Saturday, June 7, 2014

on aging (part ii)

I just reread my post from yesterday and I sound so shallow.  

I guess what I was really trying to document is that while I know everybody is getting older all of the time, I never realized it was happening to me.  It seems so obvious when I look in the mirror, because, duh, I'm nearly 56, but inside my mind, I still feel like I'm in my 20's, and I'm stunned regularly to realize how skewed my perception is.  Obviously, I'm not talking about the big, death-is-right-around-the-corner things like cancer or heart disease or stroke...I'm just more aware of the small changes that are happening gradually, over time, that suddenly become obvious.  This mindset of mine, that I can still do whatever I want to because I'm still 23 helps me understand people who parachute out of planes at 85 (George Bush) or ride motorcycles at 74 (my gramma) or take long road trips at 80 (my mom).  They still feel capable and young at heart.  This must be a good thing.  Like zumba at 55.

Also, to continue with my shallow nature, I forgot to mention the changes in my skin--the new wrinkles, the old lady pores, and the spots.  Oh my the spots.  I've always had freckles that I thought of as cute little bits of color from the sun.  But now all of that healthy sunshine has led to all kinds of skin damage.  And by the time I realized it was causing damage, it was too late. 

I heard a story on the radio yesterday about the oldest living creatures and about how some living things are much better at healing themselves than we humans are.  The storyteller pointed out that really that is what aging is all about--our bodies not being able to totally heal themselves and eventually failing.  And while one of those major ailments is what will probably kills us all eventually, right now, subtle changes are happening all of the time that I didn't expect and am surprised to learn about.

That's all I was trying to post about.  The gradual, subtle changes that come on so slowly that I'm not even aware they're happening until they are staring at me in the mirror, and the confusion about what might happen next.  Maybe that's being shallow, or maybe it's just feeling more aware.



Lisa B. said...

Please don't think of these essays on aging as shallow. We live in the world in our bodies. Our bodies change. That's going to elicit some feelings and thoughts, and it's fine. I appreciated them, as a person who's having the same/similar experiences. My philosophy has been that I'm going to try to focus as little as possible on this, rather try to experience my body as the gift that it always is, allowing me to walk, sleep, eat, see, listen, and so on. And I really don't want anyone telling me that I'm old, because I don't need that filter on my experience. Let me experience my own life, thank you, without your labels, man. I vote for awareness, and then just setting those observations to the side, because they are part of your reality, but they are not the total of you, your life, of what you want, or of what you can do.

Sermon out. I appreciated these two posts. xoxo

Jake Wilde said...

So I thought of a better explanation from the other day. Someone can tell you all about a famous monument. You can look at pictures and read about them, and see them compared to other monuments that you have seen, or talk to your friends about their opinions about them, but they still are not truly understood until you experience them yourself.

I for one, did not take this post as being shallow. I looked at it as you becoming aware of changes in your body that hadn't previously noticed. I think that we as humans tend to ignore small changes that occur daily, and when we notice the changes over time it can be shocking.

Amelia said...

I didn't think it was shallow at all. It resonated with me. I have found a lot of that to be true, especially about aging. Thank you for writing it!

Johanna said...

What surprises me is when I see pictures of people my age and they look so old and I realize that's what I look like to other people.

It's not shallow to feel it. I have a sense of sadness and a little envy towards little hard bodies, even though I wouldn't go back.

Interesting thought that we stop healing. Maybe we just get tired of healing. Right now, I'm tired of trying to heal emotionally. I think my mind and my soul is tired of it. Maybe we start to long for new. Now who's a downer?

Carly Simon has a song where she says, "Death is only a horizon." I believe that. But it's amazing as you travel down the road to see how the road changes the closer the horizon comes up.