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Friday, 19 September 2014

A Change In Perception & Just What the Doctor Ordered

By Dani Ferguson Phillips of The Cataract Club

My husband and I attended a Sunday school class last year entitled, Aging in the Grace of God. We picked the class partly because we weren’t interested in any of the other classes being offered and also in part because we are embarking on our own journey into aging.

When the class began and introductions had been completed it, was apparent that we were two of the three young whipper snappers in the class. The average age of the class was 79 years young. The oldest age just shy of 91.

What a wealth of experience and knowledge to draw from in our attempt to deal with the problems associated with aging. Only after listening to many of these seasoned seniors it became apparent that problems were not the focus of their outlook on life.

Most of them were active, vibrant contributors in their community. They belong to the YMCA where they participate in physical activities suited to their varying abilities. Some were avid water walkers and others remained flexible through yoga.

They keep their minds active as well as their bodies. One or two were still employed if only part-time. Most participate in volunteer programs and all of them exercise their minds by playing games, reading and participating in social groups that fulfill their personal interests.

It was apparent that although we can’t necessarily avoid some of the physical challenges associated with aging we can certainly remain as mentally and physically active as our bodies will allow.

When asked if they “felt old” not one replied in the affirmative. I found this amazing especially since I had recently fallen victim to whining about my own physical aches and pains and my newly acquired need for a cane.

My doctor has recently recommended I have a total hip replacement and this news had sent me spiraling downward into an early geezer self-identity and a pitiful cycle of depression.

But here were people anywhere from ten to twenty years my senior and not one of them mentioned their health issues or lack of mobility. They don’t deny they exist, they just choose not to make them the focus of their lives.

I felt ashamed of my own indulgent behavior and realized that if I want to make the next phase of my life count for anything I need to get off the self-pity wagon and into a water walking class. I need to push myself to remain as active as possible. I need some of THEIR endorphins!

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Very nice Dani. We feed off of each other in so many ways.
I wish we had such a class in our church.
I have two friends recently having hip replacement, one 87 year old was dancing 7 weeks later. Good luck.

Those kind of people will keep you feeling younger. But not everyone ages easily, and it's not always just mental. Some people actually do suffer while aging. But attitude is important. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Dani, it took me two years to admit I needed the hip replacement. I was 71 at the time. Now, at 77, I rarely think about it and my life is good.
Good luck to you!

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