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Am I Getting Old? - Todays Gray MattersTodays Gray Matters

Am I Getting Old?

I had one of those days the other day. It seemed like so many little things went wrong. Nothing was a big deal. Each mishap all by itself would have been nothing. Piling them all up in the course of a few hours, however, made me wonder about myself. Finally I decided to stop doing anything and just read so I didn’t create any more minor catastrophes.

How do we know when we’re old? Is it when the number of birthdays we’ve had is high enough that we can’t put enough candles on a cake? Is it when we start to get the mailings from AARP, the brochures for cruises, the info for “Planning for Your Retirement” seminars offered by the local community college or the financial planners in our region? Maybe it’s when our social media posts scare our kids and they call home to make sure we’re okay, then caution us not to do the things we posted about. Yes, I got this from my kids one day though they didn’t tell me not to ride my unicycle or use my stilts any more.

Blogger Marsha Gallagher shows another side of herself as she brings her clown character to life on stilts.

Am I Too Old For This?

Perhaps we know we’re old when all we talk about is our aches and pains, trips to the doctor and medications we take. Is it when we begin to talk seriously about whether we want to buried or cremated and what we want done with our remains. Perhaps it’s when we’ve done our pre-need funeral shopping just to see which funeral home seems nicer to deal with, has the better price, would make it easiest on our family. Maybe it’s even when we’re at a viewing and realize that our home is furnished in much the same style as the funeral home! Yes, I had that happen once. It made me want to run to Ikea or somewhere and get some inexpensive updates.

In short, I don’t know what the benchmark for being old actually is. As a social worker I once had a run on patients who were all over the age of 95. When I’d get one in his 80’s I’d think, “He’s so young.” It’s all a matter of perspective. We don’t get to choose the number that goes with our age. It is what it is. What we do get to choose is what we do with our time, our lives.

Each day is a choice. A question that comes back to me over and over from one of Dawna Markova’s books is, “What am I more curious about than afraid of?” I encourage you to follow that curiosity and see where it leads. That means you’re really alive (still).

Marsha Gallagher loves good friends.

Signature- Marsha

 

One comment

  1. What a great article and questions for thought! I find myself thinking how dumb and futile this “Am I getting old?” question really is. Not that I have not asked it, but when I do, now I try to analyze the real question (or concerns) my gut is really asking. Your photo caption reads, “Am I too old for this [to be walking on stilts]?” Rather, I think the question probably should be “Am I still able to walk on stilts [or…fill in the blank…] safely and is it worth the risks involved?” Only you (or the person asking the question) can answer that. The time may come that you choose not to do this thing and that is okay! And by the way, such smart kids you have not to outright tell you that you are too old to ride your unicycle or walk on stilts. They know better. 😉 No one likes others telling us what we can and cannot do whether we are 2, 12, or 82. I do believe that we can learn from others though (young and old) and if we are wise, we might listen to and heed the small quiet voice within rather than blatently rebel and ignore it like a defiant teenager. I was fortunate to have my parents model when they chose to stop driving. No one had to tell them “You are now xx yrs old and too old to drive now.” They knew.

    Like you said, it may all be a matter of perspective, how you see and care for yourself, and who your “real” friends are, how they see you and to the extent you let something they say bother you. Someone may comment “S/he has no business doing [fill in the blank] at her age!!” So what? It could be that they really are concerned for your welfare and safety which can be a good thing. OR maybe they are just jealous and, if so, a comment you should let roll off your back. There is a big difference between being in denial and/or wanting to live in the past and knowing and being true to thyself and heeding inner wisdom that only comes as you go about living Life. From my older friends, I have heard, “Oh, come on… you are still young [to do so and so]”. To my kids and younger friends (or those within only a few years of age of me even who are still choosing to dye their hair because they somehow think this will keep them from aging) they may see me as way over the hill and/or stupid to even consider doing something they wouldn’t consider doing.

    So, in a nutshell, I am learning how we choose to define and “label” ourselves at any age does matter and is also telling how we see ourselves. Yes, I have had major health issues as of late that currently is affecting my mobility, balance, and ability to do some things I could easily do 10 or even 5 years ago. I know better than to go out and jump on a trampoline anymore even if my little nephew begs me to. But, I can enjoy sitting on it while he jumps. And yes, I ‘stepped up to the front of the line’ recently after losing the last of my older linage of direct relatives. But when I heard my neighbor exclaim in passing recently (around the time of her birthday) ‘We are so OLD!’ I found myself mumbling “Speak for yourself”.

    I am getting older, yes. Time stops for no one. However, like the saying goes, it beats the alternative! Hopefully however, I am also living smarter, gaining wisdom daily, and continue to be curious and learning and try new things while living as fully as I can and as I go through the natural biological process that leaves no one behind.

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