The Flip-Flop Fallacy
The Wisdom of (Time Goes By) Elders

What Our Youth Culture Has Wrought

category_bug_ageism.gif A post titled Time Marches On….&*^#%@$! at a blog named Freak Parade came to my attention yesterday. It is written by Mel - the mother of a girl about five and a boy age ten - who is, I’m guessing, somewhere in her thirties. Here are some excerpts:

“With each year that passes, I get more and more disgusted with the whole stinking process [of aging].”
“True or not, it feels like all of the fun stuff has already been done. Dating, falling in love, the proposal, marriage, getting pregnant, seeing the tiny babies for the first time. All done.”
“I made a trip back to where I had grown up, and was pained at the effect the passing years had wrought on the place I knew as home. I was confronted with the effects of aging on the faces of those who had cared for me when I was small.”
“I long for a rewind button, or a time machine, perhaps. I tell myself to savor every moment, and am making an effort to do just that, but sometimes it just is not enough.”
“I want to reclaim what once was. I am at a place where an old photograph brings heartache just as easily as a wistful smile.”

My initial, visceral reaction was to smack her because in lamenting her loss of youth, she is piling on the stereotypes of age that smack old people in the face every day. But on quick, second thought, she is writing about what she honestly feels and deserves to be taken seriously.

How did Mel come to feel so awful about getting older? Since no one is born with an abhorrence of aging, it must be something else: our youth-centric culture, do you think?

From the cradle we are bombarded with unrelenting, negative images of age while youth – the acceptable reaches of which seem to be defined further downward each year - is extolled as the gold standard of life. Lip service is paid to experience and knowledge ("go to school, study hard, get that degree"), but apparently have no value in life or the workplace after 35 or 40. Elders are consistently portrayed as sick, crotchety, ugly and/or dim.

No wonder Mel is in such a state over her age, living with such fear and loathing day in and day out. At the end of her post, Mel issues this plea:

“So what does one do to get past this particular issue? How do you overcome a phobia of time? Tell me your thoughts, your insights. But do it quickly, please - I’m not getting any younger.”

The comments at Mel’s blog agree with her, that they too fear the passage of time which may be comforting, but is not very useful.

So here is my proposal for today: let’s do our best to help Mel from the vantage point of our experience and years. Who better to do this than old people who have been where she is and have overcome or, at least, made peace with getting old.

Many times here at Time Goes By – in my posts and your comments – we have spoken of the pleasures, advantages and enjoyment we have found in old age. Mel's plea gives us a terrific opportunity to pass on some of that learning – how we faced similar fears, wrestled with them and where we are now.

I’ve left a message on Mel’s blog to check out the comments here today. Please do leave your story below and give Mel your best thinking about getting old.

[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Lia tells another tale of humiliation - this time concerning high school when appearing "cool" is so important: The Blond Beauty.]

Comments

I appreciate the offer of perspective and advice. I look forward to reading the comments.

I do have to point out that the last two excerpts you quoted were about watching my children grow up so quickly, and not myself getting older.
Also, the quote about visiting my home, was speaking of the effects of time on the place, as well as the people. And the aging of my family is not what bothered me...it was the fact that I was there for a funeral. My aunt passed away, and she was one of the youngest of my aunts. I was speaking of the realization that I could be losing more of my family, and I wasn't prepared for it.

As someone who, before kids, worked in a retirement community, and has just started a new business, specializing in photography for seniors, I do take issue with the fact that you seem to be categorizing me (or what I wrote) as ageist. What I wrote, was talking more about the passage of time, watching my kids grow, and saying goodbye to loved ones. I lost two people that were close to me this year. Only the first paragraph of what I wrote spoke of me hating the fact that I was getting older. My not enjoying the fact that I am getting older in no way suggests that I believe that the worth of a person is diminished by aging. It simply means that in my life, time seems to be moving rather quickly...and I would rather it not be so! :)
And that is the advice I would love to hear....what can you and your readers offer from your experience to help me (and my readers) come to a place of acceptance, both about my kids growing up and the fact that my body (and mind) have begun to change at a sudden and alarming rate.

Sorry that this comment turned out to be so long, but I just wanted to make sure I clarified some things. I really do look forward to hearing what your readers have to say. Thanks for stopping by my blog, and taking the time to pass on your experiences.

Dear Mel:

It's not that bad. My husband and I took up motorcycling in our 40's and toured Europe four times and the U.S. and Canada many more. He continued riding almost until his death at 70.

I'm now 75, and still enjoying life. It's a matter of finding new approaches and new interests, and they're out there. All you need is an inquiring mind.

I published my first book at 73 and my second last year. They aren't best sellers, but they're intended to encourage elders to write. You've started early, so keep it up! You'll be surprised to find how much joy there can be in old age. Stop worrying!

Seniorwriter

There is in middle age a time when you become invisible. I thought that would be a bad thing, but I find it to be liberating. Now that I don't have to worry about what the PTA, the ex-husband, or the parents will think or say I can do as I please. Now that I am not the target market for trendy clothing I don't have to concern myself with trends. I have been able to use the energy I wasted trying to be like everyone else to pursue my own interests. My friendships are better and my life is joyful. I'm never (except for this month!) bored and if there are things I am unlikely to take up at this time in my life, like mountain climbing, I find there are plenty of things within my physical ability and budget to try. Now that the children are out of the nest I don't have to be home to cook dinner every night or keep track of someone else's wardrobe needs. Each phase of life has its particular pleasures to enjoy.

I was watching the Grammy Awards two nights ago, and when Tina Turner sang, I mentioned to my wife how great she looked (despite the extensive Botox, etc). But then we talked about how much pressure there seemed for her to appear younger, from her tight outfit to her twenty year old back-up singers. What would be so wrong for her to be performing with dancers her own age? Why did Cher feel it necessary to make a joke about her "performing since Lincoln's time?" I think the first step in overcoming some of the ageism in society is for those who are over a certain age to stop feeling the need to prove their relevance to a youth culture. If anything, it should be the other way around -- with the young looking up to the accomplished and experienced.

I have no great wisdom or advice to share. I think it’s all very simple. You can approach aging (elderhood) with curiosity, or with fear and loathing. It’s a choice. I’ve chosen the former and that works for me. And in my volunteer work I deal with lots of elders that have chosen the latter and they are usually quite unhappy.

As usual first thing in the morning check this post.
It is beyond my wildest imagination that this young woman could feel this way about herself at this early age.
I had 4 children, divorced at 42, 40,s, 50,s and 60's some of my most exciting years. I created homes and gardens, I dated, experienced a number of relationships and realize that some things I thought important at that time, really were not. None of your thoughts entered my mind until the last several years.
But now past 70 years they should be entering my mind.
I still think young but all of the aging processes are in full force. They probably have been for years and maybe I truly did not notice them. Most of the older people who loved me are gone. I love reading Ronni because it makes me realize what I am experiencing at this age is normal. Some of us go through it younger and some later in life. But surely not in your 30,s. My heart aches for this young woman. Happiness is important and possible at any age. I am going to send this young woman my daughter's blog.
She is a young mother of a 2 and 5 year old. Working, chanllenged and happy.

As an only "child" who is now 51, I feel like I am the in-between stage between you and your peers--and "graduating" into my 60s and 70s. Where I am now is pretty darn great. So is where you are right now, and where I will be heading, if I am lucky enough.

My own child is now a senior in high school, about to start college. Watching your kids grow up is definitely something to look forward to, as well. There are so, so many "firsts" still ahead of you to parent them through.
First crush. First prom. First day at high school. Getting a driver's license. Searching for colleges.

If your parents are still with you, you may also have the honor of loving them through end of their lives. It is horribly sad, yes. And, it is also a life-altering opportunity to share your love on a level that only the anticipation of their absence can bring. While I would trade anything to have one more day with my mom, the love we surrounded her with and the caretaking I was able to provide for her at the end of her life fills me with enormous gratitude--for being able to be there for her--and for myself.

It is the natural order, is it not? But our culture makes aging unduly un-natural. Something to anticipate with more dread than determination. Yet if I am blessed to have the gift of many years on this earth, I for one want them to be filled with people applauding my arrival into each decade of life, while I hold out my arms to welcome the legions coming behind me.

As another commenter said...it's not so bad. Just as my daughter gets to start a whole new life come next September, so will I!

It's an easy trap to fall into, looking back on your salad days and assuming that those must have been the best years of your life. Mel wants to learn to live in the moment and not in the past; she hasn't met everyone she's going to meet or gone everywhere she's going to go or done everything she's going to do. She hasn't received a big ol' hug from her grandchild.

Mel, there are times when I feel the way you feel (I'm 56). Maybe it's simply the human condition, with its combination of self-awareness and mortality. I'm not as convinced as others that it's just our American youth culture. After all, all the fairy tales end after "the fun things," when the girl gets the prince.
I agree with others that it's a matter of choosing one's attitude (with the caveat that it's a daily struggle). I found a liberation in turning 40, an age when I looked at my life and decided to pursue what I (thought I) really wanted. They were years of wonderful personal growth...but "personal growth" doesn't make for a lot of drama!
My 50s have been marked by loss--especially my mother to dementia. All I can tell you is that it was very different from what I expected. Harder, but better.
It's hard to find new things to value, and to let go of old things that I valued (turning heads when I walked into a room, and pooping on a regular basis). The new values include the little things: snow on trees, fur on dogs, skies at sunset, all made for me more poignant by knowing there's so much less time.
Thank you for sending your comments.

Mel, I will be 83 in May and I can tell you that you have just begun. Each stage of life has it's own rewards as well as it's own problems. Attitude becomes everything in your ability to adjust to the changes.
Treasure your happy moments with your children, but don't become so involved that you think the world will end when you finally experience the empty nest syndrome. With it comes freedom to do the things you didn't have time for with the demands of motherhood.
Yes, we lose loved ones along the way and it's always hard, but we also meet new loved ones and life goes on. If you meet life's challenges with excitement you will find that getting older is really wonderful.
The youthful look is replaced with the acceptance of the fact that your physical appearance is not very important. Your friends don't love you for your smooth skin but for your inner qualities that grow stronger as you gain wisdom.
You will change and if you maintain the right attitude you will become, at last, the total woman you were meant to be. So many wonderful experiences are yet to be lived by you that I hope you will face them with expectancy.

We are time travellers, every one of us. It's a trip, or as my ex used to say, it's a gas. If you're not really enjoying it right now, well, this will pass. And if you're having a blast right now, well, this too will pass. But it's still a great trip.

There is a wealth of terrific experience ahead of you! Holding new babies? What about seeing those babies graduate from college and start out their lives as independent individuals--a state you have helped them reach? What about holding your grandchildren? What about reaching the point where you no longer have to accept the social strictures that surround young women? When you don't have to spend all your money on children?

Life is sweet as long as you get to live it. Each time of our lives brings its own joys and sorrows, its own rewards and lessons.

It ain't over till it's over!

My best suggestion for your age or my own is live every moment fully where you are. Love the ones who you will find die someday but they are there right then. Frequent hugs, see your children for where they are and relish it as someday it'll be your grandchildren doing those things-- if you are lucky. I find at 64 that expectations about what your own aging will be like-- based on anybody else's experience-- won't hold true. We are individuals and you won't age like the books or even your friends. Just enjoy it all where you are. Change is part of life and not always welcome but it is what makes it so precious

Mel --

There are a lot of good things to come as well as challenges to meet as you grow older. It all comes down to your perspective what you choose to do with it. If you allow yourself to grow and appreciate the good things however small, aging isn't so bad. You still have a lot to do and see. The future is a blank page and it's your choice what you do with it. You can worry about growing old or you can seize each day and look for pleasure in your life.

I had a debilitating and, what many thought, was a life-ending illness in my 30s. Thirty years later I am still here because I decided that while my illness/handicap might slow me down a bit, it can't stop me unless I let it.

It hasn't always been easy or fun but I've mostly enjoyed growing older. I think of all the great experiences and friends I've acquired in those 30 years and it makes me glad that I chose to fight back.

Life is an adventure -- there's always something new to learn and enjoy. Yeah, there will be hard times but remember that how you meet them is your choice.

Mel, somewhere along the way try to search out roll models, mentors, examples to lead you well along the path. A few years ago, I discovered Ronni and her community of readers. They made the crossover into my fifties a delight.

If I was to give any advice about growing old, I'd say the following: You certainly cannot believe much of what the media says about what it is like to grow old. You should be skeptical about taking advice from friends your age or younger. Learn to be mentally and intellectually radical. Throw out all those platitudes you've been rehearsing the last twenty-years. Learn to talk straight and walk tall.

I think one of the most liberating experiences I have had over the last years is realizing that I no longer have to justify any action I make or word I speak other to myself and my gods.

And, best of all, I wake up each morning and give thanks that the day has risen.

Interesting If anyone cares to read
My son sent my daughter and I something he read about why time seems to go by faster as we grow older.
She has it on her current blog
BlondMomBlog.com

Hi Mel......and we do understand. My elder family has died, and my children have entered middle age. I'm caretaking an old friend who is fading away....but with amazing dignity.

Ageing? I blog about it, and I write, talk, and read everything I can. The more I read, the more I hope I know. Since I have a dreadful tendancy to take myself too seriously, I find ways to laugh often. I find new experiences often and record them when I can. I read those who know far more than I and enjoy all the new friends I make here online. I keep that pot stirred.

My last time to comment
I promise
I find I comment so hastily lately
Shared with my daughter who is the same age and a writer.
Her comment
I think she is just amazed and a little bewildered at how fast time goes by when you have young children. This is just a different perspective.
BlondeMomBlog

Hi Mel,
You sound very normal...I remember it well. Whenever I feel the pangs of ageism, I remind myself of those I've known who did not have the privilege of growing older. To my complete surprise, my world opened up at age 50. I decided to do the things I'd always wanted to do, but did not have the time, e.g. learn to swim, get a college degree, etc...
You'll see, it's not so bad after all!!

I came here through Mel's blog. I have really enjoyed reading everybody's comments and I think all of you have a great perspective and attitude about getting older.

For those of you who are critical of what Mel wrote, or see her feelings as foolish, I do want to say, that maybe you've forgotten what it's like during that transition period from young woman to older woman.

It's not that we are ageist or really even mourning our youth. It's just that once our babies are grown (mine aren't quite grown, but at 9 and 13, they're not so dependant as they once were) we can sometimes struggle with our identity.

We are no longer the dynamic young hipster, the professional single woman, the young newlywed, the first time Mom.

We are middle aged. But what exactly does that mean? I think we all get to a point in our lives where we have to discover how we are going to define middle age, or how middle age is going to define us.

I could relate to a lot of what Mel said, and I think her feelings are a normal and reasonable expression of that search to understand the next phase of her life, and how to find an identity that fits.

I think that's especially difficult for women who have chosen to stay at home, because they are more likely to lose their sense of self aside from wife and mother. I've been struggling with it for a couple years now.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings. Since I am almost 40, and have older children, I find that a lot of the so-called "mommyblogs" aren't terribly relevant to where I am in life, so I'm thrilled to find that there is a community of bloggers who are older and from whom I can gather some insight and wisdom about the life ahead of me.

Mel, If you think the only choice you have when confronted with the evidence of aging is dread that is what you will feel. Time changes everyone and everything and there is not anything anyone can do about it. The only choice we have is how we face it. You have a choice to be miserable or figure out how you want to feel and develop new thinking patterns about how interesting the changes are.
Fighting aging is a waste of time and energy when you could be having fun doing things with your children and spending time with your husband and friends.

I realize this is not as easy as I make it sound but it is worth the effort to change your perspective. There is a common line about how life begins at 40 I added a corollary of yes but you have to reach out and grab it.
Each decade has it's own rewards to cherish.

Thank you all for your wonderful comments. Some very good advice.

Some more clarification...I want to assure everyone that, I am indeed very happy with my life. This one blog entry, was simply exploring my feelings on life moving by so quickly. I think the fact that fact that I am happy with my life is actually the reason it is sometimes hard to see it change.
I have a lot of interests outside of my children that I am looking forward to having more time to pursue. My husband and I are looking forward to traveling, but that doesn't mean that it is not still bittersweet, at times, to watch my children grow so quickly.

I would have to say that Ernestine's daughter summed up what I am feeling exactly....
"I think she is just amazed and a little bewildered at how fast time goes by when you have young children."
I once saw it written that when you have young children, the days are long, but the years fly by, and I am finding that to be so true.
I think the advice to savor these moments while you can is great advice for anyone, at any place in their life.

Thank you all for sharing your perspectives.

I am 51 and grateful for the wisdom, confidence and grace in which I now journey. My 30's and 40's were full of angst and emotional pain, pretty normal. My transformation came in my mid to late forties. What my imagination could have conjured up if I were ever to imagine the perfect life couldn't hold a candle to the events and experiences that actually occurred. My life is richer than I ever imagined. I don't live with any regret. I fully accept what I have been offered. I see wonderful opportunities and take them. I see the beauty in my daily interactions with my friends and colleagues, even if there is unpleasant discourse. I choose to take advantage of uncomfortable situations and turn them into learning opportunities for myself. My early life experiences have not been thrown out with the bath water. I take all of my past experiences and cherish them, for they have taught me compassion, and to see those who are suffering. I do get anxious sometimes about getting older, not about the aging part so much, but the discrimination I am sure to face in my future. I don't dwell on it too much though. I focus on, and change, only what I can. I guess this is all easy for me to say, I don't have children to mark time for me, but I am a teacher, I am not married, but I do have close friends and family. I enrich my life with what brings me joy, endeavor to be as authentic as I know how, and experience every interaction with grace, compassion and encouragement.

If it weren't for the five minutes I spend in front of the bathroom mirror every morning, I doubt if I'd ever realize how old I am. Regardless of what my wife says, I do look a lot older than I feel or maybe rarely feel as old as I look.

I do understand how youg people might face the "golden years" with some trepidation but they are looking at the aging process through their own perception of it.
"Time goes by fast when you have young children."??

It goes by a lot faster when you don't. Savor every minute of your life and you'll be happy. The joys of young parenthood, the sweet but somewhat melancholy sensations of grand parenthood. Live always in the NOW. Don't look back and don't try to imagine the future. Every day, every minute in the NOW.

While others articulate goals, I have always formed my hopes and dreams into supplications. And when my three children were born, my supplication was that they would grow strong, healthy, wise, and independent.

And while I grew old and time flew by, I was absolutely comforted to watch these things happening.

And grandchildren? How they make me laugh. The joy they bring me is unstoppable.

That is not to say I don't have moments of melancholy when I dreadfully miss dear ones. For that, I've made up a comforting excuse. Without shadows, one can't fully appreciate sunshine.

I hated to see my children leave home but they keep in close contact and what a wonderful change in our relationship when I finally accepted that despite my most ardent wish they might not always see everything in life through my eyes.

I must admit that when I first read Ronni's post about what Mel had written in her blog; I was filled with all of those "ageism" woes. But then when I read what Mel said about why she was saying what she was saying, I had to pull back and nod my head somewhat.

I too had mourned the "growing up of my children too quickly", but that turned into my being able to see what wonderful human beings they have grown into as adults; to say nothing of the grandchildren that have followed.

I can remember when I would hear older people talk about how time goes by too quickly and how it is worse as you get older. No, time does not go by any quicker; it just goes by. After all, time is time -- the same hours, minutes, and seconds it has always been. It just seems to go by quicker with the ever increasing approach of aging.

Some would say that that is our fear of dying, but I would disagree. I have no fear of dying; I just don't want to miss out on anything. I am not ready to be done yet; I have just begun to cook.

I will continue to fight what I consider to be the primary reason for the ageism in our society and the worst of it is the label of anti-aging. What message does that send---Ugh! Why can't we use pro-aging to address the same products (particularly the so called beauty products), books, exercises, attitudes etc.

Well, well, Mel. I'll bet you had no idea that hell hath no fury like a woman aged. Not to worry, everyone; Mel will be fine.

Mel, make sure you have fun.

Children,grandchildren and always your mate and friends.

Mel, I think I understand your post. Time does seem to fly by and our children seem to grow up too fast. All of us from time to time reflect on our life, what it has been, where we are and where we are going. Our society historically has not embraced aging, yet those of us who have, tend to be hard on those who have not. I think my words of wisdom would be, you may think you have already done the best things life has to offer, but to say the things my other elders have said...you ain't done nothing yet. To see you children graduate, head off into the world, marry and then, the best, have a baby themselves. it doesn't get any better. Each day gets better and better.

Time is only a construct.

Pay attention to it and it speeds up. Ignore it and it disappears - for awhile. And when again you pay attention to it, as you will, you will find that a whopping big chunk of it has zipped on by while you weren't looking.

There seems to be no solution for this except to enjoy the ride as thoroughly as you can - for as long as you can - wherever it takes you.

Hi all! Here is a link to my post, Slow Down, Dream Big that my mother (Ernestine) mentioned:

http://blondemomblog.com/2008/02/11/slow-down-dream-big/

It's interesting to read everyone's perspectives on aging. I'll be 39 in August and I have to say I'm pretty excited about my 40s. I guess I will take one decade at a time. ;)

Watching my two young daughters grow up, I'll wholeheartedly admit, is bittersweet for both me and my husband. My "baby" turns 3 next month. Where did the time go?

Dear Mel -
It is obvious that your comments aren’t about aging, they’re about the challenge of LIVING. I firmly believe that everyday we open our eyes and have a decision to make, i.e. "Am I going to have a good day or a bad day?" It is your CHOICE.

On Monday, I watched my Bro (age 81) get placed into the ground. This was a man who knew how to live. He had enough struggles to justify discouragement, e.g. a period of being paralyzed from the neck down. But he chose to engage each day and to fight back. It took a couple of years, but he not only learned to walk again and to work as a physician again, but to play golf! He will always be a hero to me.

Knowing that we are all going to die one day doesn’t give any of us the right to cop out today. Each day is not only our challenge, but our delight, to seize that challenge every morning.

I firmly believe that life is fun if you decide that it is going to be. Yes, there are continual struggles, but facing them and beating them is what makes victory taste sweet. My Bro certainly believed that, and he was ten times better at it than I.

Our greatest gift is life. Our greatest talent is selfless love. Engage life, use your beautiful talents, and enjoy the ride. The selfless love you use to raise your 3year-old will expand, define you, and persist forever. Learning and expressing the depths of your selfless love will define your being forever.

I'll never stop loving my Bro.
- Chuck (age 71)

Mel -

Forgive this duffer. It took me the reflection of a walk to suddenly realize that you were not asking about aging or living, but meaning. If, as I suspect, you are in your late 30's or early 40's, then I think your timing is right on target for this question.

I was in my 30's when I really delved into meaning, and I am comfortable with the answer that I arrived at in my 60's. I think everyone has to struggle to gain the insights that can make an answer stick for them. For me, Selfless Love is the core to any answer, but it would require a book to tell you why.

Asking the question about the meaning of life requires a lot of honesty. Finding the answer that you want to "own", requires reflection and persistence as well.

Best of luck,
Chuck

Mel:

You asked, "what can you and your readers offer from your experience to help me (and my readers) come to a place of acceptance, both about my kids growing up and the fact that my body (and mind) have begun to change at a sudden and alarming rate."

My suggestions:

1. Recognize that acceptance is often difficult. If it was easy, everyone would do it without problems.

2. It's easy to focus on the past and what you've lost. That's a downward spiral of negativity that I refuse to waste my time with. As others said, it's about your attitude. You can fill your mind with negative thoughts, making it hard or impossible for positive thoughts. Is that how you want to live your life?

3. In a 12-step program I learned that there are 3 A's to change: Awareness, Acceptance, and Action. Acceptance is not enough. You have to first be aware of a situation. Then, accept it for what it is. And finally, choose a course of action.

4. I am in my 50's and I am GLAD that my kids (22, 26, 28) are grown. Aren't you a little bit curious what type of adults your kids will grow up to be? My kids are young adults and they are out of the house. So I have my freedom back. It is satisfying to see them on their own financially. I did my job as a parent. That is a reward in itself.

5. Focus on the future. What do you want to accomplish with the years you have left? What's on your list? You do have a list, don't you? My wife and I travel and play a lot. I work hard at my job, so I want to vacation and play hard. I have a list of countries I want to visit, and lots of other things I want to accomplish.

6. Keep learning new stuff. That keeps me in the present with a solid focus on the future. In my job, I am always learning new stuff. Outside of work, I learn new stuff. I practice and teach T'ai Chi. I am always learning new forms. All of this keeps my life interesting, with things to look forward to!!

7. Hang out with people of all ages. You can learn a lot from people of all ages. I know that I do. I look forward to talking with people who are older as I can learn from their experiences. When I talk with younger folks, it is often a reminder of how far I've matured; a reminder of the follies of youth -- follies I now avoid due to my experiences. So, of course my thinking is going to change as I change and age. That is quite natural, to me.

8. Develop an attitude that life is short. Prioritize who you hang out with. Prioritize what you do with your time. Do you want to waste a lot of time watching TV? When you are 80 looking back at your life, what would you like to be able to list as your accomplishments? Don't let the knuckleheads or people who are stuck in one place waste your time today. Life is too short.

I hope that these help.

George

Mel, TGB'ers,

We are all exactly where we need to be on the wheel of time. Put the kids to bed, grab a beverage of your choice, prop your feet up, and listen to Carmina Burana all the way through. Either orchestral or piano/percussion.

We are simply growing. In all ways. And we are entitled to express that however it hits us.

This exchange illuminates how ill prepared we are in this age to envision a life lived in learning and expanding. That this multigenerational communication is happening is a welcome and satisfying connection, promoting awareness that age can equal true freedom, if not one hundred per cent, then often beyond our wildest dreams.

What a wonderful dialogue. I'd love to see more in this vein.

I'm late to read this, but I'm glad I got to read all the comments. I agree that we're looking for meaning. Each stage of my life has added something that gave the next stage more meaning. I can look back with nostalgia, but I would never go back. I'd lose too much of myself. Experience (even bad experience) is worth much more to me than an unlined face.

Funny that I should happen on to this site. I first found it when I was looking for blogs for my mother who just turned 70. She had been complaining that everyone was younger than she and that she didn't have anything in common with them. I'd been trying to explain to her that real age in Bloggsville doesn't mean all that much -- that common interests are what links one to others he or she may meet...but that was a year ago.

And so here I am again. Mel is one of my original blogging buddies. She's a remarkable person who makes me laugh and cry -- sometimes all in one post. I have much respect for her and know that (having read her quotations in your post AND her own post and comments in this post) you'd have to know her (read her regularly) to understand her post. I think she's been mischaracterized and know she has already clarified, but I thought I'd speak up anyway.

There are lots of people out in Bloggsville who are cringing about being 30, hooting and howling about lost something or other. Mel would not be one of those.

All this talk of aging has made me think, though, of much I could say in my own post about the matter of being 51 and figuring out I'm not quite looking the way I used to. Oh well. Right, Mel?

"It's not that bad." what a way to characterize your life! You're not helping!

I am "only" 48. Since I've very recently discovered the blogging world, I've been trying to find blogs that I relate to. It's not all about age, but there is something to how young most bloggers are. Our points of view are different. I am, proudly, "over the hill." My panorama is vast and full. The uphill side is more arduous. Sure, gravity is pulling me down in places that I'd rathe it not! but coasting has glorious joys that taut skin don't always bring.

My birthday was just last Monday. And I'm not ashamed to say I cried. To all that Mel says, I can relate. I bet you all can, too. But that is being "glass half empty." I am full of trite phrases, aren't I?!

As fun as flirting and dating and marrying and getting that promotion are, there are down sides. I've been there. We all have. It's just the way things are. OK, so my pores have gotten big and I can't seem to lose that weight, that weight that has mysteriously gathered at my WAIST! But how deeply rewarding is my view from over the crest.

Yea, it is hard getting older. But, I think, as humans , we tend to romanticize the past. A lot of it wasn't pretty, we just forget the ugly parts. There is a magazine that I love, that has helped me find more people with the frame of mind that I want to be in as I age. I am 49. My kids are older. I don't want to go fighting and screaming, and looking ridiculous. I want to enjoy each new phase. I love "More "magazine because it is all about growth and change and being excited of the person you become as each petal unfolds. Aging has ups and downs, just like adolescence, first time mommyhood, first child leaving. I think we just grieve stages of growth, then we transition, then a new stage comes again. Life will always be this ebb and flow. We need to look forward to it, and appreciate what is happening in our mind.You are far too young to read this book I love, called "The Wisdom of Menopause." We really are beautiful creatures, who grow so beautifully inside as life happens to us. It's all how we see it. Good luck.

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