Friday, May 6, 2016

Forever Young..........At Heart, at Least

I had a milestone birthday this week.  The government considers you a senior citizen when you turn 65, but we all know you aren't old at that age. Turning 70, however, somehow makes me feel a little older.

I wanted you all to picture grandmothers from your family albums.  Not digital pictures, but real photos from long ago. Mature women used to look older than they do now, I hear.  I wanted to point out my generation isn't aging as fast.  But when I stopped to think about it, those women didn't have today's modern conveniences, and basically wore their bodies out doing things we can now push buttons to get done.

I'm going to show you pictures from my own albums.  I can't show you my own mother at my age, as she never made it this far.  My grandmothers though, both made it to about 86.

My father's mother would definitely present the picture I had in mind to show how much the aging process of women had changed since then.  The thing is, she had a stroke, and spent years in a wheelchair, in a hospital before nursing homes.  She could get up and walk behind the chair, and go play cards with other resident patients to pass the time.  Later, when moved to a home, the facilities didn't permit her to move around as much. Sitting ages your body. Not trying to move ages you faster.  Lack of interaction ages the mind.

My other grandmother had cancer, and the treatments she underwent were life changing, but she wasn't one to let that stop her.  She lived another 20 years just because, as my Mother put it, she was too stubborn to lie down.

So, as I thought of all this, I came to realize, there may have been reasons why the women looked older back then.  Hard work, illness, and lack of mobility can all manage to wear on us, and age us no matter what year we were born in.

My Mom often wondered when I'd dress my age, and I tried to tell her I was.  The way we dress has changed over the years too.  And while I would never feel comfortable wandering the streets in pajama bottoms, or leggings like some my age would, I probably wear jeans more often now than at any other point in my lifetime.

I discovered in my early 40's that who you were in your youth never really changes much as you age. You may gain weight, grow wrinkles and change hair colour (on purpose or not) but the being inside that body is still the same.  Our spirit stays young and we don't see ourselves as old as we are. We just feel the same as we always did, but we notice those around us are aging.  Have you ever gone somewhere and looked around and thought that the others there were old, only to have to face the truth that they were the same age as you were?  That sort of thing has been happening to me for the past 20 years!

I was out playing ball with my grandsons last week.  They had a couple of tires stacked in my driveway, and we were basically shooting hoops.  I know one of my grandmother's would happily have been out there with us, if it had been in her time. I guess that means we aren't really aging less quickly now, we're just healthier.

I've mentioned that I have acquired a knee problem this past year.  My mind still had me thinking  I was young enough to go on with life as I always had, but Mother Nature has a way of slowing us down, ready or not.  So, while I was happily out playing with the kids last week, a little visit to the knee specialist this week has me limping terribly at the moment, and probably looking rather decrepit to the kids. Like I said, you age when you can't move, and you age fast. Excuse me while I get up and do what I still can.  Like my grandmother, I'm not ready to lie down.  I'm going to try my best to outrun aging, even on a bum knee.

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