R: Regrets

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R: Regrets

You know you’re old when your regrets overcome your dreams.

It is utterly false and cruelly arbitrary to put all the play and learning into childhood, all the work into middle age, and all the regrets into old age.

Margaret Mead

I’d never thought of it in this way, but after reading Margaret Mead’s wise words, it seems she’s right. Life does tend to get lumped into these three stages. As I’m nearing the outer edges of the ‘working through middle age’ stage, I don’t want to slide into an old age full of regrets.

Yes, there are some things I didn’t do earlier, and some things I couldn’t do. But I don’t want to turn into one of those cantankerous, grouchy ‘old’ people.

I think of a little video clip I saw on Facebook a few days ago. Irene O’Shea, is an Australian woman who just celebrated her 102nd birthday with her third skydive. She celebrated her 100th birthday with her first jump and has celebrated each birthday since, first giving her the title of world’s oldest woman skydiver, and this last jump giving her claim to world’s oldest skydiver.

O’Shea’s daughter died from Motor Neuron Disease (MND) ten years ago. She is skydiving to raise awareness and funding for the MND Association of South Australia. I don’t think that O’Shea is a woman that is living her life with regrets. I want to have her attitude as I get older, trying new things and living without regrets.

https://people.com/human-interest/irene-oshea-oldest-skydiver-102-years-old/

Q: Quite True

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Q: Quite True

Growing old isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.
Author unknown

This is such a true statement. Because as much as we (I) can mumble, grumble, and complain about getting older – I’d still much rather age and get to a very old age, than go with the alternative.

Although it’s a given that one day each of us will be leaving this earthly planet, we don’t want to get there too soon. We want to have as long a life as possible, enjoying our time here with family and friends. So in looking at the two doors that are available to us each day – one opens to a day older and closer to old age, while the other one is a direct transport to a heavenly sphere – I’ll take the doorway that leads to growing older as long as I possibly can.

P: Pendulum of Age

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P: Pendulum of Age

At 8 yrs of age, we can’t wait to be 10; there are two digits.
At 10 yrs of age, we can’t wait to be 13; officially a teenager.
At 13 yrs of age, we can’t wait to be 16; the age which we can drive.
At 16 yrs of age, we can’t wait to be 18; legally an adult, able to vote.
At 18 yrs of age, we can’t wait to be 21;
legally able to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages.
After 21 yrs of age, we forget our age.

 

There it goes, the pendulum swinging in one direction. Get older, get older, get older. We were never old enough. We always wanted that next birthday – then the next one. Just a little older. Just a few years more. We can’t wait. Hurry and get here. Hurry! Hurry!

And then…without warning…the pendulum swings in the other direction.

Now we have enough years. We want to go back. We want the numbers to start decreasing, not increasing. Wait! Slow down! Don’t go so fast.

It’s to no avail. The pendulum swings in the direction it’s going to. We have no say in the matter.

It’s funny though, how rare is the person that’s perfectly content with wherever they are on the spectrum of the pendulum swing.

O: Old Age – Not a New Concern

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O: Old Age – Not a New Concern

I admit that I am an old man.
I read my years in my mirror,
others read them on my brow. ~
Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch), letter, c.1366–1367, translated by Morris Bishop, 1966

I found it interesting that over 650 years ago, Francesco these words about admitting to being an old man. It seems that concerns about ageing are not something new. Now, I have to admit, that taken out of context of the rest of the letter, I really don’t know if he was fretting about his age, or simply acknowledging a fact. He possibly wasn’t concerned or worried about it at all. It could merely be a statement that he is now old. That he sees his years in the mirror, while others see them on his brow.

Which isn’t anything new. I’m often surprised when I see the woman in the mirror staring back at me and I often don’t immediately recognize her. Especially if it’s on one of those days where my mind still feels as if I’m a young (or at least youngish) girl – and possible the rock and roll is blasting. (Interesting side note – my music is now called ‘classic’. It’s not ‘oldies’ any more. Oldies was my mother’s music.)

I have to admire Francesco’s direct statement – I admit that I am an old man.

Now, I don’t know if I could make that same bold statement. At sixty I don’t feel as if I’m ‘old’. I’m definitely old-er. Much older than the youngster once prancing about the yard in her brand new coveted white go-go boots, singing ‘These boots are made for walking.’ Older than the brash, young 18-year old I once was. Older than the 30-year old young mother.

I suppose it’s all relative. To my sons, who are now the 30-year old fathers, I’m possibly old. To the grade school child next door, I’m most definitely old. To my 70-year old dear friend, or my 82-year old mother – nope, still a young whipper-snapper.

Guess you know who I’ll be hanging around with as often as I can!

N: Not Your Age

N: Not Your Age

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You are not your age. We are not our age. I am not my age.

No, we are all much more than that. Our age is simply a tick mark on the calendar. It is nothing that defines us.

At which point I’m going to stop reflecting on this so that Erin’s words can ring true in our hearts.

M: Maturity

This year as the A to Z Blog Challenge celebrates its 10th anniversary, and I’m working on my book (and attitude) about Embracing 60, I’m sharing some A – Z posts about ageing – some of them humorous, some of them serious.

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M: Maturity

A man’s age is something impressive, it sums up his life: maturity reached slowly and against many obstacles, illnesses cured, griefs and despairs overcome, and unconscious risks taken; maturity formed through so many desires, hopes, regrets, forgotten things, loves. A man’s age represents a fine cargo of experiences and memories.

~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wartime Writings 1939-1944,
translated from French by Norah Purcell

A man’s age represents a fine cargo of experiences and memories. What a beautiful thought. Somehow I tend to look at the obstacles, griefs, and despairs in life and see them as a negative – things to muddle through and ‘survive’. Yes, I’ve become more mature through these experiences, but I’ve never given them the credit for adding this depth to my life. When I look at the past through this lens, I realize that all the events and happenings that I’ve labeled as negative can truly be counted as blessings.

This slow ageing through the years, like a fine wine mellowing in its oak cask is a fine cargo I can boast of – it’s not something to bemoan and whine about.

I’ll claim the maturity that is mine, which I’ve earned through these past sixty years, while acknowledging that life is not yet over and there is still much to learn, enjoy, and embrace.

L: Lost Youth

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Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.

Betty Friedan

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I want to raise my fist in the air and holler out ‘You sing it!’ Not lost youth. I must repeat these words and engrave them in my heart. If I look at ageing as lost youth, then I am encompassed in an aura of loss, fear, regret, and longing. I need to shift my eyes from this focus and look ahead to the glorious new path that lies ahead – opportunity and strength. And with that shift of attitude I embrace a positive and optimistic outlook that appreciates the blessings that come with ageing, those that are there when I make a point to look for them.

K: Kindred Spirits

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Old wood best to burn,
old wine to drink,
old friends to trust,
and old authors to read.
~Quoted by Francis Bacon, Apothegm

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Fortunately I don’t have to burn wood, so I don’t need to know that old wood is best. I’m not a wine drinker, so the old wine part escapes me. But old friends and old authors – ah, now you’re speaking my language.

Then I think of the hours I spend in museums, in antique stores, and hunting down tidbits about times, days, and people long past.

Yes, I can agree, old is best. Old is a kindred spirit to my soul, so why do I not embrace it as thoroughly as an old friend or old author?

J: Jubilation

AtoZ2019tenthAnn

 

I’m going with a change of plans here. Plan B. As in – I changed my mind. Which I’m allowed to do as I get older. Especially as I get older.

The original ‘J’ post was going to be: Just Kidding. I found this fun quote:

I still have a full deck; I just shuffle slower now. ~Author Unknown

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Relating back to the ‘D’ day – Dyeing Laughing – I was going to go with the humor again. But before I got the reflection part written to go along with this fun quote, I read one of the blogs I follow. Melodie Davis, author of Another Way newspaper column, also has a Finding Harmony blog. She was writing about her retirement, from the publishing company – not from her newspaper column – and she wrote the following words.

“This marks a different kind of life passage and with it the inescapable reality that I am getting older. Some writers I know have started using the Spanish word for retirement: jubilado or jubilación. As in the English word, jubilee or “jubilation”. Does that bring a different twist to it? A celebration of joy, euphoria, even triumph!”

What a wonderful thought! Jubilation! The joy, the excitement, the celebration of the ageing experience.

Immediately the ‘Just Kidding’ got tossed to the side so I could share Melodie’s thoughts of jubilation. It’s not a word that I typically use – especially not in conjunction with the ageing process. But just thinking about it through the lens of this different word leads me down the path of merriment and festivity. Rather than listening to the litany of moans and groans about the aches, pains, and inconveniences of growing older, now I’m looking for a party.

Thank you Melodie for brightening my day and bringing a smile to my face as I look towards tomorrow and the days that follow with a jubilant spirit.

I: Inevitable Process

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Aging is an inevitable process. I surely wouldn’t want to grow younger. The older you become, the more you know; your bank account of knowledge is much richer.

William Holden

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Mr. Holden is 100% correct. It’s inevitable. It’s going to happen. If we’re not growing older then another scenario exists and we’re not six feet above ground. (See Faith Hill’s comment from the ‘G – Good Attitude day) I’ll take the inevitable ageing over the alternative.

And – younger? Although it sounds like a tantalizing concept, would I really want to go back and relive any of those younger days or years? Not a chance!

So I’ll take a tip and I’ll learn to appreciate the increasing bank account of knowledge that comes with the advancing years. It’s a perk that’s not always mentioned when people start bemoaning that they’re getting older.

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