Posted on : 01-08-2012 | By : Lynn | In : Choices, End of the Road
Aging is definitely not for sissies (play on Betty Davis’ quote)! And most especially aging is not such a chilly red hot thing in the U.S.A. especially if you’re female. I communicate with many people on a daily basis, both men and women, who are mostly from the U.S. but there are some from Mexico, Canada and across “the pond”. I was born at the end of the fifties and so I’ve lived through a few decades here and have some experience from whence I write! As much as I would like this blog to be uplifting and inspiring to you, I’ve got to be honest about the negative aspects of the aging of our outer shell that encases 85% water! At least in this country.
At the same time, I am very grateful for many aspects that I enjoy today including robust health, clarity of mind, good heart and good energy! I am very grateful that my husband and I have affordable healthcare unlike many of my single female friends who choose to either not pay for healthcare or buy the very expensive catastrophic variety with a huge deductible. I run five miles every other day, I also run five miles on the elliptical and work out three times a week and swim laps in our pool. Not bad for a “seasoned broad”. Many friends in my age group and many who are a decade or more older than me are finding themselves in the new world of a different kind of retirement. Many plan to work well into their seventies. A good friend who is the sexiest 75 year old woman I know just landed a job in her field after three days of looking. Although she is grateful, if she had her druthers she’d much prefer to be retired and enjoying her grandchildren.
So why is aging in America such a trial? Well, if you don’t happen to have a good job (or any job for that matter) it is expensive to live as a senior especially if you need healthcare services. For those of us just hitting the age where our outside bodies don’t match how good we feel on the inside, we buck up against all of us who have been steeped in the advertising and commercialization of beauty and begin frantically looking for the magic pill that will remove the effects of nature. Isn’t it a shame that we humans have dedicated so much of our energy and lives to resisting and fighting aging? I met a billionaire a couple of years ago who is in his early 70’s and I remember wondering what the hell his story was because his face looked like it had been ravaged and repaired after an accident or fire because the sheen from the stretching of his skin was so apparent. He is obsessed with face lifts and has had many in his life. Really made me pause.
On one of my jogging routes, there is a piece of land that I love running by because of the three really old and glorious cedar trees scattered on it. Yes, cedar trees can be quite resplendent when they’re allowed to grow tall. I especially love them because of their gnarly trunks and evidence of having weathered many a day and several years in their plot in our hood. If only we could change our thinking, opinions, judgements and beliefs to view aging humans the same way. I often think about elders from various cultures in Africa, Australia, the mid and far East as I slather on creams and concoctions to beautify myself and wonder what they are doing with themselves right now in their lives. Do they worry about looking older? Probably not. Are they even thinking of themselves? In most cases they’re probably not as self-absorbed. What would they do if they were in our shoes?
What do you do?