Browsing Flickr images, I came across this wonderful photograph by Matus Bence. It’s of his grandfather, taken two weeks before he died. It’s visual homage to the oldest generation.
How I wish I had an image like this of my grandparents.
Most of us think of ourselves as fifteen years younger than we are. So we are not old, but just traveling through the outskirts of age—maybe touching down in geezer country when there are senior discounts to be had.
I think this mind set is good. If you think you are young, your outlook brightens because you still have a future. Actually, anyone who is not ashes in a rose garden has a future. A wise older person acts on that thought, not only enjoying the day that is, but looking forward to tomorrow.
As for death, when I’m having a good time, I rarely think about death and when I do, I am happy that I’m happy before I don’t have a chance to be happy anymore.
Here’s how Henry Fielding saw it in the 18th century: “Happy the man, and happy he alone, who can call today his own—-He who, secure within, can say, “Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.”
And to those who reply they are too old really live today, I say you are younger today than you ever will be again, so get going.
Mel got going under water.
Me, I was forever pre-old. Age was a distant horizon. I always walked toward it and never arrived. Well, that was the theory, but then my freckles began turning into liver spots. So I knew I had gone past pre-old into another life territory—the dewy dawn of the sunset years.
And the truth is this: how age feels is different from how it really happens. It feels as if some force lifted me up, threw me over the back fence into age forty, twirled me around menopause and stuck me down on the other side of sixty—the age tornado in action.
But age really happens bit by bit. It’s a stealth operation. You don’t know what’s going on. However, one day you realize you are living in geezer country and the trip was taken without your knowledge or consent. It was as if my body had an affair with Father Time and even my best friends didn’t tell me. Anyhow, here I am and I’m going to write about it so that others who find themselves past mid-life will have a buddy to help them over the hill, which is better than being under it, and actually a very interesting neighborhood of life.
This blog is part journal about the process of growing older and part insider instruction blog about how to do it all with grace, a sense of humor and without ending up on the obit page before your time. I delve into the large issues—keeping health, wealth and meaning in life, handling retirement, sustaining relationships, deciding on legacies and all the other big things that grow more urgent every year. But I also dig into the nooks and crannies of aging—the tiny things that either reward us beyond their measure or annoy us beyond our patience. So this blog about growing older is wide-ranging—-from what you want to be when you finally have the freedom to grow into your real self to how to double-tie your shoe laces so they won’t come undone on the hike.
Or maybe you feel you’re not ready to hear any messages from the far side of life. When it comes to aging, you want to say: No thanks, I’m just looking. Fine, but it won’t hurt to take a peek here—just in case you do grow older some day.
If you want to know more about me, click the ABOUT section above. If you want to know more about yourself, keep on reading. It may be my life, but it’s yours too, at least in spots.