What are you passionate about in life? What turns you on. lol I mean when you were growing up in your twenties, what made you excited to get up in the morning?
For some people it is their job, or families, or a special hobby. Mine is children. Yes, I am crazy. So, when I met my husband, I never thought about having children. I grew up with five other siblings and I was the oldest and always babysitting. So of course, kids never entered my mind. At the lovely age of twenty-two, I had my first child. I was never so in love after I held her. I hated labor and delivery and decided I would never have another child again, but I didn’t want her to be a lonely child so I went through it again. Then I was hooked. I had seven pregnancies and I have five live children. My mother-in-law kept telling me to have my tubes tied, that this was not fair to my husband to have to support so many kids. But my response was I was going to have as many as God will give me.
Well, when I lost my last baby, he died in the womb, I took it real hard. My husband decided to get snipped and my baby days were over. So, life went on, and I enjoyed my five precious children. Of course, we had good times and bad times, like all parents do with kids, but the good out weighed the bad.
Going through empty nest was very hard for me. Lucky for me, that is when we decided to take care of my father-in -law. He had Alzheimer’s, and we lived with him, and later moved him with us. When he died, I had my last child in high school.
Through the years the couple of kids that live by me, I had the wonderful opportunity to watch their kids on my days off of work. I think kids keep me young and alive. But they are growing and times are changing to what they think fun is anymore. And it is usually with a friend, not grandma’s house anymore, not like it use to be and the way it should be. My nights have become eating dinner and watching TV show after TV show. Boring.
My son is moving in with us and he has three children. This past week the movers showed up and my house has been cluttered with boxes. We had carpeting stripped off floors, and tile put in, painted walls and even new toilets. Watching the rooms grow into bedrooms for the kids is amazing. The play room is coming along with VCR tapes, yep you heard my right, and books and toys.
Through all of this I am finding myself getting excited again. I feel the life that I have lost coming back. I know I am crazy but I am getting excited to hear voices of my grandkids in the house. I feel like the old Marie will come back out. The one who was young and alive when playing with her own children at one time.
The one that was spontaneous and full of laughter.
So, I guess, I am saying you have to find that light that use to shine in you when you were younger, before old age took you over, and beat it. You have to find what keeps you alive and I believe that is a way to grow old gracefully.
As I was talking to a friend, she let me know how bored she was. She is only a couple of years younger than I am. She lives with a male friend, yes, only a friend, they live at different sides of the house and share the kitchen. She has children and grandchildren, but she feels like she lives alone.
I love to walk my neighborhood, and see all the elderly people sitting on their front porches. They wave hello and are so eager to talk to anyone who will listen. One of my neighbors invited me inside her home. It looked like something out of a magazine. Nothing was out of place and fragile pieces were out and about the room. I was afraid to touch or even sit down anywhere.
As we talked, I asked her about her grandchildren. She told me she doesn’t see them too often. But with the next breath she also told me that they are not allowed into most of the rooms of the house because they may break something.
My husband was sitting on the couch watching TV a couple of weeks ago, and I asked him to go out with me for a walk. Of course, he said no. I asked him to go out on a bike ride. He refused that offer also. Then out of the clear blue sky he told me he was bored, so bored, he was bored with himself and just didn’t feel like doing anything.
Maybe getting old gracefully, is to not get bored. To enjoy life. To take each day as a special day. To remember that life is a gift and we are not guaranteed tomorrow. So instead of sitting in front of the TV all day, go out and enjoy this life God has given you. Maybe not make your house so intact that you are afraid that someone will break something but make your house homey and enjoyable.
Enjoy your family or friends, because the older we get the closer we are to dying. So let’s go with a boom, and enjoy what life we have left.
What are your thoughts on this matter?
Losing your identity is a common feeling as we grow older. You have become so many people in your life, and now that you are elderly and maybe not working you feel lost. Is it the job that makes you feel like you are somebody and when it is gone you feel like you have disappeared also?
So, the question is how do you grow older gracefully without losing yourself?
I am a paramedic and only work part time. When I am not at work, I really don’t miss the job, yet I am excited the days I go to work. I feel like somebody I guess; a part of a team and I love the fact I get to help people.
My son and his wife and three kids are moving in with us. We have at this time boxes in most of the house. We are trying to put our STUFF together like one family for the next five years. My STUFF is old and theirs is a lot newer. As we went through the kitchen, taking my STUFF out of the cabinets and putting in theirs, I have to admit, I was feeling a little lost.
I mean we have been in this house for 20yrs, and I can go to my kitchen cabinets blindfolded. We took my STUFF out and put his STUFF in. His STUFF is much prettier than mine, and looks a lot nicer. Yet in a way it feels like our identity is now gone. I have talked him into keeping a couple of our things that I like to use, but mmmm, am I making any sense?
Is the way your kitchen is set up or your furniture identify you? I put in the back of my mind; it is only STUFF. I can’t take the STUFF with me when I die, and my kids will just throw it away when I am gone. So maybe I am just doing this a little earlier, so they won’t have such a job to do later on in life.
I think you have to take what God has given you and the chances he gives you to help others, to make your identity and not the STUFF you own, or your job. We do have to remember we are replaceable in the working world. Especially now since we are considered old.
Right now, God has given us a chance to help raise three children. It won’t be as hard as when I was young. There are four adults in this job, not just two. And believe me, I am looking forward to this new adventure.
We have to put our minds on what is important, and remember our identity is not about STUFF or a job. It is about how we live our life and who we are able to help before the good Lord takes us home.
How are you losing your identity?
How to grow old gracefully: We have been very busy the last couple of days. My son and his wife drove a moving truck to our house from Illinois. They are going to move in with us and of course bringing three children.
I have found that as we grow older, we are set in our ways. We lived our life, being parents, bringing up children, helping elderly parents, and finally living on our own. It is hard to accept the one thing that goes on all the time in life, CHANGE. We can not live without it. We can not control it. But as we get older life changes and so do, we. I think the hardest thing about change is to embrace it. The kids are making to much noise, we eat dinner at a different time, why are all the lights on in the house.
We have to accept change and go with the flow, trying to adjust so we can live a happy life.
We had a couple of walls put up in our house to make a playroom for the kids. Something we think will be healthy for all of us. Just doing that, is a way to grow old gracefully. Knowing that when the kids are living here, and want to play, they will have their own room to make noise in.
Our garage, living room and some of the rooms upstairs are full of boxes. This brings me back in time to when we moved with our children. Yes, we moved a lot. We have lived in seven different states as our children grew up. It is different though, knowing that your child and their children are moving in with you. Looking at the clutter is hard, but embracing the fact that we will make a difference is wonderful.
Now we have the opportunity to be a great help to my son and his wife. We get to act as parents again, hoping to help teach these kids the old rules of life, respect and love. Going back in time, to when there was no internet, and we took the kids to the park for hours, or swimming in the pool all day. Watching Disney movies till we fall asleep. Picnics in the park and feeding the ducks. Fishing with grandpa.
How do you deal with change?
How do we grow old gracefully? At first you worked for survival, to keep yourself warm and dry, clothes on your back and your stomach full. Your world is busy with your family and your job. As life goes on it seems our job takes over our family. We spend less time with them and more time at our job.
Not all jobs give a pension, but you work and hope that you can live either on your pension or your social security. You are dreaming of the day you can retire and relax the rest of your life. You have days without sleep, or missing a meal, or even eating to much as you try to keep up with your job. Your needs are less now but your wants are bigger. As you get that bigger house, or that new boat, that expensive I-phone, or the best and biggest TV set, you are getting older and the bills are coming in, making you work even harder than when you were younger to keep up. You find yourself at sixty years of age, with a big mortgage that you will have to work until you are seventy-five to pay off. Or so much debt on your credit card, you are afraid you are never going to pay it off.
Your energy is not like when you were younger and you can’t understand why you are to tired after your day at work. The younger employees, wonder why you haven’t retired yet and you wonder what happened to your energy.
Maybe growing old gracefully is being happy with what you have. Not wanting to keep up with the Jones. Looking at the fancy new car on the road, without lusting for it. Sitting back and retiring with maybe working a day or two a week to keep busy, but enjoying family or grandchildren.
It is so hard to understand that as we age, our body ages also and we can’t keep up anymore. We are in denial. Yet we struggle, and our body ages even faster because we are now not giving it the rest that we should be. Our younger days stick in our heads and we are depressed, where has the time gone.
Maybe getting older gracefully is enjoying each part of our life. Accepting the fact that we were once young and full of energy, and now it is our time to slow down and smell the roses that we forgot to smell when we were young.
What are you doing to grow old Gracefully?
The other day, I had a 75yr old man as a patient. He was having trouble walking, and now also having trouble breathing. I asked him when this all started. He told me that he didn’t retire until he was seventy years old. He worked in an office and enjoyed his job. He had been saving his money for an Alaskan Cruise for him and his wife for their fiftieth wedding anniversary. They didn’t travel much; they both worked and saved their money for retirement. They had one child and at this time only one grandchild. Life was good, no complaints until the day he fell walking down the steps of his porch. This happened three weeks before their Alaskan Cruise. He fractured his hip.
Needless to say, they had to cancel their cruise. But what comes next surprised me. He told me that it took at least six months to heal and almost a year before he could walk without a walker. But than he got a blood clot and was hospitalized. His breathing was erratic and of course as they go through your body medically, they were able to find more things wrong with him.
His face looked tired and old. His green eyes shown brightly, but there was no smile on his face. His next words took me for a loop.
“If I had known that seventy was the age that was going to keep me at home and with doctors, I would have gone on more trips, and enjoyed life a little more in the years coming to the age of seventy. I can’t walk like I use to, and can’t eat the same kinds of food. I am stuck in the house most of the time or in ambulances like this going back and forth seeing doctors.”
So, it dawned on me, is seventy the age where we become either a caretaker or the person who has to be cared for?
How do we grow old gracefully?
Did you know STRESS is the number one killer of adults? That is the first thing I learned in EMT school. Chronic stress is the sixth leading causes of death, along with heart disease, lung issues, cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, accidents and suicide.
It has been proven that mental stress changes the rhythm and rate of your heart, and can lead to death. And that emotional stress is a related illness that is a major contributing factor to your illness.
Stress increases the signs of aging; did you know that? Stress can stop you from sleeping. Stress can make you over eat. Stress can cause higher insulin level and cause your blood sugar to drop.
Stress can be so overwhelming that medical health problems and mental health problems can increase. Stress can increase your headaches and dizziness, your irritability and anger.
Stress can cause high blood pressure, diabetes and strokes.
Stress can lead you on the road to alcoholism, drug addictions and finally suicide.
So, to grow old gracefully, we need to try and avoid this thing called STRESS.
Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Let the air out slowly and concentrate on something good in your life. Take maybe ten to twenty minutes a day just for you. Close your eyes in a quiet place and relax. Focus on your breathing and on happy thoughts for that time. Get away from every day to do list and just focus on your well-being.
I like to start my morning by taking a six-mile bike ride, while talking to God. It makes the day seem a little brighter. When I am out on my bike, I feel alive and I forget what the day is going to bring for that thirty minutes. There is no mirror on my bike, just the feeling of freedom and youth. And yes when I get home and look in the mirror I see an older version of me than what I was feeling on my bike but I also feel alive and happy.
What do you do to get rid of STRESS as you are growing old gracefully?
I think it could be a state of mind. If you think younger, you can stay younger longer. But that is a contradiction isn’t it.
I think of the story Peter Pan and how he never wanted to grow up. So, he went to neverland where grownups were not allowed. Yet even while he was at neverland, he heard the stories that Wendy read to her brothers every night. He felt like he was missing something.
Why do some people enjoy life so much and others are so miserable? Your attitude and outlook are very important. I remember growing up and watching the Beverly Hillbillies where grandma always sat on a rocking chair outside on the porch.
Is that what growing old is? Getting to a certain age and just sitting and rocking and let life pass you by?
Our bodies were made to grow and hopefully our minds also. We want and need to experience what life has to give us. The first day of school, your first kiss, falling in love, getting married, having a child, your first grandbaby.
Our bodies were never meant to be alive forever. Our hearts and lungs can only stretch so long before the elasticity quits. Loot at a rubber band and stretch it over and over again until finally it snaps.
But our minds are different. We need to be careful what we put in our heads. We can harbor hate and greed which only seem to make our bodies grow old faster and our faces sour looking much younger and longer. If money or power is what motivates you, remember you can’t take it with you when you die. And the big question is ‘Are you happy.’
We can be humble and kind which will put a smile on our face along with the others we are helping. We find that we have more energy due to the excitement we hold onto for the next day. We take each day as a blessing and make the most out of it enjoying our job or families.
Growing old gracefully, is something we have to work at. I remember at the age of forty, I thought wow I am in a good place. I want to stay here forever. I am still young enough to look young yet, and have lots of energy and my mind was on top all the time. Then fifty came along, and I tried to keep up with everything I did when I was forty. The lines started showing around my eyes, and my body would not move the same anymore without aches. Of course, like all of us, I was in denial, I am not getting old, it is just a state of mind. But when sixty came along, I could see the changes. Wrinkles down my cheeks and I can’t jog like I use to without getting tired or pains in my knees.
Old age caught up to me, overnight, I don’t think I saw it coming. I decided I had to do something to try and grow old slower. Haha Putting creams on my face to try and soften up the lines. Get some extra sleep to help my mental abilities. And of course, to keep up my energy, exercise. I ride my bike now instead of jogging. It is easier on the knees. I find that as I make myself exercise, I am also giving myself more energy. My husband thinks I am crazy, why would you get up in the morning and jump on a bike for six miles when you really don’t feel like it.
What do you do to grow old gracefully?
To grow old gracefully, we think of our skin. We look into the mirror and notice the lines that form around our eyes and mouth. Wrinkles under our eyes are a natural part of becoming old. There are so many reasons that this happens. One reason is it is from the sun. If you live say Washington state where you don’t have so much sun your skin will be whiter and less lines, but if you live in Phoenix where the sun is never ending you will have more lines on your face and of course a tan on your face.
Facial expressions can cause lines on your face. If you frown or laugh a groove develops and finally stays. And the collagen production slows down as you get older. Your skin losses the ability to spring back. Well, I am in trouble now because I laugh all the time and I do notice the lines on my cheeks around my mouth and the crows’ feet on my eyes which appear more often when I laugh.
If you are a smoker the lines will appear around your mouth, sooner than the one who doesn’t. Of course, it is also because of the lack of collagen.
Those of us who sleep on our sides or stomach will produce wrinkles faster than the one who sleeps on their back. Dehydrated skin, which is lack of water will show more pronounces lines on their face.
I have a sister that sleeps on her back. She was in a car accident as a teenager and for 3 months she had screws in her head keeping her body one way only, supine. She had no choice but to learn to sleep that way. She is very young looking at 60 yrs. of age. Me on the other hand, sleep better on my stomach and when I get up, I see all the wrinkles from the pillow. They seem to be staying longer each day.
So, what is the secret of getting old gracefully? What does that really mean?
Some people might be mistaking growing old gracefully for the fountain of youth. It is written that in 1513, Juan Ponce de Leon stepped onto a beach in Florida. That is where the fable of The Fountain of Youth came alive.
Florida is the land of life-giving water, and geography features the largest concentration of springs in the world. When Ponce arrived, about 350,000 native people made Florida their home and they considered many of its springs to be sacred sites. A brave warrior Coacoochee once spoke of a dream in which his dead twin sister visited him from the land of souls, offering him a cup of pure water from the spring of the Great Spirit. ‘And if I should drink of it, I should return and live with her forever.’
In the 1900’s There was and maybe still is streets that continue to bear his name. It is written that there are stories told by natives of a miraculous fountain where waters would restore your youth. Florida took off with this and a statue of Juan Ponce de Leon was in Brevard County where some historians thought maybe this is the landfall in La Florida near Melbourne Beach where Ponce came with his ship.
Florida took off with this putting The Fountain of Youth in comic books, like House of Mystery showing and old woman who became young. The saying ‘See If you drink this magical water, you, too, can become young. A comic book The Adventures of Jerry Lewis: where Jerry is selling water with a sign saying Try our Fountain of You Water 5cents a glass and regain your youth. A police officer comes to arrest him and as he takes a drink of the water he turns back into a young child.
Different companies made advertisements using The Fountain of Youth as a selling point, like Tootsie Roll and Cap’n Crunch.
Beginning in the late nineteenth century the costal towns of St. Augustine and Key West attracted tourists looking for better health and wellbeing. Health Spas were developed along springs and rivers taunting it healing powers. At these spas this miraculous of water coming from the springs in Florida were said to cure everything from consumption and jaundice to rheumatism and syphilis. Large Hotels like the Hampton Hotel with the saying Hampton Spring Water, The National Health Resort were devoted to restore health.
The flow of water seems to have been adversely affected by nearby phosphate mining. By 1950 a newspaper article read ‘The Spring That People Killed.’ Some springs have vanished and others have diminished water quality.
So unfortunately, this is only a fable, The Fountain of Youth’ and we are back to growing old gracefully.
I am the Author
a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and still believe in the power of love &