Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

The years from late middle age onward are also marked by a steady erosion of ambition. The cause isn’t so much a loss of drive as a growing realisation that you aren’t going to change the world after all. You’re just going to die and be forgotten, like almost everyone else. The knowledge that your existence doesn’t really matter is sobering, but also sort of a relief. It’s certainly changed my approach to paperwork.

Tim Dowling, from “I’m nearly 60. Here’s what I’ve learned about growing old so far.” (The Guardian, June 8, 2022)


Notes:

  • Post Inspired by: “My thirst for life gets deeper and deeper the less of it remains.” —  Anya Krugovoy Silver, from “Benediction” in From “Nothing: Poems by Anya Krugovoy Silver”, p. 23 (LSU Press, September 12, 2016) (via Alive on All Channels)
  • Portrait of Tim Dowling via The Guardian by Sophia Spring.

At 63, regret has been a propellant

American culture is saturated with advice on managing regret — which generally amounts to pretending we don’t experience it… The message is clear: Regret is self-defeating, backward-looking, a negative feeling to avoid at all costs.

But for Mariko Yugeta, regret has been a propellant. At 63, the Japanese athlete has quietly become the fastest woman in her age group ever to finish a marathon. She’s a sexagenarian who is beating the times she chased as a promising amateur athlete in her 20s.

After putting her athletic goals aside for decades to raise children and pursue a full-time career, in 2019 she became the first woman over 60 to run a marathon in under three hours. In January 2021, at age 62, she ran her fastest marathon ever, in 2:52:13 — meaning the world records she’s now breaking are the ones she set.

As Yugeta reclaims the dreams she once abandoned, she says her athletic breakthrough is “fueled by regret.”

“I don’t think the feeling of regret is a negative emotion,” Yugeta told me. “What’s negative are thoughts like, ‘I can’t run fast anymore’ or ‘I’m too old to do this,’ and I think that it’s an entirely positive way to live, to use any regrets you might have as motivation to achieve a goal.”

Yugeta didn’t ever stop wanting to win, she explained. “I’ve always wanted to be No. 1,” she told me. “That’s what’s gotten me out the door on rainy and windy days.”

I’d never heard of someone with a comeback story quite like Yugeta’s, which strikes me as a case study in how regret doesn’t have to drag us down. Used the right way, it can inspire us.

“It’s a waste of time to think about days gone by,” she said. “What’s important is the here and now, and the future. How can you improve yourself in the days to come?”

(Read on…)

— Lindsay Crouse, from “A 63-Year-Old Runner Changed the Way I Think About Regret” in NY Times,

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

I don’t have the energy to run around in a leotard and anklets, but I see how old people get used to dust and stickiness, mild filth and mildewed towels. It’s not because they are too blind or weak to do anything about these problems necessarily but because they have just seen too much. When you’ve buried all your closest friends, how worked up can you get about a trace of lipstick on a coffee cup or a ribbon of dust on the frame of the photo of someone you’ll never see again? You’ve buried two wives and two brothers who loved you and left you—how seriously can you take the worn spot (now sort of a hole) at the back of the chair? Perspective is useful, of course: It’s why very few people want to be eighteen again. But the other side is having so much perspective, it’s hard to give a damn about anything happening here in the real.

― Amy Bloom, In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss (Random House, March 8, 2022)


Notes:

a certain forward-tilting sense of self—the feeling that we are still becoming

Most of us alive today will survive into old age, and although that is a welcome development, the price of experiencing more life is sometimes experiencing less of it, too. So many losses routinely precede the final one now: loss of memory, mobility, autonomy, physical strength, intellectual aptitude, a longtime home, the kind of identity derived from vocation, whole habits of being, and perhaps above all a certain forward-tilting sense of self—the feeling that we are still becoming, that there are things left in this world we may yet do. It is possible to live a long life and experience very few of these changes, and it is possible to experience them all and find in them, or alongside them, meaning and gratitude. But for most of us, they will provoke, at one point or another, the usual gamut of emotions inspired by loss, from mild irritation to genuine grief.

Kathryn Schulz, Lost & Found: A Memoir (Random House; January 11, 2022)


Notes:

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call (…the senescence is almost undetectable)

I turn 60 today, and I feel vaguely embarrassed about it, like I’ve somehow let myself go, like I’ve been bingeing on decades and wound up in this unappealing condition. Chances are, most of you haven’t crossed this border station yet, so you’d better listen up. Because if you play your cards right, it’s going to happen to you too.

Here’s what it feels like to turn 60: weird. On the one hand, you’re still going to the gym and to dinner parties. Sixty-year-olds still perform surgery on people who could choose other doctors. There’s no dithering yet—the senescence is almost undetectable.

But on the other hand, you have been on this Earth for a really, really long time. […] How can all of the things that happened since that photograph was taken have occurred in one lifetime? How can people walk around holding this much of the past inside them? How do they possibly add in another two or even three decades of experience? I’m topped up! I’m going to have to start erasing the larger files. Maybe I already have and don’t know it. […] But then it got real. One day a few weeks ago, I got old. It just suddenly happened, and there isn’t a sports car in the world I can buy to make it otherwise.  […]

There was a time when I could manage my cancer without having to understand myself as “disabled,” but at 60, that time has passed.

I sat down, and my bones settled so heavily around meand the relief was so immediatethat I knew I’d done the right thing. But I also knew that through that simple, necessary gesture, I had become old. […]

I’ve actually begun to feel a bit emotional and proud. Just by staying alive, I’ve witnessed a lot of life and a lot of history. I’ve done so many things in these six decades—I’ve survived some serious shit. In many of the ways that don’t involve the mortal coil, I’m stainless steel. And on the inside, I’m still me—probably more myself than ever…

—   Caitlin Flanagan, from “The Day I Got Old” (The Atlantic, November 14, 2021)

TGIF: Schitt$ Creek

“Moira, it’s like on the inside I feel like I’m 19 years old, and then I catch a glipse of myself in the mirror, and I realize that I’m so…not.”

“Oh, Jocelyn, you’ll soon learn that we aging mortals are blessed with weakening eyes and memories so that we really don’t have to see ourselves. If you love the number 19, you go be 19.”

~ Schitt$ Creek, S5: E5 “Rock On!”


Don’t miss top Moira Rose clips on Schitt’s Creek: Click Here.

we can smell wood smoke in the air and taste snowflakes on our tongues

We’ve had decades to develop resilience. Many of us have learned that happiness is a skill and a choice. We don’t need to look at our horoscopes to know how our day will go. We know how to create a good day.

We have learned to look every day for humor, love and beauty. We’ve acquired an aptitude for appreciating life. Gratitude is not a virtue but a survival skill, and our capacity for it grows with our suffering. That is why it is the least privileged, not the most, who excel in appreciating the smallest of offerings.

Many women flourish as we learn how to make everything workable. Yes, everything. As we walk out of a friend’s funeral, we can smell wood smoke in the air and taste snowflakes on our tongues.

Our happiness is built by attitude and intention. Attitude is not everything, but it’s almost everything. I visited the jazz great Jane Jarvis when she was old, crippled and living in a tiny apartment with a window facing a brick wall. I asked if she was happy and she replied, “I have everything I need to be happy right between my ears.”…

There is an amazing calculus in old age. As much is taken away, we find more to love and appreciate. We experience bliss on a regular basis. As one friend said: “When I was young I needed sexual ecstasy or a hike to the top of a mountain to experience bliss. Now I can feel it when I look at a caterpillar on my garden path.”

Older women have learned the importance of reasonable expectations. We know that all our desires will not be fulfilled, that the world isn’t organized around pleasing us and that others, especially our children, are not waiting for our opinions and judgments. We know that the joys and sorrows of life are as mixed together as salt and water in the sea. We don’t expect perfection or even relief from suffering. A good book, a piece of homemade pie or a call from a friend can make us happy. As my aunt Grace, who lived in the Ozarks, put it, “I get what I want, but I know what to want.”

We can be kinder to ourselves as well as more honest and authentic. Our people-pleasing selves soften their voices and our true selves speak more loudly and more often. We don’t need to pretend to ourselves and others that we don’t have needs. We can say no to anything we don’t want to do. We can listen to our hearts and act in our own best interest. We are less angst-filled and more content, less driven and more able to live in the moment with all its lovely possibilities…

By the time we are 70, we have all had more tragedy and more bliss in our lives than we could have foreseen. If we are wise, we realize that we are but one drop in the great river we call life and that it has been a miracle and a privilege to be alive.

~ Mary Pipher, excerpts from The Joy of Being a Woman in Her 70s (The New York Times · January 12, 2019). Mary Pipher is a clinical psychologist in Lincoln, Neb., and the author of the forthcoming “Women Rowing North: Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing as We Age.”


Photo Credit

Sunday Morning

Our time always shortening.
What we cherish always temporary. What we love
is, sooner or later, changed…
Giving thanks for what we are allowed
to think about it, grateful for it even as it wanes…
And occasionally the bright sound of broken glass.
All of it a blessing. The being there. Being alive then.
Like a giant bell ringing long after you can’t hear it.

~ Jack Gilbert, excerpt from “Burma” from Refusing Heaven


Notes: Poem via Mythology of Blue. Photo: Maximus Audacious of Bell

That’s when you want something a little milder, don’t you?

I’m not very interested in my school days and feel no special nostalgia for them. But I remember Sixth Form. In those days, we imagined ourselves as being in a holding pen, waiting to be released into our lives. And when that moment would come, we would be at university. How were we to know that our lives had already begun, and our release would only be to a large holder pen. And in time, a larger holding pen. When you were young, you want your emotions to be like the ones you read about in books. You want them to overturn your life and create a new reality. But as that second hand insists on speeding up and time delivers us all to quickly into middle age, and then old age, that’s when you want something a little milder, don’t you? You want your emotions to support your life as it has become. You want them to tell you that everything is going to be ok.

And is there anything wrong with that?

~ Tony (Jim Broadbent), A Sense of An Ending (2017)


Notes:

Word. Full Stop.

wrinkle-face-close-up-portrait

Wrinkles here and there seem unimportant
compared to the Gestalt of the whole person
I have become in this past year.
Somewhere in The Poet and the Donkey Andy
speaks for me when he says,
“Do not deprive me of my age. I have earned it.”

– May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude

Notes:

SMWI*: Everything is boring that does not happen in a chair

horse-mouth-funny

After the customary indulgence over the holidays, here’s Donald Hall, the 87 year old American writer and poet (and Poet Laureate), offering work-out inspiration. Think “Opposite Game” you played with your kids.

My trainer, Pamela Sunburn, works me out Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. She’s tiny and strong, four foot ten and a hundred pounds of muscle. If she had to, I’m sure she could carry my two hundred pounds slung over her shoulders. For half an hour each session she has me do cardio on the treadmill, squat with five-pound weights, lift tenners over my head and out from my sides, stretch muscles, stand up no hands with a beach ball between my knees, and do push-ups (as it were) standing against a wall. Exercise hurts, as well it might, since by choice and for my pleasure I didn’t do it for eighty years. (Once in my fifties I walked four miles.) […]

I sit on my ass all day, writing in longhand, which Kendel types up. Sometimes in a car I would pass Pancake Road, two miles away, and see a man walking his collie, the dog stepping out on his forepaws, two wheels harnessed to his backside. These days I no longer drive past Pancake Road or anywhere. I push wheels ahead of me instead of pulling them behind me like the dog. With my forepaws holding the handles of a four-wheeled roller, my buckling hindquarters slowly shove my carcass forward. I drool as I walk, and now and then I sniff a tree. […]

I went out for cross-country. As I did laps for endurance, I heard my eighty-year-old coach— the war had resurrected elderly faculty— mutter, “Truck horse.” My feelings were hurt. I worked on improving my style, but when I ran cross-country, agony rotated from ribs of one side to ribs of the other. I faked turning my ankle. […]

I have been told that as a baby I crawled up on a kitchen table and devoured a quarter pound of butter. I spewed it out quickly, and mouth-memory has endured in my distaste for yellow milkfat. Because it was so athletic to climb the table, perhaps my misadventure also led to my athletic malfitness. […]

Exercise is boring. Everything is boring that does not happen in a chair (reading and writing) or in bed.

~ Donald Hall, Physical Malfitness. Essays After Eighty


Notes:

My Kind of Deity

dali-lama

Indeed, even as he seems the paragon of saintly forgiveness, he advances a claim to ordinariness. ‘‘I am a human being like any other,’’ I heard him repeat in several public appearances over the last year. In Tibet, he told me, too many superstitious beliefs had overlaid Buddhism’s commitment to empirically investigate the workings of the mind. Tibetans believed that he ‘‘had some kind of miracle power,’’ he said. ‘‘Nonsense!’’ he thundered. ‘‘If I am a living god, then how come I can’t cure my bad knee?’’

He similarly asserted his nonsupernatural qualities at the summit meeting of Nobel Peace Prize winners in Rome this December. When the city’s former mayor asked him how he coped with jet lag, the Dalai Lama, Newsweek reported, gave a frankly nonreligious explanation. He could train his mind to sleep well, he said (he goes to bed at 7 p.m. and wakes at 3 a.m. to meditate). ‘‘Traveling the world — time difference — no problem,’’ he added, ‘‘but bowel movement does not obey my mind. But this morning, thanks to your blessings — after 7 o’clock, full evacuation. So now I am very comfortable.’’

~ Pankaj Mishra, The Last Dalai Lama?


Source: NY Times Magazine – The Last Dalai Lama?

How to Age Gracefully. (7 to 93)

The secret to a long life. Oh, Boy.

funny-old-age-men


Read more here: Spirit 88.3 FM – Avoid men and eat plenty of porridge for a long life, says Jessie, 109

 

 

EXACTLY what I needed to see. PERFECT.

cool-chart-prime-person-ages


Source: People Were Asked About Their Prime Years, These Were Their Answers. themetapicture.com

Dementia: Holding onto Reason

balloons-storm-demenia


Source: Cart via Madame Scherzo. Unpublished cover for New Scientist magazine about oncoming Dementia and how to manage it.

All of the effects are amplified with age

alcohol, drinking,chart,wine,middle age

wsj.com – Drinking After 40: Why Hangovers Hit Harder. A few excerpts…

  • When you’re in your 40s, it’s pretty common to need reading glasses. You might need smaller wine glasses, too.
  • That’s because alcohol hits people harder in their 40s and 50s than it did during their 20s and 30s.
  • “All of the effects of alcohol are sort of amplified with age”
  • Body composition starts to change as early as the 30s. As people age, they tend to lose muscle mass, while fat content increases. Alcohol isn’t distributed in fat. People also have less total body water as they get older. So if several people have the same amount to drink, those with more fat and less muscle and body water will have more alcohol circulating in their bloodstream. (This is also partly why women of any age tend to feel alcohol’s effects more than men.)
  • People in their 40s and older simply tend not to drink as much or as often as those in their 20s and 30s, which lowers tolerance.

[Read more…]

4:48 am. And Inspired.

photography,memorial,terrorist,attack


Good Wednesday morning. Here are my selections of the inspiring posts of the week:

Elisa Ruland @ South of Easton with her beautiful post titled Despairin memoriam to those who died on 9-11:  “Scouring the rusted steel edges I wanted to find an explanation for the madness, I wanted to feel something instead of going numb, to find beauty in the ugliness.  The pain, horror and confusion was palpable in the blast etched remains of the steel, and the need to walk away was overwhelming.  I left without any answers to calm the static...”  That is Elisa’s photograph above.  Read more at this link.  Check out her other wonderful posts and photographs at this link.

LouAnn @ On the HomeFront with her post titled “Beauty and Grace.” You are asked to write 6 words that describe what your future holds for you.  What are your six words?  Go to this link and read LouAnn’s story.

The Kindness Blog with a post titled: “Go Humans.”  I just began following this blog which posts and shares heartwarming morsels of humanity each day.  Check out this post at at this link.  Take a moment to fan through the other posts over the past week.  I’m convinced you’ll feel a change.

Cristi Moise @ Simple & Interesting his share: People Seeing Their Younger Self in The Mirror. “Tom Hussey is an award-winning lifestyle advertising photographer based in Dallas, Texas. In a series entitled Reflections, Hussey shows a series of elderly people looking in a mirror at their younger self.” Moving.  You’ll find one of Hussey’s pictures below.  You must see the others at this link.

Have a great hump day.

portrait,photography

 


Sunday Morning: Hy Snell

“Get Old” Hy Snell, 94 from Variable on Vimeo.


“Hy Snell, 94, is an energetic and awe-inspiring gentleman. When asked how he felt about aging, Hy couldn’t even comprehend why we were interested in the topic. It was as if “age” didn’t even exist in his world. For Hy, “age” has had nothing to do with his joy and contentment in life. His immense passion for creating artwork has kept him moving forward without looking back for over seven decades despite his ongoing battle with failing eyesight. At 94 years-old and a dwindling 5% of his eyesight remaining, Hy continues to find inspiration due to the fact that he is literally seeing things differently every day. This fact spoke volumes to us since it is relatable on so many levels. In summary, Hy truly is a living testament who proves that each road block, as tough as it may seem at the time, can provide tremendous opportunity for growth and prosperity.”

Running…with Jung.

6:17am: I’m up and out the door.  It’s a beautiful morning for running. Wisps of cool air cutting through the early September humidity. Streaks of clouds cover the sunrise.  A splash of color on a few trees getting a head start on autumn.  It’s September 3rd.  And a great day to be alive.  (Hello September.  Where did the year go? Love, LOVE, the fall season.  The pulsating picture above feels like my heart does now. Ba Boom. Ba Boom. Ba Boom. Ba Boom.  Keep tickin’ baby. Keep tickin’.)

6:23am: Pace is good.  Both jets feel good.  No one is out and about. Pesky squirrels are sleeping.  Even the birds are quiet. (Yep, it’s just me and my head.  And that can get crowded.  Managed to contain the food intake yesterday. Miracle. Determined to get this weight down before the hibernation period. As Brenna would say, Thanksgiving is the time of the year “when I feel like I’ve eaten a gallon of mashed potatoes and a gravy-injected turkey and washed it down with six or seven espressos.”)

[Read more…]

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