Friday, September 01, 2006

Age is a State of Mind

I have a few pet peeves, and one that has been drilling on my last nerve from several sources lately is people who declare they are old based on the number of years they live, and then, begin to act OLD, talk OLD, and expect, no DEMAND, special treatment because they are OLD. Some of these people are younger than I am!! Good grief. You know the type, every conversation has at least one, "When you get to be my age.....bla bla bla." Or, "Now that I'm old....."

I know several people who are 80 years old or more and they have never thought in their minds that they are old. I like to believe they never will. They haven't stopped. They aren't sentimentally looking at grandkids while anticipating their own deaths, weepy eyed, keeping track of gray hairs, wrinkles, and skin conditions. They are vital, creative, joyful people who take their physical aches and pains in stride, working to minimize the effects of age through exercise, right eating, creativity, and a positive in-control outlook. These people don't let the doctor tell them how they feel - they tell the doctor!

I think of Uncle Floyd, spending his 80th birthday with his son, Denny, in Alaska working on Denny's hanger.

I think of Aunt Joyce, spending her 80th birthday on the road in her motorhome with Uncle Floyd, swimming in mountain lakes with her great grandkids.

I think of Aunt Irene, over 90, making doughnuts because she likes to eat them, and regularly traveling from state to state to visit family.

My Cousins Carden and Millie remain vitally engaged in helping their sons with their businesses, and catering to skiers at qualifying meets, enjoying life in their 90's.

Well, here are a few quotes from people who will never be OLD. To me, they exemplify the attitude of true human beings, who see themselves as creative spirits, minds, and emotions, as well as constant learners, rather than simply aging bodies.

First, Goldie Hawn, who turned 60 this year, and is enjoying living her life to the fullest, refusing to give in to others' expectations of a 'woman of her age.' She has considered the kind of grandma and mom she wants to be for her adult kids, and is living it out. She refuses to accept the mindset that a certain age requires enfeeblement, but takes care of herself in all her dimensions, maintaining control of her life.

In her book, "A Lotus Grows in the Mud," Goldie writes her ideals as to the type of mom she wants to be for her adult daughter, by reflecting on her relationship with her own mom:

"I was only guilty of what all girls do. In order to become real individuals, they don't want to to be like their mothers. But now that I have experienced the loss of my own girl child to the great seduction called life, I have true compassion for both mother and daughter in this passage. That's all it is, a passage. It isn't lasting, and, if handled well, it moves into a healthy friendship that only grows and grows. But letting go is a most important first step: letting go of roles and the power we have had all of our lives as mother and daughter; letting go, and having faith that the lessons learned will be remembered. It's not easy, but it is necessary, unless you want to be a mother who has to be "dealt with" instead of a mother who is free and fun."

Isn't that a marvelously healthy way to look at the process of children leaving our care and taking it on for themselves? Wonderful! And who of us hasn't known one of those women who become the type of mother or mother-in-law who has to be "dealt with." Shudder.

Okay, switching gears a little tiny bit, I read another quote this past weekend that resonated with me. This one from Bob Dylan, the 65 year old Legend in His Own Time, who has an insouciant 19 year old dwelling within, but who also has grown as a human being, paying attention along the way, and becoming a wise, thoughtful man, besides one of the greatest lyricists ever.

From the September 2006 "Rolling Stone" magazine comes this quote:

"I see that I could stop touring at any time, but then, I don't really feel like it right now. I think I'm in my middle years now. I've got no retirement plans."

Middle years! YES!! My sentiments exactly.

These people and more inspire me to never look at a number for who I am or what I can do!

Cheers to you all!

"He not busy being born is busy dying." -- Bob Dylan

"Some grow young, some grow cold." -- Tom Petty

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Praises and leaping, you did it again! Another superior perspective. Can I join your family of enthusiastic octogenarians and 90 year old donut chefs? Goldie and Dylan are great illustrations. I love Goldie's comments about the passage. And the repulsion at the thought of being dealt with.Long live the Endless Tour of Dylan! Thanks for another helpful entry.