Some Honorary ElderBloggers
The Same Old Story

Random Thoughts on Aging

[HONORARY OLDER BLOGGER NOTE: Rana, at Notes From an Eclectic Mind, is having a wonderful time today at my expense. Check it out.]

category_bug_journal2.gif The notebook has a satisfying heft to it, resting solidly in my hand when I pick it up. The stiff, black covers - as weighty as those of a hardback novel by Salman Rushdie - lend gravitas and the lined pages within are thick and smooth. They take a pen nicely. It looks substantial, this book, suggesting that it might contain important information.

And it does. It is my blog journal, the place where I keep handwritten notes, thoughts and ideas for future entries, questions to be researched, phrases I like that could be useful one day or might spark lengthier thought. It has been with me since Time Goes By was launched, but it is full now and I have purchased an identical new one.

To avoid the clutter and inconvenience of two TGB journals, I have copied over unused items of significance into the new book leaving these random notes that are unlikely to breed full-length blog stories (although it's hard to be certain of that sometimes):

  • One day I woke up and the backs of my hands were wrinkly. I didn't see it coming. There seems to have been no transition period.
  • Anti-aging proponents and many gerontologists think aging is a disease to be cured rather than a time of life.
  • Experience and wisdom can be gained only by getting older. Who decided a cute, young body is more valuable?
  • I thought, because I have always had freckled skin, no one would notice when I got age spots. Wrong! Age spots don't look anything like freckles.
  • Old people regret not what they did during their lives, but what they did not do.
  • When I was young, I thought being old would make me an entirely new and different person, a better person. It didn't.
  • Using blogging to accept who you are. You can't lie because over time you will forget what you've said before and trip yourself up. Blogging is an excellent exercise in honestly knowing yourself.
  • An 80-year old planting a peach tree, the fruit of which he'll never live to eat. "I've been eating peaches all my life," he said. "I'm just trying to repay a little."
  • Culture: the place where society tells stories about itself.
  • For one hour a week, West Wing makes me believe that integrity and morality in politics might be possible.
  • Either my hearing is becoming keener with age or the world is getting louder. I could stand to acquire a little deafness these days.
  • Caregiving of parents: do everything in your power to make it possible to do yourself. The richness of the rewards cannot be calculated.
  • "...an old man's impatience at seeing the show come 'round again one too many times. - John LeCarre
  • The highest state of human beingness is reached when a person can believe, "My life is not important, but life itself is of unsurpassed importance."
  • In June, The New York Times inaugurated a regular column about poker. They still don't have one on aging.
  • "There is no pleasure worth foregoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward." - John Mortimer
  • Job advice for older people concedes up front that there is probably no place for them in the working world.
  • I have always suspected that people who say they would rather die young than get old have never progressed emotionally past teen years when shocking one's elders is a time-honored game. I've always wanted to get old.
  • TV commercials for covering gray hair are so commonplace we forget they are telling us that gray in unacceptable.
  • Don't forget when dealing with young people: they cannot begin to understand what being old is really like. Be gentle with them when they are being stupid about it.

And now that the sturdy, old journal is emptied out, it can be stored in a drawer with all the other stuff I should probably throw out.


Comments

Loved the comment on the peach tree. I'm finding the older I get, the more I have a need to "give back."

How strange - I wrote about the West Wing today too! I love the idea of a blog-journal. I shall use it (in fact I will buy one for myself as a gift for the new academic year) when I find myself far away and "blog-longing" with work starting back up next week!

"It can be stored in a drawer with all the other stuff I should probably throw out." That reminds me how many years ago after keeping personal journals for five years - I threw them all away. I was thinking that my son would have to read all this"stuff" after my death. What a burden for him! Now that he is 32 I think, "Hmm ... he might have found that reading useful or interesting ..." Oh well.

Great post, Ronni.

Your post is a reminder that 'housekeeping' tasks can be rewarding. Getting things emptied out and dealt with like that is always enormously satisfying - especially when you can give away bits and pieces that you have been hoarding. Thank you for sharing some of your treasures.

Ronni,
Great stuff! Thanks for sharing. (Now if you see some perjury over at TT, it's not MY fault - you planted the idea...)

I should get a journal book like yours. I use sticky notes and place them in my little spiralbound black book that holds other important info. Occasionally, I unstick the bottom 20 layers... LOL!

The blog-journal sounds like a great idea, but it might not work for me: my best ideas occur to me when I awaken in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. I should get up and write them down immediately when this happens, but I always fall back asleep before I can do that, with one of two results: either I don't remember my ideas the next morning, or they don't seem as brilliant in the cold light of day.

Hi Ronni -- Thank you for your blog. Although many people don't realize it, fighting ageism will help the young as well as the old. I teach a psychology of aging course at a small liberal arts university, and many of my students are terrified of growing old. When I ask them at the beginning of the term to write an essay describing their life at 75, many of them see themselves as lonely, bitter, frail and sick. (And others can't imagine anything else than life in Florida playing endless games of golf). Helping my students understand that life still has meaning when you no longer look like an 18 year-old -- and understand that their old age is to a great extent what they create it to be, are some of my goals for the course. I mostly feel that I'm fighting a losing battle against media portrayals of old age, however. So keep up the fight! (I'm planning to ask my students to read older bloggers as part of their assignments from now on.)

Good post Ronni...

I especially liked this one:

"Either my hearing is becoming keener with age or the world is getting louder. I could stand to acquire a little deafness these days"

My hearing is NOT what it used to be but I remarked recently:

"What I think I hear is often more interesting than what is actually said"

For instance, today at lunch with two friends in a noisy restaurant,I understood one to say

"Last night I sat her dinner down in front of her and she only ate 4 asparagus"

I replied

" Won't that make her sick?"

Thinking that the "her" was the friend's West Highland White Terrier Dog who had JUST been the topic of conversation

Friend two replied

" No. She always eats that way. She wants to stay a size two forever"

We all had a good laugh as they explained they were talking about Edith, another acquaintance, and not the puppy.

Chancy

Love this post, Ronni, and I hear you on freckles and age spots. I thought the same thing when I was younger - but you are right - they do not look the same!

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