a slim chance of survival, aggressive treatment sent Mary’s breast cancer into full remission.

And here was now, looking 60 dead in her sights. So, she went for it.

She began exercising and training seven days a week, and after 14 months of training was ready. She didn’t expect to win. Her only goal was simply to complete it. (Ha! I write ‘simply’ as if just completing the Ironman is a simple thing. No it is not!)

She not only finished the event, she won in her age group!

As Stephanie Booth writes in her article about Mary:

One triathlon’s enough for most people. Mary had a different take. “I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll keep trying,’” she says.

Mary kept going. She was unstoppable. Booth reports that in the past seven years Mary competed in 9 Ironman competitions and over 20 other triathlons. She also competed in Race Across America, where a four-woman team cycled 3,000 miles across 12 states. She and her team “finished in 7 days and 11 hours, setting a record for women between the ages of 60-69.”

Booth writes:

Mary just turned 67, but she won’t be slowing down anytime soon. “I will not grow old gracefully. I don’t want to just sit on the couch.” Each time she competes, “I feel lucky to be alive,” she says. “I think, ‘Life is great. I’m really glad I was able to keep mine.’”

Cancer didn’t stop Mary 29 years ago. And age isn’t stopping her now. This unstoppable icon is an inspiration to me. If she can do all that…what can I do?

The Person I Have Become

T

April is the A to Z Blog Challenge. We’ll be posting to a different letter as we work our way through the alphabet. I’m posting snippets from a Work in Progress, Embracing 60, scheduled for release this June. Thanks for joining us! Come back tomorrow for thoughts on the joys, delights, and sometimes aggravations about reaching milestone birthdays!

The Person I Have Become

sombrero-1082322__340.jpg

I can’t take credit for this terrific piece about ageing. It’s one of those things circulating in the virtual time-suck world of Facebook. To whoever wrote this in the first place – Kudos to you! I enjoy the sentiment you share and admire your attitude.

But, since I don’t participate in the Facebook ‘share this post with so many people’ items, I didn’t share it. But I’ll share it here, with hopefully more than 7 people.

 

Enjoy this. I am forwarding this to those on my “mature” mail list because it is so well written. Please send back. (I did) It’s neat. Don’t delete this one, you’ll laugh when you see the return message.

As I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to, and less critical of, myself. I’ve become my own friend.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world, too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read, or play on the computer until4 AM? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60s & 70s, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love, I will.

I will walk the beach, in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves, with abandon, if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And, eventually, we remember the important things.

Sure, over the years, my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break, when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody’s beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength, and understanding, and compassion. A heart never broken, is pristine, and sterile, and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and too many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being older. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).

Sixty Things to Celebrate Sixty

S

Sixty Things to Celebrate Sixty

60.jpg

August 2017

The magical age of sixty is fast approaching. Too fast for my liking. I’ve heard the horn blasts as it speeds down the tracks towards me long before I even hit birthday #59. And since #59 has come and gone, it’s like I hear the minutes ticking away every day. 364 more days. 363 more days. 362…well, I’m sure you understand.

You may possibly relate to these feelings. It may not be about that particular number. It may be the 3-0 birthday breathing down your neck. Or the 7-0 milestone. Or, as my mom – who hit 80 last year – says, “Just give it twenty years.”

Knowing that this birthday is going to be more difficult for me than some of the others (neither 40 nor 50 threw me into a tizzy like this one), I’ve been trying to remain positive and see how I can embrace the next birthday. I’ve been collecting examples of inspiring women well past that age that are running circles around me. I’m ‘making my list and checking it twice’, but this list is reasons to embrace the upcoming event.

I’ve been following a blog for the past month or two – Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond. Today, on her Thursday Thoughts, she had a guest post by Wendy from The Art of ‘Why Not’? – ‘6 Practical Ways to Do More of What Makes You Happy.’ In it, Wendy writes, “When I turned 50 last year, I compiled a list of 50 experiences I wanted to complete in 12 months.”

What a marvelous idea! I can steal borrow her idea, tweak it for my 60th and have a whole list of 60 things I want to do, achieve, or experience once I turn that magical age. And the best part is – I saw this before my birthday and I have ten months to work on my list!

I want my list to be meaningful, but I also want it to be fun and full of things that will bring me joy and exuberance. I also want the activities to be something special. I can’t put that I’ll read 12 (or 50) books because I’d do that anyway, whether I was turning 60 or not. This will give me a reason to celebrate this upcoming birthday, and enjoy the celebration all year long!

I also agree with Wendy’s thoughts about what this list is not.

She writes in her post:

But first, let’s be clear on what this list is NOT:

  • It’s NOT a Bucket List. That’s way too morbid; I don’t plan on kicking said bucket anytime soon. This is a “Let’s Have Some Fun!” list!

  • It’s NOT I wanted a list of things I could actually accomplish during the next 12 months. As incredible as climbing Mount Everest would be, it’s just not going to happen before next September.

  • It’s NOT a “To Do” list. Almost everything on here is experiential, relational, or involves learning something new. Everything has that “Why Not?” element! I do have the ongoing “To Do” list just like everyone else, this just isn’t it.

(Go read her whole post. I know you’ll enjoy it. Here’s a link again.)

This idea for my Embracing 60 Yearlong Birthday Celebration is still in its germination stage. I haven’t started creating the list yet. But you know, all of a sudden I feel the excitement building. Maybe this whole ‘Sixty’ thing isn’t going to be so bad after all!

Just Wendy’s list fueled my muse, I hope you find some inspiration here to create your own list of fun and exciting ventures to look forward to. The best part is – you don’t have to turn 50 or 60 to do this. Write down some adventures and achievements that you’d like to see happen in your life. Even if it’s only ten or twenty things – go for the gusto and wring every bit of happiness out of life that you can.

Don’t sit back waiting for the perfect time, or the right amount of money, or the optimum space in your life. When we do that, the task of daily living soon takes over and consumes all available time. Soon the days from sunup to sundown are back to back tasks and chores. Even if they’re all necessary components of the life we want to live, if we don’t make time to create magical moments, they won’t happen.

Don’t let the thought of coming up with a certain number of ideas overwhelm you so that you never get started. You don’t have to come up with your list all in one sitting.

Quick – think of three things you’d like to do. Write them down. Tomorrow, add another three things. And the day after that. Add more ideas if they come to. I think you’ll find that once you start looking for desires to add to your list, you’ll be more open and you’ll discover far more than you knew you had.

 

April 2018

Well, here we are even closer to 6-0. Now it’s only two months away and I have to report that I didn’t get a single item written on my grand Birthday Celebration list. It was a great idea. I blogged about it, using the prior words as my post. When I posted the link on Facebook, one of my friends commented underneath: Why wait until 60? Why aren’t you doing these now?

Hmmmm…why not, indeed? Why was I waiting? I agree in theory with the idea of celebration and making it a grand year. But I had ten months to go. Why was I going to wait until I hit that magical number that beckoned from the future?

So…I skipped the list. I decided that my friend was right. Although it’s great to celebrate and embrace an upcoming decade mark, the true value is in rejoicing in each and every day, regardless of the number that’s tacked onto that day in time. The ’60 Things’ list died that day, but not my spirit of being appreciative of each 24 hours I am gifted with. Instead of ’60 things’, I shall revel in my life with 365 days of love, laughter, family and friends; while I learn a few new things along the way.

Ronnie Martin Nails It

R.jpg

Ronnie Martin Nails It

In another snippet I shared about a terrific 81-year old woman that won on Ireland’s Got Talent. Today, for our ‘R’ day I’m giving a shout out to an American lady that’s rocking her 60’s. Two years ago Ronnie Martin was on America’s Got Talent. I saw a Youtube clip of it. She began singing. And by the way, I thought her first song choice was great. I thought she was doing a wonderful job. (Of course, I sing only in the shower and only when no one else can hear a single note!)

Evidently Simon Cowell didn’t think it her performance was as wonderful as I did. He asked her to sing another song. She went into Natural Woman, by Carole King, and nailed it. She got a standing ovation from the crowd and four yes votes from the judges.

It’s two years later and I’m watching this clip and I, too, vote ‘yes’. Yes for her voice, her spirit, her attitude, and for that killer outfit she’s wearing that I’d die to have. (And I’m a jeans and T-shirt gal.) Ronnie Martin is rocking her 60’s and if I slide into my 60’s with just a fraction of her sass and style, I’ll be one happy gal.

 

Quitting is Not an Option

Q

April is the A to Z Blog Challenge. We’ll be posting to a different letter as we work our way through the alphabet. I’m posting snippets from a Work in Progress, Embracing 60, scheduled for release this June. Thanks for joining us! Come back tomorrow for thoughts on the joys, delights, and sometimes aggravations about reaching milestone birthdays!

Quitting is Not an Option

Eileen Kramer is a woman who does not have ‘quit’ in her vocabulary. She moved back to Australia at age-99 – not to retire, but to keep dancing. Her 102nd year on this planet kept her busy. She was busy choreographing a performance to celebrate her 103rd birthday, and she played the lead role of the 17-year old princess.

Here I am, writing this to combat my dread of turning 60. And my mom, at age 81 laughs and says, “Just give it 20 years.” I halfway shudder as the thought of turning 80 runs through my mind.

Yet Eileen says of 80, “80’s boring! Never let yourself be 80.” She continues in the interview, “Just skip 80. 103 is quite interesting!” She says the best years of her life have been since she turned 100. This is not a woman that’s sitting down and quitting on life. She’s still moving, still creating, still dancing. And she made that 103rd birthday celebration too. You can see snippets of it here.

What a woman! What a vibrant and enthusiastic attitude. I may not take up dance, as that’s not really my thing. But I can keep moving and creating. I can make sure that I live my life with an optimistic attitude. Watching Eileen and reading about her makes me feel like this ‘60’ road hazard I’ve been cringing about is but a small minor blip.

 

Previous Older Entries

August 2018
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031