Old and done? NO old and wise

einsteinSometimes people who are young look at those of us who are older with disdain. What do we know? They dismiss us or not even see us. It usually doesn’t bother me but sometimes I see someone just ignore someone elderly and it makes me furious.

I wonder if they think it won’t happen to them? Well guess what? If it doesn’t happen then you are dead. I wonder when we stopped seeing elders as wise. Most of the people I know have so much wisdom to impart. Many of them are sharing by helping others in some sort of volunteer work. The mediations I do are voluntary. The center would be unable to function without us. We are using what we have gained over a lifetime to help people come to an agreement that keeps them from going to court. This is just one example.

I remember one day when I was having a conversation with my daughter (she was in her car—auto phone) and my granddaughter and friends were listening. I was talking about my blog and one of her friends said “your grandmother writes a blog?!!” There was incredulity in the question. Someone my age writing a blog? Who would have thought?The girls were impressed but it shows what they expected of someone older.

wisdom 3Don’t dismiss older people because of their age. Yes, some people have dementia or fading memory. Some choose to sit in a chair and vegetate but they are not in the majority. My contemporaries are out there doing good works. Don’t dismiss us!

 

Birth–Death

birth-and-deathBirth – death. Funny how they go together. I loved an episode of “Call the Midwife” where a grandfather to be is dying as his grandson is born. He makes a comment about the two of them passing. I really love that thought…..one generation turning life over to the next.

It is so wonderful for me to read blogs from people of all ages. I love that I can share with those just starting out in life and those who are on the other side like me. There is a wonderful continuity in that. My granddaughter is about to give birth to my first great grandchild. It feels so strange to say that. Sometimes if feels as if my life as a teenager is just a moment away. Sometimes I dream that I am back in college and it feels normal to be there.

Life is connections. My husband went to West Point and they call those who have graduated from there “The Long Grey Line.” There is this sense of a line reaching back through history and froward to the future.

We are all part of that line. Our lineage goes back in time beyond my understanding. It will go forward in time to a future I can’t even begin to imagine. We are connected. We are part of the human family. As connections die others are being born. Life prevails.

life

Death comes/ a poem

The following was something that I wrote to clear my mind during my mother’s illness and subsequent death. I was thinking about it today and decided to share it.

death comes

It’s a funny thing. During my mother’s illness grief was present but it was hard to separate it from the other emotions… fear, panic, anxiety, apprehension, sadness, were all present. Grief was one among many. Now the others are resting..they crop up from time to time but not consistently. Only grief is consistent and somehow is easier to bear when there is time to see it by itself.

Illness, uncertainty                                                                                                          Decisions..choices

No time                                                                                                                                          Rushing                                                                                                                                          Home.. hospital.. work.. family

No time                                                                                                                                             Cant’ wait                                                                                                                                        Must go                                                                                                                                                Must do

On and on

So much                                                                                                                                                Feelings crowding                                                                                                                            Pushing                                                                                                                                        Jostling for position

One on top ..                                                                                                                                       For now..                                                                                                                                          Fear

Then shifting                                                                                                                                            Moving                                                                                                                                            Panic wins

No time                                                                                                                                                 To understand                                                                                                                                        Or sort

Weeping                                                                                                                                                  Sadness wins                                                                                                                                    And tears                                                                                                                                         Wipe clean

For one instant

Just Sit !!

i just sitToday was a little strange for me. I love Easter and its wonderful gift to us but today was a little off. Again it has to do with change. Usually, at Easter, I do baskets for my two grandchildren who live near. They are adults but I still like to do it. My daughter-in-law and my grandson are both on a cruise so it seemed a little unnecessary to just do one basket. My granddaughter is in her 20’s and on her own with a good job and didn’t expect me to do anything. Time moves on and things change but it did feel odd.

Church was also different. The service was not the usual service and started with the Exultant which is beautiful but somehow I wasn’t ready for that. It is just me trying to adjust again. The service was beautiful but I wasn’t.

Once again I come up against my own failure to accept change. Change is hard but it shouldn’t be this hard. I am trying but not succeeding in feeling at peace where I am. It’s hard when you know that the problem is you and not the life around you. Maybe I am facing aging and not being in the midst of things. That also is my error for not pushing myself to get out there and do something.

just sit 2There! I have voiced my sadness and my frustration and will need to move on and find what God has in store for me. I think the hardest thing that God tells us to do is to do nothing. The plan to do mediation has been slow in coming but will get here in time. I know that things will move on. God just needs to bop me on the head and say “I told you! Just sit!”

Learning to cope

love yourselfLike most people I spent my early years worrying about what other people thought. I was always changing myself to fit in wherever I went. I also didn’t like conflict (I still don’t) and was always playing the peacemaker.

I don’t know when it started to dawn on me that everyone didn’t have to like me or agree with me. I didn’t have to work so hard to be everything to everyone. It is exhausting.

I am an only child and when I was young I was more comfortable with adults than people my own age. I think that is one of the things that made me try so hard to fit in. I had very little self confidence around my peers. It wasn’t until I went to college that I started to feel comfortable. I am sure that this did not help my anxiety.

In my teen years my mother was extremely ill and for years there was no diagnosis. Even though I was unaware at the time it fueled my worries about illness.

Now, at my age, I have gained some perspective on how I reflected my environment and didn’t cope well with anxiety and depression. Over the years, a little at a time, I have grown coping skills that make my life so much better. It is a good thing that I did as aging brings so pretty serious issues to cope with.

peace3Some serious episodes with IBSD triggered my panic. Fortunately those were mostly few and far between. I am so grateful that treatment for these issues has progressed so far. When I was young anyone who had  panic was said to have had a nervous breakdown. Thank God there is better understanding today. I am hoping that this progress continues until research into how our whole selves work finds answers that remove the stigma from those of us who suffer.

As each person writes about these issues and shares the things that help them our knowledge grows. The community is a blessing.

 

Do you see what happens?

Old Age. What scares you about growing old?

I have several friends who are going through really tough times. As we age there are some things that you don’t expect. We all picture growing old gracefully and walking off into the sunset together. It’s sad, but for most of us this is not the case. Many things can happen that change your world. They sneak up on us and suddenly you are in a foreign country trying to learn to speak the language and find your way through a maze.

I think one of the hardest things is when one person is well and the other is not. When I was young I never thought what it would be like to have to care for someone. What it would be like to be on call 24/7. Never to be able to go out for a meal or visit with friends.

Caregiving is one of the most stressful tasks on this earth.  What if you are afraid to leave home because your spouse may fall while you are gone? What if the dependence of that person on you grows obsessive and you have to account for any moment away? What if every time you walk away to another room you are called again and again to come back. The person  you love has turned into a demanding attention seeker. They have not done this deliberately but fear inhabits them and being alone triggers terrible anxiety. They did not choose this path. It was foisted upon them. Age happened.

supportWhen we are young we never see the anguish that can be aging. We can see all of this as a burden for us and turn away. Yet simple things can make a difference. Volunteering to visit for an hour or two while the caregiver gets out. Making a double recipe for dinner for your family and sharing it. Even words of understanding and encouragement can help.

While we are young we need to show compassion for those whose life is in crisis. In order to do that we first have to notice. The elderly can so often be ignored.

I have long been fond of this poem by Ogden Nash. It shows us how we are blind to those who are aged.

People expect old men to die, 
They do not really mourn old men. 
Old men are different. People look 
At them with eyes that wonder when… 
People watch with unshocked eyes; 
But the old men know when an old man dies. 

Each moment matters

life happensI have been out of the loop for several days and have just caught up reading blogs. I’m sure I didn’t get to them all but at least managed to dig into some.

The past week was hectic and somewhat nerve wracking. With doctor’s appointments and other things I missed time with my support friends. None of us got to see each other and we all feel the loss. We make an attempt to keep ourselves sane and when we don’t all bets are off.

On Friday I had to drive three hours to my daughter’s home for a co-ed shower for my grandson and his bride-to-be. The trip is not long but back roads and boring. The kicker is that on Saturday immediately following the shower I had to leave to drive back home for a dinner put on by the West Point Society for the founding of the academy…my husband is a graduate. When I arrived home after the dinner in a zombie like state I went straight to bed. THANK GOD!

I keep forgetting that as active as I am age still plays a part in my physical resources.

Looking back over my life brings memories good and bad. If I really try I can almost look as if from above and see the patterns. I can see the places where things took a turn that altered my ability to find the skills to cope. I can also see where something that I had learned in the past allowed me to keep moving forward. Yes, sometimes I have struggled and fought the demons of anxiety and depression. Sometimes I have felt joy and happiness. Both mattered.

wisdomSocieties view of those of us aging is so judgmental. We have learned so much on our journeys through life that could be shared. It is such a shame to lose all of that wisdom. An informed life is wasted on obsessing about looks and being young. Life is so much more than that…..so much richer. To continue to seek wisdom and strive for wholeness makes each day a miracle. The beauty around me is breathtaking. I can see the blue and gold of the sunset against the dark outline of the trees. I can see the movement of the water in the river in front of the house. Each day and each moment matters. Don’t waste it trying to hang on to youth. Embrace the years and be grateful. Life is worth living.