Tag Archives: aging

Ship

For much of my life I believe I was quietly waiting for my ship to come in. I say quietly because I didn’t talk much about it. It wasn’t secret exactly but the feeling percolated beneath the surface as I went about my life. That “ship” was vaguely defined; it could have been a great man or a great job or writing success, for a few examples.

The ship never came. It isn’t coming. What I see now is that the ship is already here. It always was here. Your life is your ship. What you build is the ship. If you sit around waiting, what you’ll have is a big pile of materials that never got used, that were never crafted into a sea-worthy vessel.

I’ve used a ship metaphor on the blog before when, a couple years ago, I said my life needed some tweaking & compared it to a ship in need of a change in direction. Ships don’t turn on a dime. They creak and groan, reluctant to leave the path they’re on, as they churn forward on momentum. The older you get, the slower changes come. I’m not talking here about quick or abrupt changes later in life that come, say, when someone has a heart attack or stroke and is then impelled to modify all sorts of things about their life. Or the person who abruptly leaves a long-time relationship or family for a fresh new one. Those seem different. Lifestyle changes generally are more gradual with age.

My mother was always “waiting.” She did not model for me the idea that a person is – must be – self-motivating. My father harangued and railed but didn’t teach skills or demonstrate how to build a life. Not surprisingly, none of my many siblings were especially adept at this self-directing business either, at crafting a grand ship for themselves to sail through life on. None of us, I believe, understood that you were your own ship and that it could be no better than what you designed. Further, I don’t think any of us truly grasped the role of setbacks and failures, that they should be expected and handled. Our blueprints were no good.

I do now see my life as a ship I built and continue to “tweak.” I put on a captain’s hat and found my way to the bridge. It may not be grand but it’s most certainly mine. I stopped waiting.

Youth in the rear view

Many times when older people see a younger person, they’ll say something like, “I wish I could be 18 again.” This type of commentary is sometimes delivered as if the youthful person either a) doesn’t deserve their youth or b) is deliberately affronting older people simply by existing. [Insert crotchety tone]: “Youth is wasted on the young!”[End crotchety tone.]

I have no time for such complaints. Assuming they live to be that age, nobody gets to be 18 (or 20 or 25 or 30) longer than anybody else. Older people had their turn at bat. I had my turn at bat. If you wasted your chance at being 18 (or 20 or 25 or 30), assuming no mitigating circumstances that were beyond your control, well, too bad for you! Too bad for all of us!

Older people like to talk also about how they’d “do things differently” if they could be young again. Really? Ya think? My youth is in the rear view mirror and I don’t kid myself that, if I was the same person I was in my younger years, I’d do anything differently. “Oh, if I could only do it over again!” people lament. Frankly, put me back there, as the person I was then, and I sure expect I’d do the same stupid things, whatever they were. What’s more, when people wish they could go back, they always imagine how much better it would be, how they’d not make the same mistakes, and so on. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that, given the chance, they might just as easily do MORE stupid things and make MORE mistakes.

Short Thought #258 (old age)

Note to self: when you get old don’t go around announcing your age to people looking for praise. Far too often when an older person proudly states their age, as in “I’m 80!” I am thinking, “Really? I was thinking more like 90.” 😐

About them 2019 resolutions…

Okay, so I did all right. I won’t be crossing quite everything off the lists but I’m basically satisfied. In both 2018 and 2019 I made highly specific “kinda, sorta resolutions” tailored to me. It’s worked out well.
I read 33 books. The goal was 20. I did most of my reading in the early part of the year. I put check marks by 13 of them, indicating which ones I really appreciated.  I can’t read the way I used to; it takes more to hold my attention, more to get me to sit in a spot for hours with a book. Because of that, six of my 33 were books I’d read in years past and wanted to read again. Sometimes I just need a sure thing. I have little patience these days for trying to get into a book, trying to relate to characters, or trying to care about the subject matter. I get restless. And I KNOW there are books – like all things – which can hold me; it’s a matter of finding them.

A year ago I bought a yoga mat and a DVD player for the TV in the living room, the only place (other than outside!) where I have space for doing yoga. As with the reading, most of my yoga was done earlier in the year. I am very active outdoors most of the year and didn’t need more exercise of any stripe. Because I hadn’t totally factored that in I fell somewhat short of my intentions. I’ve done the five-minute “sun salutation” 38 of 50 planned times and the 30-minutes of yoga just half of 25 planned times. That said, when I DID do yoga it was usually in 40-45 minute increments per the instructional DVDs.

I like yoga. I don’t worry much about fussy breathing or learning all the poses’ names, or anything that might daunt, bore, or intimidate me. To me, yoga is exercise. Exercise focused on strength, balance, and stretch. It’ll make your body move in ways it wouldn’t in the normal course of a day which is an especially good idea for anyone who is aging. Otherwise you end up like the tin man!😯 I want to be strong, agile, and spry as long as possible. The way I live is dependent on it at many levels. I will not go down easily. I know I’ll be doing yoga over the winter.

I did ZIPPO with learning Italian from cds. That fell off the map in short order because I wasn’t enjoying it and I wasn’t learning Italian. All I can say is I recently heard “piazza” somewhere or other and knew it meant plaza.😐 I think I ‘d like to learn – or try to learn – key phrases and words at least as a starting-off point rather than attempt the language itself. That, or I need different cds. I felt inept very quickly with the set I was using. Other than English, I have never felt I had an aptitude for languages and my opinion after this year hasn’t changed a whit.

Thai cooking wasn’t a success either. Thai cooking, it seems, requires a lot of ingredients I don’t typically have and more trouble than I wanted to invest. I did attempt spring rolls because I love them when I have them out but mine, which I decided to bake since I cook NOTHING in pots of oil, were okay, not great.  Instead, I continued to make this Thai-inspired cole slaw. If I can find more recipes like it, I’d definitely try them. Lime, peanuts, cilantro, be still my heart!

I watched a lot of DVDs, both movies and series. I had wanted an idea of the number since I’d never kept track. The thing I realized is that as with books, I need the right movies or series to hold me. I ADORE movies, as I adore books and music. But a lot of each is just average, nothing special, not to me. I want the gems, the ones I get excited about, the ones that thrill me, and make me sit back in awe of someone else’s brilliance and accomplishment. How did they do that?! That’s the feeling I want. That’s why I read, watch movies/series, and listen to music.  I want to have that O-MI-GOD feeling. Am I demanding? Do I expect too much? Yeah, well maybe. But once you’ve had that feeling, it’s Continue reading

Short Thought 210 (women aging)

I find it interesting and sometimes perplexing how other women view their own aging. Some years back I was talking to an older woman, who was missing a front tooth. She said the only reason she would get it fixed was so as not to scare children. She acted resigned about her appearance. She said, “If you can’t be the best, why bother at all.” I was too surprised to respond but thinking about it, I know I appreciate it when other women (and men) take care of their appearance, no matter their age.