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REFLECTIONS: On Longevity

Resting My (Aging) Mind

category_bug_journal2.gif What a good conversation there was on last Friday's post about old age coming on more quickly than I had imagined it would. Obviously, I'm in good company in my surprise.

A comment from Jan Adams of the blog Happening Here and her monthly TGB column, Gay and Gray, seemed particularly apt to me yesterday, although slightly askew from the way she intended:

“For me, the symptom of aging that shocks me (a little) is not the getting tired - but the slowness of recovery,” wrote Jan. “I can still do most of what I've done for the last 50 years physically, but my body lets me know I am not to repeat that exertion for a longer period.”

Recovery time is needed, I think, not only from physical exertion, but from the mental/emotional variety too. My body is rested (or so I believe), but it's taking my mind longer to find its usual pace again. After two or three months of lists, sub-lists, phone calls, arrangements, organization, reminders, follow-ups, course corrections and numerous fixes to inevitable problems, my brain has told me it's on hold for awhile - even though most of project is finished.

Yesterday, I intended to write something relatively substantial I'd been thinking about for today's TGB, but my mind let me know that it wasn't ready to tackle it; that it wanted to play in less weighty fields and refused to concentrate – not a problem I usually confront.

I'm not scientist, physician, anatomist, psychologist or any other kind of specialist who could back up the claim (or not) I'm about to make. Nevertheless, I believe I'm correct: that a tired body includes the brain. When we wear out our muscles, our minds need a rest too – the two do not function separately.

It's just never been so evident to me before now which probably means that my mind, like my body, recovered more quickly when I was younger.

Now maybe you already know that and I'm coming to the party late. But just in case, I thought I'd mention it – and anyway, it's the best my brain can do today.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Johna Ferguson: Oh My!

Comments

I couldn't agree more! I just returned from a week in FL to visit Grandchildren (wonderful)& I was astonished to find that my mind was so fatigued! I couldn't even navigate my daily crossword. I gotta' tell you, Ronni, I was really ticked off! In fact, I was worried that perhaps I wouldn't recover & kvetched for a few days to no one in particular. So I can just about imagine how you are feeling now after the full-throttle mode you've been in. It ain't pretty, but as my 95 year old mom says"........not much you can do about it!" Dee(:

"Rest--the sweet sauce of labor."--Plutarch

Couldn't agree more. I had an unexpectedly active weekend and now I enter my regular week pooped in body and mind!

The brain is an organ. Along with the rest of the body it wears out a bit at a time. First comes mental fatigue and then short term memory loss speeds up.

I don't mind the physical loss of muscle or slowing down, but I hate it when my brain simply refuses to bring forth words more and more frequently. I can't remember things for two seconds and it is driving me crazy (No pun intended.).

Yes! I'm just home from an eight day road trip, and all those awful symptoms of aging beset me every day. I even found myself puffing and my legs dragging behind me on occasion. The doc who told me that I had to stop walking aught to have been shot. I may ruin my hip if I walk, but I should keep the rest of me. Swim and walk now....no matter what.

Yes, also, the important weighty entries are important, but smaller entries may have more importance in the long run. Enjoy the day, the Ollie, and the charming condo.

I am virtually brain dead after a super intense two weeks of travel, visiting old friends, being with kids and grandkids...
And I have hay fever!
Like you, I am aware of all the things that need to be thought, said, and commented on, but I am beyond doing much besides staring out the window this a.m.

I've spent most of my life ignoring what my body tells me and at 68 it just isn't going to take it anymore. Now when we travel we reserve the first day for a late sleep, a quiet breakfast, some visiting and then a nap. I've learned to not be embarrassed about it and that's progress. My hubbie is 10 years younger than I and sometimes I can see he's pooped and then he says loudly, I think Celia needs her nap now. Ha, ha.

I hadn't thought of this as such but agree that it happens. I noticed more little things like not instantly remembering a fact I know I should know and it will come to me but take awhile. But I think that after a lot of stress or activity, there does require some brain downtime; so good article on that.

I'm grateful for this entry! My brain balks at Substantial Blog Post about half the time, but I try to flog myself on anyway. I imagine the outcome often proclaims, "My brain was too old for this subject today, but please give me credit for trying."

Ronni, a cross-country move is a major, major stressor--at any age.

You did a great job, and you're there now. Look back over what you've accomplished, and don't even hesitate to enjoy plenty of downtime!

What a cool place TGB is. And, Ronni, thanks for the dialogues you've helped create about what the aging experience is like.

I'm just wondering about some 'what-ifs' that are making a positive difference for me...

What if...?
...we take CREDIT for much better self-care than we exhibited in a past of multi-tasking, overwork, stress, moving, children, etc.?

What if...?
...we stopped speaking of 'symptoms' of aging as if it is a disease, and enjoyed all these opportunities to know ourselves and our bodies, & grow into an acceptance of a process that effects all of us differently and will happen whether we complain or not?

What if...?
...an afternoon nap is a perk and not a prescription?

What if...?
...we model a kind of aging that embraces the changes as natural to our development as the wise & graceful elders of our tribe?

My own experience tells me that the more I focus on what I CAN do, the less I notice what I can't do.

The more grateful I am for all the ways my body did and DOES support me, the less I notice knees or hips, etc.

And the more gracious I can be about letting some of these 'whippersnappers' help me, the greater is their opportunity to see the real elder 'me' and to understand.

Yes, it's still true that 'aging ain't for sissies', but which of us wants to be THAT?!
I'm aiming for something like Grand Wahine Matriarch Omnicrone; she of the quarterstaff and dancing shoes. Come go with me; it FUN.

Yes. Take the time to rest and settle in. But I can't help thinking a restful couple of days at the Oregon coast would be great for you Ronni. Lincoln City? Cannon Beach? Ahh, Oregon.

Well, it's all been said but - Welcome to the party.
I wonder though if you meditate. Don't remember if you've mentioned it. I find that it's like taking my brain to a mini spa - not to mention the rest of me.

In my doteage, I have learned to close my eyes and meditate...I make up different mantras and just go away to my solitude...it is good to just let the momemts flow over you and find your peace.

You've pinpointed a definite fact about aging that our "residual" strengths in function do decrease as we age, but there are various ways in which to describe that happening as you've done.

An area of tiredness I've recognized for many years, even when I was younger, is associated with hearing. I literally experience a feeling I've described as "my ears feel tired" after being subjected for a period of time to artificial noise -- digital will do it now, especially if using a headset. I first became aware of that years ago with a Walkman.

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