A year ago, when I saw that the United Nations had designated a world-wide day of celebrations for the older persons in our societies I initially smiled, but then I found myself asking the question – what happens during the other 364 days? Do we still continue to celebrate the wonderful elders in our communities, or do we conveniently forget them as we go about our daily existence? Continue reading “Celebrating The International Day of the Older Person”
I was in the middle of a conversation with a lovely young man the other day when he said something that had me burst out laughing – not at him but his comment. He had said that he often feels that he’s too old to change. My laughter was at the fact that he is in his 40’s and I am about to head out of my sixties so in that instant his comment had me asking the question – if he’s too old what does that make me?
We did continue the conversation for a while as he expanded on what he was actually meaning, that he can’t be bothered, and while he did, I had another question arise – who or what determines that we are old and what does old really mean? Continue reading “Who or what determines that we are ‘old’?”
The saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ has been a saying which I have always found so wise and so true, and that in judging another by what they look like on the outside or how they are behaving, we are often missing out on the truth of what is ‘written’ on the pages within. And now as I am ageing and my ‘cover’ is becoming a little more worn by the year, this saying has taken on a whole new significance.
The pattern of judging another is a horrible one and a pattern that I have been choosing to remove from my life for some time now, as I have come to see it as very harmful for all concerned. Sadly, it is a pattern which I have slipped into over the years, often without realising that I was doing so. It was like the judgmental thought was there before I had even thought about it – that used to puzzle me; how did it appear so quickly? Continue reading “Don’t judge this ‘ageing book’ by its slightly worn cover!”
‘Ready, willing and able’ is a saying that I have heard many times over the years and you probably have too. And I know that on occasions, I have used it as well. But as I am growing older, I am starting to realise that sometimes I am having to rewrite the ‘able’ bit, as there are days when my able-ness is not equal to my readiness and my willingness. And that can feel rather frustrating to say the least.
This state of bodily affairs has snuck up on me rather quietly and a little too quickly it feels. The ‘young woman’ who I still feel I am inside, is now having to come to understand, often the hard way, that she has to stop and listen to her ageing body if she wants her life to flow smoothly, without getting tired and without setting off discomfort or even pain in her body. A big lesson and one, that in the process of talking to others, I am coming to understand that many find challenging to learn. Continue reading “I’m Ready, I’m Willing – but am I really Able?”
I had a big wake-up call recently as to the fact that there is always a possibility that I might not “be here tomorrow”—in simple terms—I may have left this life, not just because I am an ageing woman but through an accident or sudden health event. This wake up call came about when a beautiful local woman, whom I knew but hadn’t seen for a few years, died in a car accident very close to where I live.
That night as I sat there thinking about her and the wonderful legacy she left behind in the community, I asked myself a question, “If that had been me, what sort of a mess would I have left behind for my family to clean up?”, in other words; was my will up to date, did my family know what bank accounts I have, what outstanding bills, who to call, what to do with my ‘stuff’, and even, what will they think of the state of my drawers, cupboards etc! The list was very long. I soon realised, that even though a couple of years ago I had taken steps to get my affairs in order, they sure weren’t as orderly and up to date as they could be.
I got an opportunity the other day to stop and deeply consider what the true beauty of an ageing woman is; and the opportunity came from a Facebook post. It was a photo of two seemingly very old women with their weather-beaten skin deeply etched with decades of lines and wrinkles, and with a distinct absence of teeth, but their faces were alive from their smiles and their laughter. The caption read something like: – “we were young and beautiful but now we are just beautiful”. Their joy-filled smiles certainly had me smiling as I looked carefully at what I was seeing and allowed these words to sink in.
In the past I may have looked at these women with critical eyes, asking where the beauty was, and I am sure others would have done the same. But this time all I could see was the absolute joy emanating from these glorious smiles, and I could feel a deep love of themselves and each other, such was the energy coming from them; their beauty was coming from the inside along with a tangible feeling of sisterhood.
So, I got to contemplate on what I had just been presented with, and some questions quickly arose – what is beauty for a woman and where does it come from, and who determines what beauty really is, especially for an older woman?
Before I go any further, I have to own that I am not an exercise expert in any shape or form and nor will I ever profess to be. I have been, however, an expert at avoiding exercise for much of my life; nothing to be proud of but I felt I need to be honest right from the beginning about my relationship with exercise. And it is now glaringly obvious this avoidance did not serve my body in any way. But what I have come to know over the last few years, without a shadow of doubt, is that exercise is absolutely essential for the ageing body; for a body of any age, in fact.
Many things change in our lives as we age, and looking around, I observe a tendency for many older people to slow down their participation in life, including their level of exercise, as their lives begin to slow down. I certainly have, as for the last 10 years I have allowed my overall fitness to slide and with it has come the struggle to do things I have always done, with ease. And I know for sure that sitting for many hours at the computer each day, has added to my ‘physical decline’. But does this have to be the way it is? Continue reading “Exercise and the Ageing Body”