Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought, where they write about ideas and creativity. Diane posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome as it turns an article into a discussion. They must, however, be in English to avoid spam getting in here.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

on getting old

by Rain Trueax

After last week on changes, I thought discussing aging would be good. I don't spend a lot of time being introspective. I did more of that in younger years. Still, it's good to stop and think where I am in life. The blog is a good place to ponder that.

Old age is about change. Obviously, changes happen throughout life but more in youth and old age. Even what some consider to be old actually isn't that big a deal for us all. My sixties were more like my fifties or forties. 

Now, midway into my seventies, I see more differences in appearance and physical abilities. Some want to deny they are old-- I'm a child inside, they argue. Words have meaning or need to. If we deny old has meaning, then does young?

Not all of the changes in old age necessarily come from aging, of course. Diseases can impact our bodies. Weight gain, which I mainly began to experience in my late 60s, can be more of an impact than years. When I was younger, if I gained weight, never as much as now, it spread evenly over me.
Now I have a belly and while i know it's unhealthy, more so than just being fat, it's where it went-- thank you lack of exercise, eating what I shouldn't, and of course, hormones. One thing about aging is-- you can cheat with less consequences when you are young than you can once you get old...

When we are children, changes come all the time. Those hormones kick in and the changes became massive. For most of us, it establishes us as as a gender more than childhood even. When I see my grandchildren, who are mostly still in puberty with one out the other side barely and the youngest just getting into it, they change all the time. Deeper voices, bodies shifting into what they will be as adults. It's an exciting time.

On the other hand, when in old age, there are also changes that are a factor of parts wearing out but also hormones. There is more pain in joints as most of us will get arthritis to one level or another. It takes more to get in shape if we get out of it. Looks change with thinner skin and sags where it never had. This makes us look different than our middle years. Little by little, men and women resemble each other more than in those mid-years. Little old ladies and little old men acquire more similar bodies-- for those who get old enough.

Thinking about death is necessary with our elder years. To be responsible, we should prepare for our inabilities and especially for our demise. What do we want done with this body we have occupied for so many years but eventually will not be able to continue to use? I am choosing cremation but not sure where I want the ashes put.

We will have more friends who die and the older we get, the more that will be true. We don't have to be depressed about it but it's obvious at 75 that there are less years ahead than behind-- and those years will be ones of deterioration and loss. For anyone who lives into deep old age, the body begins to shut down. Disease takes many of us ahead of that.

For those of us who have inherited physical problems, those can worsen with old age. My familial tremors have become more of a disability in my 70s than they had been although they've long been with me. i knew to expect that as I'd seen it in the family. Reality but we don't have to be thrilled by it.

Old age and what it brings with it is a reality. Accept reality and live it fully-- where it is, that's what I consider to be fully living. I don't tend to think back over what was unless I have to. I know I had better years than others but why dwell on either. Be where you are is my philosophy; and although it's not particularly joyful to realize I actually look old lol, it's reality and where I am. Everybody gets there if they live long enough. I know some think they fool it by plastic surgery. I think they just look plastic especially if they take it too far. We have to release what was to fully be who we are and where we are.

For those of you, who are younger, this will be a reality but not for you now. My advice, from where I sit, is do what I did, when I was younger, figure out what things you want to do, what you are still capable of doing, and do them. If that means changes, calculate the cost. 

The book I recommended in the last blog is a good one for mid years-- In the Meantime. It moves you toward living where you want to be, not putting up with what isn't giving you that life. Change isn't always a bad thing. It is always a reality.

At my age, especially as a writer, but as an old woman, I do a lot of observing of life. The photos here are from our Tucson  home. I believe the simple and small things are often the best.


Diane Widler Wenzel said...

Photographs suport your idea that being old is aperfect time to observe life. You could describe the life you see in beautiful words too.

Rain Trueax said...

I do that with my books as best I can, which is why I like to always plant them where I have spent time or lived. It makes it easier to add those details. I consider nature to be a character in my fiction.

Wally Blue said...

In addition to the advice of finding out what you want to do and then to do it I would add this: Find out who you are and then be that person. If who you really are is not who you want to be then make peace with yourself, come to terms with it and then simply be who you are.

Rain Trueax said...

Very good wisdom, Wally. Finding that out can take some time but worth it. Trying to be who someone else wants you to be is never going to lead to joy.