Daily Post Prompt: Young at Heart.
What are your thoughts on aging? How will you stay young at heart as you get older?
Since living past age 35, I haven’t much thought about aging. I have had chemical/fragrance sensitivities since high school, food and respiratory allergies—physical conditions that I am used to dealing with, and so those are non-issues. My mother has many of the same, and she is active, still seeing to the needs of house, husband, &c. and she still has a sharp mind and a … weird sense of humor. My father is jovial, physically fit and active, getting out every day to have coffee with the “boys” downtown. He manages the life and activities and camaraderie he has always enjoyed, keying down to what’s comfortable to him. I look at them and say to myself, “Yeah, I can do that.”
With my parents as examples of adapting to and enjoying life in their 94th and 100th years, I am prepared to copy with physical, financial and social changes. I have modified my lifestyle, retiring half a year before my 66th birthday and dropping some lifetime pursuits to make more space for down time, resting, correspondence and self-expression (blogging, art work, et al.), prayer and meditation.
Although I have spent my life wrapped up in music, both as a listener and as a lyricist (mostly for my own amusement), singer, and instrumentalist, I found it relatively easy to drop the music for more time to read, returning to political philosophy, social theory and ecology. Although I am considering having the piano tuned, once we have finished house and grounds repairs. (I cannot get to the piano, since most of the downstairs movables have been stacked in the living room since the spring of 2014.) As I can no longer maintain a vegetable garden, I sow wildflower seeds and watch the insects among the blooms from May through October and sometimes November.
While having respiratory problems and diminished eyesight require shifts in activities, there are always new things to learn about, thoughts to pursue, poems to write, photographs to take, art to create. And more, too, I find myself digging in, seeking out and enjoying the activities and interests that my husband and I have in common. Making dates to spend time conversing over meals out, as well as setting the house and its innards to rights while we are still up to doing so physically.
Life is life. It’s ups and downs, crises and contentment. Love, joy and loss, but always revolving around…centering on what is truly important but which can never be taken away. Even with the pain of the losses—obituaries are more often for people our age and younger, and not just the aunts, uncles and parents—there is nothing we will ever face that has not been faced and endured with optimism and confidence by many more than ourselves.
Both of my husband’s parents have died. Out of the nine of my parents’ children, six of us are still alive. My own body chemistry does not deal well with medicines or medical facilities, and so my end of life will be relatively uncomplicated. Loss and heartbreak and death are as much a part of life as love, joy, faith and peace. The one set doesn’t over power the other. They are part of the life that we all live, but they do not define us.
Romans 8:38-39 is real. We go along, at last, for the ride, hanging on with both hands to the one who’s holding onto us.