From where I sit on the sofa, there is a small chink in the curtains at one dining room window. And the angle is such that I can sense the rapid movement of cars on the street beyond my neighbor’s yard and sidewalk. Without even looking up I feel (see?) flashes of movement. It reminds me of how we can look back over our life experiences and they too can have a rapidity of movement. Is it so long ago that I sat on the porch step, pregnant, looking at the mountains, clouds, birds, the garden, the children? Taking deep breaths and thinking; I’ll always remember these moments. Why yes, that time was ages ago, waiting for my 4th child.  Born in 1983, she is now 30 years old.

“By the time you’re eighty years old you’ve learned everything. You only have to remember it.”  -George Burns

Yesterday I watched a musical performance by a favorite group. I want to share the Young@Heart chorus with you. Tears ran down my face as the members sang with elementary school students. The chorus is composed of retired women and men who live in New Hampshire.  At this point they’ve produced several CD’s, have toured Japan and the Netherlands and of course across the U.S., and performed with some music stars. The leader takes rock music hits and with this group transforms them into musical magic. I love watching them, and admit to singing along. And usually crying too. Sometimes hope can be justified by an action of others. And such is the case here- at least for me.

“The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.”  -Lucille Ball

“Just remember, once you’re over the hill you begin to pick up speed.”  -Charles Schultz

So I’ve been thinking about “forever young” since yesterday. When I was in my 30’s a woman I knew and worked with, probably about 55 to 60 years old and quite out of shape, let’s say, showed me her wedding pictures. There was a beautiful young woman, svelte, wearing the latest 1950’s fashionable wedding gown, in a size 4 or 6. Looking pensively at the photo she remarked to me; inside I still feel like that young woman.

“The great thing about getting older is that  you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.”  -Madeline L’Engle

What’s most important to me is experiencing life. Enjoying nature. Spending time with people I can laugh with, reminisce with, or argue, converse and engage. Trying new things, whether a new recipe, a new vacation spot, a new idea. And along the way; getting enough sleep, having chocolate in the house, meeting new people and dear friends, and a large amount of knitting “wool” available for my use. Oh and a  large stack of books to read. I’m sure I’ll think of other things I should have included here, but that’s not my point. Life is a grand journey and I think allowing ourselves to experience and enjoy our lives, is the “forever young” part that we all want to grasp.

“Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened.”  -Jennifer Yane

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I have to tell you this aging business is something. I am now 5 months into being 60 years old. SIXTY !!  What does it mean to be 60? To look, think, act as a 60 year old?

Remembering things is one of the most difficult tasks now. Sometimes even frightening, because I’ve already burned pots of beans and let noodles over-cook. I must now set the timer – but even that I forget to do. Leaving and then re-entering to check the stove is not an uncommon event.

Around my face, my hair shimmers with silver. The small bits of 20 years ago have turned into much bigger swaths, but that doesn’t bother me. I never cared much for primping. I always liked me, and if someone else did or didn’t that was on them. My body is not as supple, and not a yoga enthusiast, I start each day with some stretching. If I don’t stretch, then I move like… well, like an old person. How’s that for reality with a dash of humor on top?

What is unchanged? I am as adventurous and enthusiastic as ever, but seem to have a bit less energy. My job keeps me on my feet 3 hours or more per shift. So now I need more supportive shoes to keep standing without pain. For the first time ever I have spent more than $20 on a pair of athletic shoes, which we used to call sneakers or sneaks- in order to stay on my feet as long as I must when at work or even on my walkabouts.

*Accompanying photos by author; Signs of Autumn and Fall Knitting [a 4 stranded winter scarf of bright colors].

I guess this is Part 1. Today, October 7, 2012, I felt moved to write what has become my reality, but don’t look for Part 2. It may not happen. Isn’t it odd what we can become used to? All this is of little merit after spending hours yesterday, watching [PBS.org; Independent Lens] a beautiful and disturbing new movie to accompany the book by the same name; Half the Sky, by Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof.

At the age of 60 I still feel moved to make a mark, my mark, on the world. Can’t tell you how or what it would look like. Amazed and inspired by the women profiled in Half the Sky. Watch the preview, and then the whole thing. What can you do to add to this Stone Soup of our world?

10th July 2009
This summer has been a whirlwind. retire, hi honey09 Making and selling my craft/art at a phenomenal rate. What’s really neat; my inspiration has been like a runaway train and new ideas swirl around in my head, like thoughts that can’t get transmitted by fingers on the keyboard fast enough to suit. A. Walker 7-09 Meantime some new cards I’m proud of, including one from recent series; Retirement, and one from (also new) Alice Walker series, all of which were done in purple!!!
Hmm, what else has been happening lately? Well my younger daughter’s birthday. She’s now 26. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHOSHANA !! The card I made for her is the third one down. And also some discussion/thought/mulling over of the next big BIG goal of my life. Interestingly enough, on http://www.dictionary.com the definition of intention included this; Also called first intention, primary intention. reference by signs, concepts, etc., to concrete things, their properties, classes, or the relationships among them.
A conversation with my youngest sister last night, late, resulted in a few computer searches on the Nun Study, and Alzheimer’s Disease and it’s symptoms, etc. The later is depressing, but the Nun Study which I personally believe every one should know about, is fascinating. The newest book on the study is: Aging With Grace by Dr. David Snowdon. The nuns have/had a COMMUNITY, something my older daughter and I talk and debate over as a necessary component for all of us.
That brings me to an exchange she and I had this week about the components of a good school for children, if built from ground up, not so much bricks and mortar but the ideas, concepts, plans, what is taught and how it will be taught.
outside Sho's bday09
Twice during the phone call with my sister last night, I lost the thread of something I very much wanted to discuss with her. Finally right before bed I remembered it long enough to write it down. Here it is:
What if you kept knowledge from a child, deeming it to “adult,” to complex, too potentially hurtful, information that could potentially affect how the child would interact with a relative? Okay then what happens when that child matures, becomes their own person, an adult, and there’s no longer any reason to hide the facts? Yet speaking them, relaying them in any way could change the way that young adult sees their relative, because it will come to them possibly as a shock. A dilemma for sure.
Even more so is this: I did keep stuff from my children, in order not to harm them, and now they don’t believe me, because they haven’t experienced what I have, over the last 15 years, and do not wish to believe this new (to them) info. Most importantly, I was hurt by keeping this to myself, and doubly hurt now, to be disbelieved. Sigh.
Here’s poet, Marge Piercy, from both the poem and book of poems called Stone, paper, knife; …“We like knowing what is to happen with small surprises. But sometimes we must endure or create gross shocks that stretch us til we grow or break.”