For those of you over 40 or over 50 or over 60, have you thought how old you “feel?” Do you feel your age? Do you feel as old as you are? What are the preconceived notions about aging? For the younger folks who may read this, how do you perceive peers or people you know that are your parents’ age or older? Do you think the photo above depicts “old” or “youthful?”
A lot of questions and unknowns about aging and how to do it best for you…
There are a lot of stereotypes about aging in the media. Many organizations like www.nextavenue.org and www.growingbolder.com have taken on the task of reinventing the images, perceptions, and experiences of aging in America. The stories about some of their champions are fascinating and encouraging…can you imagine being 90 and thriving? I think we don’t see enough of these types of stories, and we, unfortunately, still continue to be bombarded by the media with frail and ill elders who are on tons of medications and needing help to live out their days (for years…).
I have great memories of my maternal grandmother’s aging years…she has some style, that woman. She stayed “young” until she died fairly quickly at 85. I marveled at her unique, uninhibited fashion style, her opinions and discussions about everything, her daily crossword puzzles to keep her brain sharp as a tack, and her vigorous quest to be in the know and keep an attitude of youth as she grew in her wisdom. She was a kid in an aging body, but she managed to keep even that aging body fit to have few medical problems or aches into her 80’s. I have also had a few “young” older patients (including US Veterans) who had a special presence about them, a youthfulness and vigor that was enviable and admirable. And the visits were always too short, as the discussions revolved mostly about their life, their experiences and still active dreams, and definitely not focused on any significant diseases or list of medications that needed to be managed (a mere sidebar, so to speak).
Aging, and aging well, is definitely a privilege. The speed at which life is flying by is not lost on me. I try to glean as much information and wisdom from my aging mentors…they have so much to give us in terms of knowledge. It’s priceless. Their stories should be heard and seen.
I am fascinated by the whole concept of getting older and crushing it, dispelling the myths of aging. And when I say crushing it, I mean through physical activity and continuing to challenge myself through training and competing (only against me, always doing my personal best and trying to improve each time), mentally through continuing to learn new skills, emotionally through opening myself up to vulnerabilities that I may not have consciously chosen when I was younger, and socially and culturally, putting myself in situations that make me a more informed, tolerant world citizen.
So here are some questions about aging that I wonder about but that people don’t want to talk about…
- For those of you who are a bit older, does your current aging trajectory look like your parents’ or grandparents’ aging years?
- Are you excited or anxious?
- Does the future look bleak, or does it look more and more exciting because you care less and less about what others think as you grow into your best self?
- What’s the best thing about aging for you right now?
- Is there a “worst” thing about aging?
- What are you worried about as you age or as your family members age?
- What are you doing to keep your vitality or stay functional and well?
Drop in the comments your thoughts—I’d love to hear. Post number 6 of 30 days of blog entries. Thanks for any feedback.
By the way, how do you get to “see” others’ entries? How do you get notified by WordPress? I see people liking some of my posts, but I never get notified of anyone else’s unless I go to their photo after they’ve liked the post. If anyone can shed some light on this, that would be awesome as I’d sure like to read some other blogs. 🙂