I read recently about a woman, a new mom, in another country who had wanted to have a baby for all of her married life, which was a very long time considering her age as of this writing, but was unable to. Finally, she conceived at the tender age of seventy, or something close to assisted living age.
You know you’re getting older when:
‘Spring forward, fall back’ is less about time changes, and more about trying to get out of bed.
You think CVS sells IPads, and that your doctor can help you with your Androids.
I am compiling a list of ways that I know I am officially of the ‘older generation’. This isn’t easy for Boomers to wrap their minds around, y’know. Especially when we are still listening to the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead. We still think we can change the world, but we’re too busy to try. We salute the flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance with fervor, but remember the days when our contemporaries burned the flag, and we understand why they felt that way. We love all the new gadgets, but are perfectly happy without them. We know we should dress our ‘age’, but take things from our kids’ closets, anyway. Following are other ways things have changed:
1. Nothing surprises you anymore.
2. You hear the ‘hidden’ agenda in everyone’s statements, and take nothing for granted.
3. Everyone younger is suddenly as ‘cute as a button’.
4. Sneezing unexpectedly can be very risky.
Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about how our brains start to age and lose the capacity to keep even the most inane conversations afloat by about the age of 45. It used to be thought, in our fog of denial, that this wouldn’t happen until much later in life. Then, that changed to warnings about hitting sixty, and being prepared to forget where we put our car keys. It seems we are becoming obsolete earlier and earlier, according to the scientists whom we pay to tell us bad news.
Huffin’ and puffin’ up my mountain trail, my best bud and walking companion, Jupie, and I approve the walking tool, the walking poles. I don’t know where the inspiration came to me to try these out. I have been recovering from a sports injury, and have had to give up walks for the last several months. Bicycling and swimming are always good standbys, but if you want to exercise conveniently with the dog and the family, nothing beats a neighborhood walk or hike.
I didn’t start out thinking about fighting wrinkles. I’ve been merrily trying to figure out ways to substitute vegetable and soy based foods for the flesh foods we eat. We feel better physically and emotionally, when we don’t eat our ‘fallen comrades’. However, it takes a wizard in the kitchen to figure out what to cook for dinner that won’t bore everybody to death. Not that anyone has complained so far, but I worry about these things.
I located the Loma Linda vegetable protein varieties at the local health food store and have been using them to replace the flesh foods. Tonight I cubed boiled red potatoes and sauteed them with onions and black beans. Into that I put the nuggets that come with their own gravy. It was delicious. They are not necessarily soy based, but occasionally I’ll use the soy crumbles I find at the grocery stores for spaghetti and tacos.
I read recently that the processing used on the soy crumbles can be worse for you than eating a double cheeseburger. I am still investigating the truth of that, as it is not unheard of for one food industry to bad mouth another. It wasn’t all that long ago that the soy industry was bad mouthing the coconut oil industry. Aside from the whole hydrogenating thing, islanders who use coconuts for everything are pretty darn healthy.
Women who consume soybeans, miso, and tofu noticed a marked improvement in their skin’s elasticity, so scientists have come to the conclusion that soybeans fight wrinkles. Researchers attribute this to the aglycone, a soy isoflavone. Isoflavones are phytoestrogens, and are antioxidants that possess some ability to fight certain cancers such as breast and prostate. They warned against eating too much soy however, as they’ve linked it to breast cancer.
I wrote this post two years ago during the anniversary of the ‘Summer of Love 1969′. I also just discovered a fortieth high school reunion is being planned up in Oregon where I attended high school, and for those who are into ‘signs’, this is my 69th post on this blog. Too weird and wacky. I still like the sentiments I wrote about two years ago:
Lately it seems, I have been thinking a lot about high school. The main reason is because Classmates.com just charged me again for membership, and I keep meaning to cancel it. In between the charges, I completely forget about the site and high school. The other reason it’s on my mind is because it is the fortieth anniversary of the ‘Summer of Love’.
I went to Classmates.com yesterday to update my profile and post a pic. I figured I may as well use it for a little while, and try and remember to cancel it before the next charge comes through. I don’t know or keep in touch with anyone from high school, but I thought it would be fun to make connections with a few people. And I would love to go to a fortieth reunion in two years! What a groovy trip that would be!
I started looking at my yearbook too, and thinking about all my classmates. Their faces are familiar and strange, at the same time. They are familiar, because I’ve had my yearbook for many, many years, and so I know what to expect whenever I open it. The faces are frozen in time, the girls so pretty, the boys so young and fresh. It is strange to think about connecting with people across a divide of time as wide as puberty to menopause. It’s almost as if nothing happened in between!
There is something so intrinsic to high school that is forever embedded in our memories. I remember some things about elementary and junior high, but high school was a time of being on the verge. On the verge of adulthood, on the verge of college, on the verge of marriage and children for some of my classmates. I remember running into one girl shortly after graduation. She had married, and had her baby with her. She seemed so adult and apart from my girlfriend and I. She was settled and a mother, we were just starting to plan out our adventures. That girl now could conceivably be a great-grandmother! At my age! The baby we saw would be headed for forty, and if he/she had a child and that child had a child at the same age she did, well…
I always think of my friends as being the age they were when I met them. That’s good for them, as they never really age in my mind’s eye. The same is true of my high school classmates. Time, distance, memories– these are the true fountains of youth. Those children are forever youthful, hopeful, and beautiful.
To age creatively is the reward for reaching a ‘certain age’. No one gets through this life unscathed. If we live long enough we all experience loss and pain; we all experience moments of great joy, or humiliation, or embarrassment. Some people wonder what the point of suffering is; there may be no point at all, except for the strengths and compassion you may develop by simply persevering and keeping faith. I don’t like to preach too much on the subject, because while I’ve had my share of sorrow and losses, others have experienced unimaginable horrors, and I can’t speak from that perspective.
As life proceeded, most of us left behind gifts and pursuits we enjoyed at one time and at which we excelled. They brought us joy, and as the stresses and responsibilities of life lessen, we can find gifts of the spirit again. There may come a time when you feel bereft and stranded; you’ve reached a point in life where people, and interests, and occupations seem to be going away from you. Your core may feel hollow and empty; rest assured this is a temporary condition. If you were a whole person once, you can be again.
It takes time, the reclamation of the buried spirit. Sometimes, people can’t even remember those things that brought them pleasure or a sense of purpose and accomplishment. A catalyst for remembrance, is remembrances. Old scrapbooks, crafts stored away, film and cameras unused and untouched, journals of stories and poems, any one of these things, and a thousand others may help to spring free the prisoners of memories and interests.
You may find interest in something you never even thought about before. A good avenue to discovering new interests is to take classes at the community college, or to volunteer somewhere. Personally, I’ve never had any luck at volunteering. I’ve offered my services to building trails, or serving at shelters but was always turned away. They either had enough volunteers, or I didn’t have the experience they needed. Going through college catalogs, which are online now, is a great way to find something you may enjoy learning. If you attend class and find you don’t like it, there are timelines for dropping classes, and taking something else. I’ve tried woodworking, quilting, and pottery because I’ve always thought I’d enjoy making crafts. Turns out, I don’t think I do. I love other people’s efforts, but I don’t have the patience. I haven’t given up though; I may enjoy stained glass, or hooking rugs. I know I enjoy writing, so I can do that at any time!
Creative gifts can be active and social, such as joining a dance troupe, or little theater. They can be more solitary such as gardening, hiking, or photography. If you’ve been active all your life, but have become sidelined by health issues, you may find satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment in reading great classics or writing poetry. If you’ve been a homebody and would like more action and socializing, you may enjoy taking a dance class or a class in English literature, or a language class.
For a period of time a person may feel stagnant or stuck. It’s ok not to know what the future holds; this may be the time to clear out things that we don’t care about any longer. Cleaning out closets, and simplifying your life is a beginning to a clear mind. It has taken me a long time to decide on my path. I have gone through different jobs and educational endeavors that brought me no satisfaction. Finally, I realized that pursuing a degree in teaching was what really interested me. I feel as if I can make a difference in someone’s life through teaching, even though I may not ever see the difference. I also need to know that I can make a good living, and take care of my family. It is important to realize that this is the time to make yourself happy; if you go through many stages to get there, or only one, only you can live your life. Don’t worry about the opinions of anyone else.
Brain hazards come in many forms, more than just getting hit in the head by a football when you were younger, or finishing that six-pack last weekend. If you are using over-the-counter drugs, or prescription drugs, you may be putting that orb at risk. Birth control pills, antacids, antidepressants, acetaminophen; any of these used on a regular basis could be interfering with its ability to function at optimum levels.