ELDER MUSIC: 1961 Again
TGB FORUM: Readers Write the Blog – Day 2

TGB FORUM: Readers Write the Blog – Day 1

As I repeat ad nauseum, individuals age at different rates and in different ways so that what shows up in one person at 50 may not affect another until 70 or maybe not at all.

As a friend says the same thing: if you've seen one old person, you've seen one old person.

One of my self-assigned tasks since I began this blog more than a decade ago is, in a casual way – I don't keep notes or a chart, to track my own aging.

Sometimes that is as simple as noticing new wrinkles on my body or it can be as complex as trying to figure out if my most comfortable walking speed is slower than it was a year ago, five years ago, ten years ago. (The answer is, I can't tell.)

Now, however, I have an additional measuring stick to add to my kit: visiting friends.

Peter Tibbles writes the TGB Elder Music column that appears on Sunday. Last week he and Norma Gates, the assistant musicologist, arrived from Melbourne, Australia, for the second time in two years. I am thrilled to have them staying with me again.

Here is a photo of Norma as we were on our way Saturday for a ride along the Willamette River in an antique trolley.


And here is the little trolley:


When Peter and Norma were here in 2012, with not much extra attention to time management, I kept up this blog every day in relative ease. This time is different. This time I can feel the effects of being a bit older or, at least, that's what I think it is.

It is more difficult now to spend the time I want with Peter and Norma and still find the focus and concentration to write a post each day. So I am not going to.

But you will still have a fresh story each day because you, dear readers, are going to write it.

Thanks to your suggestions, we now have a list of forum topics. We used a couple of them last week and now I will choose one one each day this week (unless I decide to interrupt the flow with something that's on my mind).

Now you might ask why I don't just take a vacation and I could. However, many readers who do not subscribe to The Elder Storytelling Place use the link at the end of each day's Time Goes By post to read that story.

So it's two birds, one stone without much effort on my part. Plus, I enjoyed your conversations on the TGB Forums last week and look forward to more.

Today's topic comes from Charlotte Dahl:

”How have you changed over the years? Do you feel wiser now that you're old? What do you wonder about? What are you grateful for?”

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Janet Thompson: Merry Sunshine


"Do you feel wiser now that you're old?"

Are you kidding me? I peaked out in wisdom and intelligence at about age 14. I wish that I were wiser; but, I fear, wisdom hasn't "taken" on me. Is that wisdom?

But, by now I've so many more mistakes and consequences that I can remember; thus, if I stop to think about it, I might not repeat one of them.

Let's see if this will close out the italics HTML.

It wasn't your error, Cop Car. It was mine in not closing the italic tag on the link to The Elder Storytelling Place.

Fixed now.

I absolutely feel wiser now, and I wish so much that our adult children could appreciate the backlog of wisdom I have acquired, but they are adults, and I must take care of myself.

Lately, I've been wondering, much too often, how and when death will come.... and who, in this marriage, will "go first". After a 2nd broken hip early in 2013, I am grateful for the "fear of falling" that has kept me on my feet to date. My gratitude, though, is rattled each time another friend dies. I'm extremely grateful for comments at Ronni's blog that shore me up, learning I'm not on this journey alone.

I don't think "wiser" is the right term. I know I think more clearly now and about different things than I did when I working. My mind is no longer cluttered with thoughts of my job, my commute or managing my time. I have more compassion for others and appreciate simpler things in a more austere environment.

I don't know about "wiser" but I've certainly learned a lot over the years, and I'm with Pat on wishing that I could pass on the benefit of this to adult children -- my own and others'. I suppose, though, life is really about our own individual experiences and that is how we each develop our unique perspectives on life.

I'm grateful for so much, but pretty simple stuff. The birds and other nature that are abundant around my house, and that my husband and I are still living in it. We are only in our mid-60's, but there are several stone steps that, when covered with snow and ice for the months of the year that can happen, pose an increasing threat. I am also grateful for snow shovels and sidewalk salt. There is a projected shortage this winter, so I should probably hurry out to buy several bags while the weather is good.

What I wonder about mostly these days is where is it all headed? We seem to be rather on a cusp, with possibilities for wonderful or horrible things. With the projections for the mid-term elections, I'm afraid concern is outweighing optimism at this time. But I'm still hopeful.

I hope you're having a wonderful visit with your friends from Oz.

At 68, I feel wiser, but it was a long, long time coming. And just because we're wiser doesn't mean we've overcome the personality/emotional baggage that seems to override wisdom.

I can tell when I'm walking that I don't walk as fast, especially when I'm getting up from sitting, and everything seems to take almost twice as long as it did when I was 40. I'm quite sure this is pretty common for all of us, so I don't feel alone.

For the small percentage of elders who make it to 85 or 90 with few health problems - that's terrific, and I hope you know how lucky you are. But my experience and what I see, tells me once your conversation consists solely of health concerns and reports and what you had for lunch, the kind of life I want - no longer exists. In spite of that 'poor attitude'(according to people who think one medical procedure after another is better than death), I'm grateful that I've:

1. Not lost a child
2. Not faced a life threatening disease in my fifties, or early sixties
3. Retained my curiosity about everything (or is that just ADHD?)
4. Made new friends who make me laugh
5. Acquired enough assets to keep me comfortable.

I learned how to live on a limited income when I was young, and those lessons have served me well as I age, however like most elders, if dementia appears, I'm in deep doo-doo financially. Barring that I live simply, with only pets and art supplies as luxuries, and I make a point to smell the roses at every opportunity.

I wonder about little stuff; stuff that most other people don't seem to think about. When I walk into a building, I wonder who picked out the artwork, and why they chose those pieces. I wonder what products the janitors use to clean the marble floors. I wonder why that man has a bandage on his neck.

See what I mean? It's kinda crazy, but I've always been like that. It has probably kept me from accomplishing something more significant with my life, but I'm never bored.

I don't think I am any wiser than I was, but I have learned to accept that which I cannot change instead of fighting losing battles as I did when I was young.

I have learned that losing my temper only brought bad results and I can curb it now with no effort.

I have learned that worry is counter-productive and I no longer fear the unknown. (Caveat: I do fear what is happening to this country.)

I am grateful for each new day. I fully expected to be dead by 40 when I was young and I have lived over twice that long. That is a constant surprise.

I wonder what new invention is in the future. I am so amazed at the innovations that have occurred in my lifetime that I wish I could stick around long enough to see a computer than doesn't crash.

I think I'm a lot smarter than I was 60 years ago, but no one who knows me agrees.

Wisdom or common sense = gathered experiences(divided by) age.

Do I feel wiser? Sure do!

I think the real question here is, "Do you feel any less wiser now than earlier in life?"

In order to keep up with age, you must gain more of life's experiences. If you don't, you are not challenging your mental capacity.

I believe I owe most of who I am and the good decisions I have made in my life to my parents and to the man I married. They set examples in life that led to feelings of self-worth and confidence. There were also many examples of using critical, analytical, and logical thinking. My husband was brought up very much the same as I. The choices and decisions we have made throughout our married life - graduating from college, teaching and saving money before starting a family,and living within our means, all gave us a strong foundation in our marriage. Honesty, respect for each other and trust have been the mainstay of our relationship with each other, our beloved children, and grandchildren. I wonder how I will ever manage without him if he should go first. I am with Darlene on her comments with regard to learning to accept that which we cannot change and of being grateful for each new day.

No, not wiser at all, but I do feel more adult. Although I tested well when I was a kid, I often felt far behind my friends. Now that I am wearing out bodily, I find that mentally I feel a balance I never had before. I remember that I was brilliant. Not brilliant now...but I'm comfortable with what ever I have devolved to post stroke.

Acceptance is a most useful tool.

How have I changed - Physically like everyone else - yes I do walk slower - people still think I walk too fast but I know it's slower than it used to be - also I know that the amount of organising I used to do in a day or a week now takes a heck of a lot more work!
I do think I'm wiser than I was - I don't sweat the small stuff - don't worry about what others think of me - accept that my children won't really learn from my 'wisdom' - they have to learn at their own pace -perhaps that explains the state of the world - each culture and generation has to learn at its own pace - I wonder why on earth it took me so long to get to this stage of 'wisdom'! Why I didn't ask more questions when I was young - why I didn't learn more about the natural world which now fills me with delight and wonder! I am grateful for so many things but mostly for being alive in the here and now!

Two years ago I posted the following on my blog and I haven't changed my mind.

Grateful for the fellowship of being in a group of women, drinking coffee and chatting, I had my ears wide open.
No, I wasn't listening to their aches, pains and gripes in order to help them! Just because I am old does not make me a saint. Just because I am an RN doesn't make me much of a saint.
I was carefully listening to their aches, pains and gripes because all of us at the table were in various degrees of decay and I was deeply interested in finding out if my aches, pains and gripes were below average, average, above average or off the charts.

It was universally agreed in our little corner of the world that getting old is very very very very very difficult.

Still, not all of us are negative.  Somebody said, "Is there anything about aging that is good?"

Gladys had a ready answer.  Having spent decades as a school teacher, Gladys was educated in more ways than one.  She said, "One thing I like is that I have lived long enough to see some situations from beginning to end and what did not make sense earlier makes sense now that I see how it played out.  I really do feel wiser than I did when I was young.  I am wiser."

So many of the other women agreed with her that I decided to keep my mouth shut.

But I can tell you, confidentially, that I've had the opposite reaction to aging!  Before the Curtain was completely up in Act II of many Life Situations, I had it all figured out.  When the Final Curtain would close in Act III, I would sit there wondering, even unbelieving.

So while Gladys relaxes and ties bright pink coherent bows on the Plays of Life post Act III, feeling wise,  I sit there in the audience untying my hasty bow and using the somewhat tarnished ribbon to re-thread through my now old brain, feeling stupid.

Some of us feel wiser as we age.
Some of us don't.

But I can tell you this for true:  there is no substitute for feeling brilliant when you are young!!  Even if that feeling is fueled mostly by mania, caffeine, stupidity, and lack of watching enough complete Plays! 
I raise my glass to youth and the euphoria that sometimes comes to visit when all is well , ie as in young.  
Feeling smart is an intense Trip.....and getting old and realizing I was stupid is only mildly gloomy.  
And I notice Gladys is not euphoric about her real wisdom.  
Sane and happy, yes.  Euphoric? No. 
I think I may have gotten the better deal.  Feeling stupid in a sort of wise way,

I am very happy with my life so that makes me feel wiser.

I am grateful that I had an excellent job that provided a nice little pension and insurance for early retirement.

I am pleased that I married the right man for me who loves me with all of my foibles.

I am thankful to be living in an era of technological advances. I only wish all of this would have been around when I was young. Oh, what a difference it could have made.

I do wish that younger people would realize the knowledge I have accumulated and be more willing to listen to what I have to say.

I'm late to respond to this post and really can't add much. I totally agree with Riverwatch: getting old is very difficult X5. Although I must accept it, I don't like it, and I don't think I'm all that much wiser now than I was 25 years ago. I was definitely more competent and can-do then, however. I felt that I was contributing to the "greater good"--that's much less the case now.

I didn't foresee that I'd be as concerned about health--my husband's and my own--(still relatively good) and finances (not so much once I stop working) but both have a lot to do with end-of-life which is a significant item on the worry scale. Dying itself doesn't scare me nearly as much as what might happen en route despite all the directives, POLSTs and final wishes I've written.

One thing I know: there is enough wisdom among TGB contributors to float a battleship---or improve the world if anyone would listen. And there's the rub. Those pesky, entitled milennials think THEY know everything without having studied or listened to anything but their own thoughts. I know for sure that if I am not intrinsically wiser after all these years, I at least have more knowledge simply because I have listened and learned for my whole life. Physically, of course, I am decomposing faster than medications and medical devices can possibly keep up with. (And P.S. It's nice to hear from Elizabeth again---I've missed her comments.) Meg now EmmaJay

Trying the various new mental exercises just leaves me exhausted. I was very, very smart in my early youth. Then life knocked some sense out of me. I like to tell my friends, "when I was young, was a genius - not I am merely brilliant, :-)

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)