Week of Suspended Animation
Giving NASA Proper Credit

The Evolution of Old Age

category_bug_journal2.gif Because I'm too lazy this week to do any actual work, you're getting cat videos or undeveloped thumb suckers (like this) of stuff that's been rolling around in my head.

Today, it's the evolution of individual life. It seems to me that aging is similar to Darwin's theory in that as the years go by, we move from simple in infancy (food, sleep) to complex in old age - health management, time trade-offs, money shuffling, life review, grief and more. That is, big deal stuff that takes a lot of effort and attention.

This came to mind over recent weeks as I sorted through the choices for next year's prescription drug plan, tried to decipher some proposals for potential investments (amazingly difficult for such a small amount of money), juggled available personal energy against meetings, shopping trips, house cleaning, blog writing, cooking, holiday preparation, etc. and tried to figure out why my electric bill is twice the amount it was last year at this time.

Speaking of that, although we get a raise in our Social Security benefit next year, so many of my other bills have increased that it's mostly a wash and I've been running numbers to see where I can cut back.

In addition, there are some life problems of age 70 that, because I have no experience with them, require huge amounts of time. The one I mentioned a year or two ago – dramatically thinning hair - has progressed far enough now that some kind of decision must be made soon so I'm doing a whole lot of research.

Whatever I choose to do, it's going to mean more time doing something boring every day of my life – no way to avoid that, but I intend to bitch about it anyway.

There is also a long list of updates and additions I want to make to this blog and teeth are coming up again soon. On that, there's not much to decide; just a lot of money to spend.

And, I've been making notes about some end-of-life directives I want to change. Geez, it's bad enough that we have to die, but we also have to plan it ourselves. That doesn't seem fair.

Do you see what I mean about complexities of old age? With each passing year, it gets harder to check every item off the to-do list to earn some guilt-free time for myself. In the first year of life no more than a bottle, a burp and a clean diaper come close to describing nirvana.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Claire Jean: Hair Today/Gone Tomorrow


I understand. We all do. Thank you for giving us recognition and catharsis.
Keep on keeping on, please.

Did you read that study of "Gratitude." Those who list gratitudes every day are much happier.

And too, did you note that many of us go from the infant eating and sleeping to the old age eating and sleeping? Keeping it simple indeed.

Please keep going Ronni! You are pioneering the trail for the rest for the rest of us.
It is unknown territories we are approaching.
And ahead may be the dreaded care/residential homes.
Heard story yesterday of relative in care home who woke to find another resident about to pinch her zimmer frame.

There is another part of aging that I find most difficult to deal with. Not only are decisions forced on us daily it seems, but it's much harder to make them. I get bored more easily and often have to stop reading an editorial because I just don't want to think about it. It is increasingly hard to concentrate and I have to force myself to do so.

Um - there seems to be a misunderstanding: I'm not going anywhere. I'm just bitching about the increased amount of stuff there is to keep track of as we get older.

Been trying to cut back $$-wise as well. Discovered I was renting my modem for my PC from Charter since 1999, ouch. Bought my own at Staples, should pay for itself the first year. Rarely buy lattes any longer, that was a surprisingly large outgo. One of the rude surprises about the change in my physical condition at 69 shows up when I pack for a trip, the c-pap machine is the biggest non-clothing item and it goes on from there. Not so bad I would stay home though ;-)

All of the above, especially Darlene's comment about concentrating or even being concerned about some "stuff" in the paper/blogs. As I read today's blog, I got an idea that perhaps we could do some brainstorming about all the boring things that pop-up daily (for me, anyway)that we have to contend with. It seems like some of this crap takes up too much of my precious time. There! I feel better:)Go on, bitch if you like. Dee

Have solved or am in the process of solving most of my challenges, too.

Just bought and paid for a pre-paid cremation policy. Have sent that paper-work along to my eldest child who is also my executor. Have also sent her my will. Have prepared advanced health-care directive and sent that to her, too.

Have cut back on as many un-essential expenses as I can.
Now I just have to be sure and leave $500 to my kids so they can have a party to celebrate my long and adventure-filled life!

Happy Trails ...

I can relate to what Darlene's says about waning concentration. I work so hard to keep up with world politics, there's little room for other demanding reads. I just cannot multi-task with ease any more - unless it's that old joke about being able to pee, laugh and sneeze at the same time!

I'm not sure if it really is the amount of stuff to keep track of or part and parcel of things taking longer to accomplish and my evolving butterfly mind.

So far, so good....the funeral insurance will take care of everything, last wishes, internet goodbyes (your recommendation long ago) and a relaxing into slowing down. (yeah, OK not all the time!)

I keep muttering "go with flow".

Wow, Pam, I didn't know that peeing,laughing and sneezing all at the same time was Multi tasking.

I always thought I couldn't multi-task and now you have informed me that not only can I do it, I do it very well ,and often. I'm SO proud!

Yes, in lots of ways we move from simple to complex as we age but what about our movement in the other direction? These days I wear what I like (sweatpants 95% of the time), don’t do entertaining any more (I’d rather read a book), don’t follow traditions unless I truly love them, feel no need to keep up with the latest fads or films or ‘hip’ activities, ignore most housework tasks and need a lot less ‘stuff’ than I did when I was working/bringing up a family etc. If there’s anything I do need to purchase and they don’t sell it locally I can get it with a few keystrokes.
Email is simpler than letter-writing ever was, Googling is heaps simpler than a trip to the reference library, being on a pension is simpler than having to earn money and all our household bills are on direct debit.
I just hope I can hang on to some complexity though, right to the end. Because if we come around full circle, as so many do, being fed and getting a clean diaper might not feel quite so nirvana-like as it did the first time.

Right now, at 64, I look to 2012 wondering how and for how long I can cope with my demanding high tech sales job (55 - 60 hours per week and filled with sales drama). The money is good so every month I hang in there makes retirement that much easier. Unless, the job wears me out and proves to be detrimental to my health--that's the only decision I currently worry about. My life is therefore relatively simple, for now.

Marian and John...
Points taken - and with a laugh. I could argue either way now...

Add a few health issues to the mix and this aging thing becomes a lot more "fun."

Oh, well, it's better, as they say, than the alternative.

May 2012 bring many pleasures and blessings for all of us.

"no way to avoid that, but I intend to bitch about it anyway."

So we get to see a lot more of crabby old lady posts? Yay! :-)

I have found Hair So Real fibers a godsend for my ever increasing thinning hair. Just sprinkle on, toss hair lightly with fingers and go. If you can't get an exact color match you can mix your own or just go with the darker shade.

Ronni - I did laugh - seemed like the ultimate 'bad hair day'post - yes body/life maintenance seems to take an inordinate amount of time but as Marian said luckily we are at a stage we can choose to ignore lots of things -that's something we sometimes forget we have a choice - sure the consequences might be nasty but it's still a choice - like choosing to have a lovely glass of 'bubbly' and sit back with a good book at 9am - sounds good!

Ugh, you mean my hair is going to thin even more than it has at 60? I just hate it. I inherited it from my mother....thank goodness I also got her sense of humor. :)

Thanks again for the boost in readers this week as a result of my blog being on your sidebar list. I lost a follower today, but I absolutely know the two aren't related! (See how that sense of humor comes in handy?!)

I think I understand, Ronni.
Your post is food for thought.
Over 70 for me is having time to be almost overwhelmed with the heightened awareness that comes in with trying to cope with the expansion of what I read, experience and try to understand. When I was working in industry, I didn't know and didn't care. Thanks for posting and sharing.

If you undertake some reading in early-life development, you will find that birth is traumatic, newborns can feel stress (as well as terror), and disgust is an emotion present as early as 4 or 5 months. There's challenge at both ends of life.

I'm interested in what you are going to do about your hair. Complaint interests me far less.

Hair So New Fibers looks promising. My hair
is thinning but so is my wife's. It bothers her "to no end" and I'm thinking this might really help. Appreciate the tip--can't hurt to try (and the web video and recommendations are encouraging).

I've been lucky so far in that I inherited my "female hair growth" genes from my father's mom instead of my mother's. Even before she contracted breast cancer, from which she died at age 69, my mother had seriously thinning hair including a nearly-bald spot on top. I really hoped neither would happen to me (breast cancer OR the bald spot) and so far they haven't. Although, at 75 my always-fine textured hair is increasingly fine, I still have most of it. However, I intend to keep Hair So New in mind just in case.

Even as a child, I jealously guarded my right to independence and self-determination and will gladly perform many onerous duties like end-of-life directives because I want to make the important decisions myself. (It's only "fair") AM I BEING CANTANKEROUS? MAYBE, BUT I GOTTA BE ME!

Managing getting older does take time, humor and courage. This morning a Japanese foreign student I worked with 25 years ago called to say he's coming through next week. At the end of our call, he apologized that he has lost most of his hair. I said that was fine because now I was fat & our laughter said it wouldn't matter on either side.

But this post Ronni has me thinking and I've come back to read it a few times. How will I cope, if I'm given a few more decades? I very much disliking taking the medications I do, (they contribute to the extra baggage), but I pretend they're vitamins and keep on trucking well. But what about when I can't drive, here in a vastly rural area? What if I can't lose much weight, despite moderate exercise? And...and...and better stop this mis-imagining and take care of today!

Best wishes to all here; may we come to greater peace and understanding in 2012....

At 83 I realize how fortunate I have been in my life...Advance directives--GET Them! Plans for your Memorial and/or funeral arrangements--DO Them!
I was an EMT and a Volunteer in the local Hospital for many, many years. I saw up close the problems of not having or not bothering or not caring until too late to do anything about it. Never good. We are all going to die--is this a surprise?
Let's do everything we can to have it go the best possible way for everyone.
So they can say and mean it--"thanks for the memories".

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