Crabby Old Lady Writes About Her Cancer
INTERESTING STUFF – 9 September 2017

Some Advantages of Being Old


Crabby Old Lady and I have spent a lot of time here in the past couple of months writing about one of the big downsides of old age, serious medical problems. Let's do something different today.

Here is a list of some of the advantages to growing old. I forgot to note where this came from so apologies to whomever I've cribbed it from.

Oh, and if you think some of these are ageist, don't. It's okay among ourselves as you'll see when you realize you're nodding in recognition at each one.

You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.

It's okay to talk to yourself.

You can't remember when you last laid on the floor to watch television.

You can nap whenever you feel like it.

You can reread old books because you've forgotten the ending anyway (similarly for TV shows and movies).

Your eyes won't get much worse.

Your secrets are safe because your friends' memories are no better than your own.

Almost all the difficult, major decisions in life are behind you.

You can stop trying to keep up with technology.

You could call that list a bunch of silliness, but admit, you've had these thoughts yourself.

The list came to mind recently when I read a story at Lifehack titled 6 Benefits of Getting Older You Probably Never Expected.

You can tell from the headline that it is written for people who are much younger than you and I and in fact, there is nothing in the article that I didn't already know.

But it is good thing nonetheless because it is important that young people and American culture at large be repeatedly reminded that life doesn't end at age 40 or 50 and often gets better as the years pile up.

Noting that no one escapes growing old and that young people's fears of old age are not necessarily invalid, they probably have not considered the advantages. Here are writer Devon Dings' six benefits:

1. We Have Much Clearer Priorities
As we grow older, we are able to differentiate our needs from our wants while focusing on the matters and goals in our lives that are relevant.

2. We Don’t Care As Much What Others Think
It is when we realize that others’ judgment isn’t fatal that we will finally be able to start taking the chances and risks that we’ve held back from.

3. It’s Easier to Manage Our Emotions
We realize how little the opinions of others really affect us, and are able to transform the anger and sadness that we receive into motivational thoughts.

4. Headaches Are Fewer and Further Between
At the start of the study [in 1994] all patients claimed to suffer from one to six migraines a month. When Dr. Dahlof followed up with the patients in 2006, at least 30% of them had not experienced a migraine within the last two years.

PERSONAL NOTE: I never suffered migraines but I had a headache several times a week for most of my adulthood. They diminished as I got older and disappeared entirely 10-15 years ago.)

5. We Have Higher Sense of Self-Worth
At this point in time we have proven over and over that we can do it, and that there isn’t a better way to learn than by failing.... We base our choices [now] on what we can do, or are interested in achieving.

6. We Can Learn From Our Children and Grandchildren
Our children and grandchildren, who have grown up in this new world, will have the capability to assist us and fill in any information gaps. We will have taught these individuals the necessities of living, and the skills required to survive, now they will assist us to do the same.

You can read Dings' full explanations for each one at Lifehack and I am wondering what you would add to his list. Let us know below in the comments.


The lack of stress is the one thing I am most thankful for now that I am in my dotage.
I have less to worry or concern myself with that I ever had in my whole life.
No job, no school, (No money, so finances are not a problem), fewer possessions to "guard", no car, so no car insurance, parking, repairs or breakdowns or traffic to worry about.
No women (Big stress maker.)
I'm a guy, so the clothes I wore 10 years ago are still in fashion. (note to self: BUY SOCKS).
My biggest decision recently was whether or not to subscribe to Netflix.
I went for it.

Yup, my eyes got worse, and I take naps only when there's someone to wake me up after an hour. :)

Asking for help: A big hurdle for me to cross. Stating my needs more firmly.
Dispensing with men except as friends.
Wearing exactly what I want and not owning any dresses or Hugh heels.
No makeup. Ever.

I love it! Yes, I've thought them all!

Mage, you need a cat! My cat, Hemingway, will only let me "rest my eyes" for so long, and then he jumps up on my belly. That will wake you up!
Wisewebwoman, I can identify! I own no dresses. I live in Florida, so wear shorts most of the time, and slacks on a "formal" occasion. I wear Birkenstocks when I go out. Quit all makeup, wear my hair straight & long & up with a clip. Never been happier!
Have a great day everyone! Laughter is the best medicine!

I would protest the emotion one. Anxiety has taken over and I have to talk to myself all the time to come down off that ledge of concern.

I would also disagree with the one about keeping up with technology. I love technology and all it can do for us. I want to always be up-to-date.

I too use and try to keep up with technology. Fortunately I have grandkids and kids who are way ahead of me. I can ask for help when I start to swear at the phone or computer.

I laughed out-loud at laying on the floor to watch TV.

The list left me thinking "I'm not that old" - yet.

Yes, Jean, laughter is the best medicine; it is a friendship maker and keeper too.

I haven't watched TV on the floor since they quit being inside consoles that were close to the floor! Might still do though if they were!! Made me laugh too.

I find more humor in laughing with friends about the vagaries of aging, and will no longer be around people who only want to whine and complain. But I'm more tender with them because I now know they're suffering; so I'm better at accepting what I cannot change and don't try to cheer them up.

Occasional whining and complaining is perfectly acceptable however.

As for keeping up with technology... After a career in which it was largely my job to seek out all the new stuff, figure out what was going to have an impact on the world, and explain that to corporate management... I finally got to realize that on a personal level, I had the option to pick and choose! I could keep up with the tech that I liked, and I didn't have to bother with the rest.

So I am pretty adept at the tech I do use... and I feel no sense of inadequacy whatsoever about not being familiar with certain other aspects of technology that I have considered and rejected as harmful to how I want to live.

I know it's not going to be a permanent situation. Nothing lasts forever. There will come a time when there's something I would really like using if I could only get into it, but my brain won't be up to the learning curve. Perhaps because of damaged neural circuits... or perhaps because of some rejection decisions I am making now, which will have left me with a gap too large to leap.

I'll deal with that when I get there.

If this sounds immodest, I am sorry, but it's the God's-honest truth! BEING REVERED! When I was a young folksinger, I once saw an older woman arrive at a folk festival and be immediately mobbed by adoring fans. I remember thinking "I want to be her someday." Guess what! At almost 85, it is happening. By still staying active in the folk scene--singing in open mics, going to hear other performers, and keeping the thread of traditional music alive (which few do), I am still constantly visible. Younger musicians, including a 13-year-old, rush to give me hugs and tell me how I inspire them, and call me the "grande dame of Hudson Valley Folk music." Do I love it? Did I earn it? You bet, to both questions.

I also love the increased chivalry shown to me as an old, disabled woman on a walker--doors opened, an arm offered, etc., sometimes by the most unlikely-looking prospects (kids with their noses in their phones, bikers, upwardly-mobile young adults who one would think wouldn't even notice someone in need of help).

Speed limits are still a challenge, but now they tell me how fast I have to go to keep from getting run over. I stay off highways and freeways as much as possible.

Technology? Love it, and gotta keep up with the kids and grandkids.

Comfort is my only consideration when dressing. My only makeup is moisturizer.

Yes, I love being able to watch old and not-so-old movies and TV reruns because although they may seem familiar, I never remember the endings.

Mostly I love no job, no deadlines, no morning alarm.

About Number 5 - We have a higher sense of selfworth. It comes from experiencing life and all that comes with it. What saddens me is that younger generations don't recognize that worth as much as they could or should. Until they're our age!

One note about cat nap advice. You might want to interview the cat before relying on wake up service. Mine, for example, is excellent at morning alarm duty, but nap time? Ha, his philosophy is, " lets turn over and get some more zzzzzzs".

Meanwhile, great list. And yes, I identify with just about all of them. However, I learn new stuff, like tech because I like to, not because I want to keep up with anyone else. Remember the Jones Family we used to have thrust upon us as folks to keep up with? Haven't heard from them in years!

No makeup, no bra, no curling my hair every morning -- jeans and a tee shirt every day.

Still a political activist, still sing all the old folk music. Where's Joan Baez when you need her?

Still willing to demonstrate at the drop of a pin. Love the environment and can't believe that the current administration is willing to pollute and tear up the national parks and monuments and to kill the wild horses and burros. Still fighting fascism and oligarchy.

Still fighting for the underdog.

First time commenting

number one for me is no alarm, ever again, period (except for that blasted fasting blood work every four months). I may never see a sunrise again.

I blame the dog when I talk to myself.

I am into tech, as evidenced b my need to have the newest samsung device when it comes out.

I will never dress for sucess again, and with few exceptions if I dont wanna, I dont hafta

I actually don't agree with some of the Devon Ding's observation. I am less clear about my objectives and am trying to figure out how best to utilize my last years on this earth plane. I seem to be getting headaches when I never used to get headaches (very occasionally when I was younger. Now low and annoying headaches for a couple of days every couple of months). My eyesight is continuing to diminish. I am working very hard not to loose my sense of self-worth. I don't know who Devon Ding is, but his/her experience is very different from mine.

"The Advantages of Being Old"
What is "Old" ?
I am 69 years and still love to dress fairly fashionably or modern, wear make-up and wash and blow dry a good haircut. I'm never "overdone". Only concession is comfy footwear and no heavy purses.
My husband also likes me this way... but I do it for myself. It feels good.
Love my computer and texting the kids.
Rejection still hurts but I can deal with it.
Naps are essential somedays.
Heath concerns are more stressful.
Never read books twice or see movies a second time...there are too many new ones to keep up with.
I admire those who are different.
Bless our differences.

Not having to keep to a schedule is the best thing about being old. I am getting so used to it that I resent having to get up at a prescribed time for a doctor appointment. I am getting downright lazy and loving it.

No one has mentioned the very first advantage to aging if you are a child-bearer: menopause. Freedom from mess and worry about getting pregnant and hormonal mood swings and headaches,etc, etc. Of course, the down side is no more estrogen to keep the bloom on the rose, so to speak. But still, it's a net gain in my book.

Tech is going to make vision loss in aging much more bearable. Bring it on!

The only long dress I own is the one I've dubbed my "grandmother of the bride/groom dress" . It's going to it's 3rd wedding in Dec. leaving possibly 11 for the future. (I should live so long !?) But I wear it with compression hose, not pantyhose, and flat shoes.

Oh yes, Barb! No more alarm clock! No longer am I at the mercy of that tyrant! (Except for a rare early-morning appointment.) That is definitely the very best part of being old.

And not caring so much about how other people judge me. That is so freeing, for so many things. I can pay attention to what I think is important. I can choose to do what's sensible for me, whether that's wearing socks with sandals (because if I don't my thin skin gets chafed), or not washing my hair every day (because it turns out my grandmother was right, on our kind of hair the natural hair oils are better than any conditioner at preventing dryness and split ends).

Everyone has a different experience at different times in the ageing process. This is not one of the times when I can "appreciate" being old--it is what it is!

Casual clothes, nothing tight or binding. What a relief. Letting my hair grow so I can keep it in a pony tail and free myself from haircuts. I was a shoe affectionado but very arthritic feet have narrowed my choices considerably. I make it through the summer now with very well padded, thick and soft thongs on my feet.

People let me have the "good" chair and I am happy to accept.

I have to object to the idea that major life decisions are behind me as I move further into my 70's. My ex-lawyer husband used to make a lot of financial decisions -- I'll never forget the day we talked about long term care insurance. We had it for about 4 years until 2008, when the recession hit and my husband had two big cases end. He looked over the LTCI documents and said "This is only dementia insurance." His income was tapering down, and neither of us -- high functioning, multiple degreed professionals -- thought that dementia would ever touch us. All of our four parents lived into their 90's with all their marbles. His was the bigger income, which had taken a major hit in the recession of 2008. So we agreed to cancel this expensive LTCI (who really needs that? we thought). His income declined and at the end I had to supervise his withdrawal from law practice, as he could no longer do his own billing (which at that point was minor and which I vetted) or understand the forms he had to fill out to resign from being a licensed attorney in 2014 (symptoms went back for well over a year, and in retrospect longer than that).

To bear witness against your statement about "major decisions being behind" you, I have to say that I have never been faced with the kinds of decisions I have to make since his diagnosis, which includes hiring an expensive lawyer to try and let me stay in our Seattle house (not a very possible outcome). So-called "memory care" in Seattle now costs about $10,000 per month, and to qualify for Medicare you can only have $3000 in the bank and cannot keep a house that has been inflated in value like those in high-tech Seattle.

If you are not living with a dementia patient you really cannot understand what it is like, and there is of course no reason to step into that dark world until you have to. But please don't tell me, or anyone living with an ALZ or other dementias, that they have all their major life decisions behind them.

What I will say next will be heretical on your blog, but from my perspective, cancer is a much better diagnosis than dementia. With cancer, you will live or die, despite or because of the radical treatments you will undergo (other stories available on that point). With dementia, you will suffer a long term, lingering living death that will turn you into a pitiful version of who you were, while bankrupting the people you care about. If I had to choose my poison, I would choose cancer any day. I have pills to end whatever condition I find unacceptable, but my husband (who planned, but could not carry out, a suicide attempt after his ALZ diagnosis) no longer knows that he has any problems. Like a psychotic, it is the other people and the world who are creating problems for someone who before was extremely kind, affable and a great person. Now he becomes agitated and annoyed, no matter what anyone does, and we are only in the "early to mid-stages" of this disease. Since both his parents lived into their 90's and he is only 69, I am told to expect at least 10, probably 15 and up to 20 years of his fading life. I will be a pauper with at most $3000 in the bank and unable to live anywhere in Seattle, not to mention our disinherited adopted son who needs an inheritance .

I appreciate your blog, but you are relentless in dismissing the idea of dementia as if it couldn't, wouldn't or shouldn't affect any of your devoted followers. You don't like ageism, but this IS an actual aspect of aging for a significant percentage of the population,
so perhaps you have a willful blind spot, after all it is not your problem. But since your blog is about aging, maybe you could consider including this (very negative) aspect of aging? Or not. OK enough said.

dkozy -- get a prescription for Xanax/alpralozam - low dose. Anxiety is real and benzodiazepams help a lot.

I would take issue with only one of yours -- "Your eyes won't get much worse." They might. My mom is 93 and has wet macular degeneration.

A real medical miracle is that they can now arrest it with shots in the eyeball (not as bad as it sounds, you are numbed) but not totally.

My sympathies to Cassandra. I have not (yet) experienced dementia but do know something about the disappearance of the person you love in my aunt, who died of Pick's disease (frontotemporal dementia). Once a traveler, a member of her church choir, and the department head of accounting for NJ, she lost the ability to express herself or comprehend language. There were times when she would empty her kitchen cabinets because she couldn't remember how to make tea or boil spaghetti sticks. There are quite a few relatives that also have some form of dementia. I pray many times that when I forget a word or a face, it's not dementia. So far - so good.

As to the good things about growing older - younger people offer a seat on the bus, wait patiently for me to pass through doors, senior discounts, food boxes from programs like Philabundance. Nobody cares what I wear anymore, if it's clean and on the right side (except my daughter). And staying home and reading a good book while my husband uses the computer seems like one of life's greatest pleasures.

On the days that my Fibromyalgia is raging (tough to acquire that later in life) along with some other health problems, I take advantage of the perks of aging. Blessed with looking much younger then age 73, like Chilllin, I love to put on makeup, and fashionable attire and go out to lunch or dinner and attend a myriad of other functions with friends and family. But my usual attire is jeans and a t-shirt or sweatshirt. I have hobbies I enjoy and a lifetime passion for gardening. I take pride in the garden I created in my active retirement community for residents to enjoy. Technology is a good thing in my life. I have no knowledge of what's to come, but I'll keep on chuck in as best as I can.

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