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Archive for the tag “aging”

Happy Endings

Are there such things? What does the title say to you? I think to figure the endings out we must start with the beginnings. In the spirit of where many of us are let’s address this as a result verses a consequence. On the road to connecting with a partner/ companion/ love interest we encounter many obstacles.

Our age group being a huge factor. We can lie to ourselves and say, “age aint nuthin but a number” but in actuality age is far more than a number. With one’s time on the planet we gain certain things by virtue of mere exposure. Some of these things we keep, cherish and utilize. Others we carry like heavy baggage waiting to be unloaded.

For me treading these “murky waters” of senior dating clearly (forgive the pun) there have been far more failures than successes. I am being kind; for the plain truth is they have all been failures. This is not a blame game either. I do believe they have been simple mismatches, well at least the majority of them. Yet with that in mind, it is still not easy to tell someone This is NOT working. People take that statement personally in the most negative of ways and that is NOT always the case.

Like I said earlier we need to examine the beginnings. I have experienced some seemingly great starts. Good conversationalists, intelligent, attractive, tall… most of the ones that have not worked out, I am thankful have ended in very early stages. Not a lot of time, effort, or emotion vested. With this particular “relationship” type things usually just drop off, the calls become less and less until there are none, you look up and months have gone by, and soon you realize YOU have gone on. Then there are the “ghostings” a bit more of a sensitive subject and covered briefly in prior piece. I will again state sometimes there is just nothing to say, no case to be made, but when it happens the party being ghosted does not understand. Why not just take it as… if this is all they have for me there truly is nothing that needs to be said. However, we are human; rejection does not sit well with most of us, we are curious and sensitive. There IS the need to know “why”. This writer is challenged by this very thing as well. I have to say I should follow my own advice in these cases. I am certain there will be more not-so-pleasant breaks. I also feel like we have to be subjective in the way we view what a happy ending if. Sometimes you are lucky you get the one you want, and everything is good. Other times you do not walk away with the intended party and that too is a good thing. Just a couple of brief examples and in either case, the respective endings can still be happy.

Do You Think We’re Sexy?

Remember that song by Rod Stewart…”Do You Think I’m Sexy?” How many of us danced to, sang aloud, whispered the lyrics into the ears of a lover and even laughed at the idea certain individuals would even suggest the mere idea came to their head? Let’s be honest here sexy is not just a look, it IS a state of mind. Back in 1978 many of us were teens and young adults; we were in our most perfect forms and at the height of our sexuality…of course we thought we were sexy!

I recall having a discussion with a “sister/friend about a Human Sexuality class she was taking in college. I remember being absolutely repulsed when she described a film/video the class watched in which seniors were interviewed. Plus, they not only discussed sex at their age, but there were also visuals. I could not imagine why people that age would want to have sex. My immature mind could NOT wrap around the idea of folks with their particular type bodies would want to see one another naked, let alone be aroused by such a sight. Keep in mind I had seen a grand total of ZERO naked seniors. My opinions were solely based on what I could see in their respective faces and therefore I figured the bodies had to have a similar look.

Fast Forward: here I am now that person that I imitated throwing up at the thought of, facing the question of sexuality. We must couple the idea of physical beauty, with physical limitations. Pregnancy has gone from being covered up like a nun (which was in direct contrast to the condition) to painted and bared bellies. Perhaps a better question for “US” would be… Do you think we’re sexual? The answer is as varied as we are, but once again our numbers draw attention to us. Senior dating sites are as prevalent as ones focusing on the young. Why is that you may think…short answer is because we as human beings still want to connect and to be connected. As life progresses things happen, spouses/partners leave us either through death or through divorce. Then we are left to do what our very nature tells us we must do…find a mate/companion/love.

Sex is everywhere on one level or another and that is NOTHING new. Yet as we move forward and evolve, we cannot help noticing the changes in ourselves, our contemporaries, our environment and society’s attitudes. I have said this time and again as I have written in this blog we “baby-boomers” are a group that none of the likes have been seen, we are trendsetters by virtue of existence. Our numbers alone call for recognition as we draw attention to what it looks like to live, grow up, and age in a modern society with instant access to record and catalog it all. Have we changed our minds about sex and being sexy? I say,” YES absolutely”. When you see a muscular young man at the gym or a toned young woman at the beach in a skimpy swim suit, do you judge them or do you fondly recall when that was YOU or someone you would set your sights on? Don’t be creepy or forgetful, it can be easy to fall into those pigeon-holes. Do you think we’re sexy…HELL YEAH WE ARE!

Redefined

Things aren’t like they used to be. No surprises in that statement but making that statement and NOT truly recognizing what is being said sets one up for a bit of confusion. At one time or another one may find themselves in what used to be a familiar situation, and although one might be compelled into thinking the same strategy, plan, method would still work, you must resist that train of thought. Instead, you must embrace the idea that change has likely taken place and you must approach from a different angle.

It was an innocent looking encounter, if you were not paying attention. When we are in close proximity to one another and couple that with the fact human beings are social, there is nothing extraordinary about a chance meeting on a bench. What isn’t so innocent is when one gets too close too quickly. Everyone is not easy to get to know. One must be mindful of this, or one could “scare” the other individual away. I am a people watcher just by nature and I was given a unique opportunity to see the failed attempt to become familiar unfold. I was not privy to the conversation itself; I saw body language and facial expression. I do not believe anything inappropriate was said or done. I summed the entire episode up as one individual simply not wanting to be bothered. In this situation as the other person persisted it then became more personal and now took on the tone of, she was NOT interested in talking to this man specifically. Sometimes you have to know when to stop, sometimes you have to know when to simply move on. Cut your losses, live to fight another day…but it was clear this fellow was applying methods that worked a long time ago. He was lucky, from my vantage point, that he did not get an old-fashioned slap. The fatal blow to what was left of his ego. Yet, I do believe because his intended target was not flat out mean, he will try again.

Don’t get me wrong here, there is something to be said for persistence. The only thing I can say is the desired effect was NOT achieved. How much time do you invest in the tried and true? When do you come to grips with this is not working…? Some goals are unattainable, we must learn that “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” does NOT have to be our mantra. Instead shoot for, “I’ll try something new”. Hit the gym, don’t cut your long hair, take that painting class…. Our advancing years do not always indicate we are increasingly limited. Make this your venture into becoming…REDEFINED

Once A “Playa-Playa”

Walking through the parking lot of a noted senior living complex, I spotted beautiful and bright red Mustang. I could not tell you the year, but it was an eye-catcher. It was the kind of car; younger men want for obvious reasons. It is the same car that law enforcement has been “rumored” to target for speeding and insurance companies govern themselves accordingly. Back to my walk…I noticed more than the red paint job. The car was adored with chrome. The rims were red and chrome, there were chrome door guards, for a moment I was propelled into my past and I somewhat laughingly took a look for chrome mud flaps (there weren’t any thankfully I may have not been able to contain myself). I did however see inside the chrome chain license plate frame “OG”. I dropped my head and had to look away. I was being judgmental, and I could not get a handle on it. There it was, my mind was in a whirlwind…”Oh my goodness, get real, poor guy is delusional, Dude you live in a senior complex!” Now I am still walking but obviously looking at that car. I saw the vanity plates, the car is a convertible, his side view mirrors, and the shaker hood are all chrome. Does he want to be seen or what? I have seen this guy a few times. I never recognize him without his car and when I see the car I basically “tah-tah” him off with thoughts of the level of ridiculousness he must possess to drive around at his age like that. Sometimes I think what he must have been like when he was young…. He is not alone.

There are a few wannabes and maybe actual ” once were’s” who are now “has beens” in the complex. They walk around with cigarettes in hand, they wear various hats or caps, mostly to hide the receding hairlines or the bald/balding heads. They dress in a fashion that is a cross between gardener/construction worker/”tennis-shoe pimp”…you gotta see for yourself. If they are not sitting on the bench waiting for the local free-to-senior’s omnibus running their mouths, they are standing about 100 feet from the security doors finishing a smoke or about to begin one. Gone are their glory days. No more women, no more fights, just reminiscing the days gone by, but with the arrogance (in appearance) that they could still do their thing. It is a funny thing to watch; beings like these guys attempting to be charming and humble. Characteristics they are completely unfamiliar with. I applaud the effort silently, speak in accordance, and keep walking at a fast pace so not to give the impression there is time or room for conversation. What do you suppose these OG/Playa-Playa’s have to say? I imagine it often covers what they used to do and what they “think” they still can do. Whatever it may be I would say it IS indicative of their mindsets and that mindset tells them who they are…for all time.

Senior’s Day Discounted

It had disappeared a few years ago to the dismay of many. Afterall, we have earned any little retail perk the grocers, clothing stores, etc. cared to bestow on us. We all know what the reversal was about; greed AND the fact our group, the baby boomers, are just too doggone big!

I could not believe it when one of the two markets I frequented decided the discount day was to be no more. I then decided I would take MY business to the other store for that reason alone. Low and behold a few short months later my second choice followed suit and my discount day was totally gone. I mean it wasn’t a huge savings, it really broke down to sales tax, but it was the principle of it all. I once again shifted my loyalty to another store, a store that did not give the discount either, but it felt like a “show of power”. This new store never had given the discount, yet I made the informed decision to spend my hard-earned retired dollars at a place that had no real care about where I was in my working career or chronologically in life itself. I told myself, “At least this market did not start something and then abruptly stop.”

Well, I can happily report our senior discount has returned. Here I am paying homage to store chains that are doing something that is a tiny step above dangling a carrot ahead of a racehorse. Yet, we will accept this perk. The parking lot which is normally pretty empty in the early morning of a weekday is packed. I find there is a shortage of the smaller shopping carts, but notice the large ones designed for parents with babies and toddlers are in abundance. I ventured inside; I did not really need anything much so I feel like I can make my selections without the aid of a cart, but I did find a lone abandoned one to utilize. My peers were out in force, moving up and down the aisles with purpose if not with speed. We smiled from behind our masks at one another as we approached the check-out area. I went to self -service to avoid the wait, after all I AM a busy retired lady. I asked the attendant if I needed anything to note I am to get the senior discount he politely scanned his barcode, and I was ready to go. I was not asked for I.D. nor was I questioned about my age to determine eligibility. I simply checked out and proceeded to the parking lot.

I casually glanced around, noticing once again the gray brigade out in force. In a passing thought I found myself annoyed at the speed in which one of my elderly brethren was moving, I wanted to return my cart to the designated area but continue to be socially distance. Finally, the way was cleared, I thought of my mom later in life and how she vehemently objected to going to senior centers, because as she would say, she did NOT want to be around a bunch of old people. What has our society done to us? Then it occurred to me that with that small break in price (given and taken at will) …the senior discount, we too were being slighted, reduced, and yes discounted.

I Wish I Could Dance

As I sit at my computer and listen to the silliest music ever (but I love it just the same) over and over again (my family get this), I find myself wanting to tap my foot sway my body, nod my head. I wish I could dance, because dancing seems to be a happy thing to do. This time of year, I just want to be happy. I just want the people I care about to be happy. Honestly, I want everyone to experience that kind of happy. However, I am VERY uncoordinated. I am also very aware of this fact and do not want to feel embarrassed by my lack of rhythm. I will sit on the sidelines to watch and admire others. My granddaughter and I dance together, but I am so bad that even she in her five years, recognizes Abuela  looks like she is in trouble so she better sit down. I imagine Kai (my grandson) when he gets older, will stop me as well. Smile, laugh, because I am and I do. They bring me unadulterated JOY.  Grandchildren do that for you.

A very good friend of mine, my Libra sister Tammy sent me a DVD of the Jackson Five cartoon series, now remember she sent the DVD to ME. Well I played the video while I was in Addison’s room(at my house) and she was engrossed on the computer. She stopped and came over sat besides me and started watching. Soon she was standing up singing along and dancing to the music from a 1971 cartoon. I got up and we danced together wildly..and this time she did not stop me. This went on for about 10 minutes solid.

So for no apparent reason at all, I needed a smile today and I thought of Addison, The Jackson Five and how I wished I could dance. Then I realized when those two circumstances come together whether or not I can, I do.

Old People and Getting Into Heaven?

More and more you see them, Bill Cosby(I know he is somewhat taboo these days but he is a point-of-reference..look up the routine) joked about them in a stand-up routine decades ago. He said,” That is NOT the person I grew up with!” Faces fixed with a seemingly genuine smile, talking to random strangers, and adoring the babies..all babies.  These kindly elderly folk will be given all the sweet consideration you have within.  Then there are the OTHERS, the ones who seemingly DEMAND respect but are ugly and disrespectful. The very same ones who at one time told a young person how “they” must respect their elders. Do you ever wonder who these people are and who they were in their past/earlier lives?

ALL of these folks were once smooth skinned, silken haired, athletic and energized. They were the “go-getters”. Now they are captured by the worn, broken and damaged vessels; some flicker in and out of rational consciousness, but all are left to navigate the remainder of their lives in a condition they certainly did not select.

Funny, we never think about people’s condition beyond what is set directly before us. That is until we are faced with circumstances that force our hands. The elderly gentleman who appears to be homeless in our neighborhood asking for food..we never think he has a home of his own and people who love him waiting there. Yet, if we knew this we would likely wonder why he is doing what we perceive as begging. However, one must be careful there is likely an explanation that reaches far beyond what we have time to examine as we rush to work.

What do you say when the well dressed older lady approaches you, as you sit in the park, and proceeds to curse you for no apparent reason. How can you know she has been a widow for 30 years, today is the anniversary of her husband’s death, and you look quite a bit like the doctor who told her her beloved mate was gone.

You may think the solution is to spend more time with them, or their loved ones should keep them under control. Do you realize these people still have some control and wills of their own? Do you realize that none of us can help anyone who does not want or will not accept that same help? I think these same folks feel “themselves slipping away”, away to a place where they do not know what to expect, and they are afraid. A feeling that they probably have not had, in an overt sense, for many years.

Faith is challenged each and every day; where is their faith now, where will yours be when YOU are faced with this from someone you love. They look and sound like your loved one, but many times the one YOU knew is not consciously in the present with you. Now YOU must pray, not only for them but yourself as well.

As our time continues to move forward, as we forget names and dates I wonder how we will react. I suggest you be kind and understanding when you meet these people, any of them. Perhaps the ones trying to gain entrance into Heaven may actually be us;  by what we do we are determining our fate and we may be occupying a similar “place” in the near future. How do you want to be dealt with?

Twice A Child V-LIVING

Okay,  here we are and we now know,  It is what it is.  Trouble is where do we go from here? What do we do, how do we cope now that life has changed on us, where are the solutions ?

This is a very difficult entry for a couple of reasons. Due to the fact it is the final entry for this series, as well as it is something that I am currently experiencing. I do not know how to feel from day to day. Am I guilty because I am not right there physically, in the “trenches” or does my guilt come from relief that I am not there in the “trenches”. Is my bravery and acceptance a disguise for fear and denial. Do I keep busy so that I am not in a state of constant infantile bawling, because the person I love, respect, need is no longer here with me. Yet an image and a sound-bite tells me different.  What is it like for her; trapped by her surroundings real and imaginary. Moments of being seemingly lucid only to be followed by complete confusion. She is angry, she is determined, and she is afraid.

The process of life gives you 9 months to prepare for the arrival of new life, yet when life ends it is a flash. Be it prolonged illness that feels like it will never end or a sudden unexpected accident, the truth is life still does stop in the cessation of one tiny breath. The deterioration of the mind is a cruel painful experience. Each time I see a lost soul walking down the street I fight the growing lump in MY throat, because I know that IS someones loved one.

Think about scenarios you have witnessed, someone speaking crossly to a poor soul weak and frail. Nurses and doctors along with family members  trying to hold down a silver haired being who is screaming and fighting with ever bit of their strength. The Aging Process can be cruel. You do not witness that poor frail person being spoken to in a cruel fashion telling their child how bad each and everything they try to do is, yu do not see the silver haired person fighting off nurses, doctors and loved ones throwing things when they don’t get their way or wandering off time and again without a trace. You don’t have the “luxury” of knowing the worry, the pain, the frustration, the hurt that WILL take it’s toll on an able-bodied strong human being. Try not to judge as an outsider, as an observer. As a participant, buckle yourself in this is GOING to be a rough ride. There it is life coming straight at you; yet YOU can be blind-sided, YOU can get the sucker punch in your face. There is no preparation for this experience.

I recall aging friends and family members who have been confined to assisted living facilities, convalescent hospitals,etc. I can clearly see the faces of folks I do not know lined up in the hallway or sitting in a chair in their solitary rooms. Some faces cry out for help, some stare blankly ahead. We, the ones left behind search for a glimmer of hope, a slight chance that the person we love will return.. Medical science has yet to  figure out a way to release the mind from the confines it sometimes finds itself locked in. Therefore we are left with that hope, that prayer the one we love will one day come back. How heartless would we be if we said,”They are gone forever”. How heartbreaking is it to know and feel that very same thing. I wish I could tell you how to accept,” My loved one is gone and I didn’t even get to say good-bye”. I cannot. Remember your heart is fragile and so is your soul. Try to keep loving them even if they are not aware, even if they are mean to you…try to remember the love.

 

Twice A Child IV-Acceptance

This is my current situation; I am weak, my doctor has told me I need to take even more medication and now I cannot even escape my reality for a few hours by going out unaccompanied. What would you do? That seems an easy enough dilemma, I say. However, I forgot to mention a little thing I am 81 years of age. When presented with this problem at our own individual ages, we think what we would do at the only age we truly can identify with, we exist in the now. Therefore the solution I come up with, may very well NOT be the solution needed here.

I think get yourself healthy first, that means following doctors orders, resting taking your medication. Hey but I only have one prescription to take, once a day. Additionally, I CAN come and go as I please. Maybe the unorthodox way is not completely out-of-order. Sometimes in spite of things, we as individuals do know a little something about self. There is the basic underlying fear something bad or worse could happen if these restrictions are not honored.  However, we as the helpers have to put ourselves in those elder shoes and realize how the confined feeling would affect us. “Toss caution to the wind”.. well maybe sit it outside so it can gradually pick you up and blow along slowly.

Human Beings will do amazing, unusual, desperate things in order to make themselves feel some level of comfort/self-comfort. Our aging loved ones may hold onto items or a routine that makes them feel like their situation is not changing unless they themselves let/make it change (i.e. needing to pay bills daily OR using that as an excuse to get out of  the house).

Patience,vigilance, and understanding will prove to be your double-edge-sword. Perhaps you will do daily battles with it. Words of caution, you may not always win. Now is a time when vantage points and perspective take on an entirely new meaning, and my friends our is not the only view involved here.

I Need God To Fix This

Having one of those mornings? Well how about”having one of those years”? Waking to the unknown of the day, feeling like throwing the covers over your head and asking the Heavens for a “do-over” long before you know what lies ahead.

Well you have been on this Earth for some 50+ years now so I imagine there have been one or two days like this during your lifespan. This middle-age thing we are experiencing daily is a trip all by-its-lonesome. I applaud those of you who proclaim you have remained steadfast and true to God. This is faith in it’s truest form; do not deceive yourself, for if it is not true your very beliefs will come back to haunt you. Having more than what I deem to be enough or my share of the challenges that make getting out of bed a task, I pondered about this place that I now occupy physically and mentally.

The realization of how every-little-thing was interconnected seemed to daunt me.  My problem solving skills were placed on screen before me. I saw the optimist, I saw conniver, I saw the escapist and I pretty-much saw them in that order. Life is cyclic and I knew that the individuals that I charged with solving my problems appeared in that order, not by chance but by choice. Choices I was making when I told myself, I had no choice.  Then the debate began between conscious and sub-conscious,  is the medication real or is it a placebo.

As the world crumbles around me, I see myself standing in the middle of the road dodging debris falling around me. Lots of near-misses. In an out-of-body way, I wonder why do I bother moving. Surely one quick hit and all of my problems will be no more. The answer is so very simple and basic. I WANT TO LIVE! I am NOT unique that is what human beings are about.

It is NOT in our nature to give up, that is why we fight so hard, for so long, for so many different things. If we had it our way the easy way would, chances are, be the only way. We have been raised in a society that strives to have it quick and simple and why is that so appealing to us? Well that is easy, so we can go on to do more things with the time we already do not have enough of/for. Yet when things don’t go our way, we revert to the childish behavior we were constantly told we have to abandon when we became adults. Sometimes our brains don’t get the memo and the blanket goes over our head, again.

However, we were born to accomplish one great thing and given plenty of time and resources to complete our task. By-the-way YOU don’t get to be the judge of what is determined great. Now beaten, now lost, now confused, where are your tools?  God has given us all we need but he has also allowed time for the distraction; the distraction to teach us the importance beauty, patience, and rest. In the midst of the storm don’t look away, look toward.

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