Old Age – coping with it, acknowledging it.

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Getting old has its compensations, but also its draw-backs. I am nearly 63 years old and I am learning, slowly. For the last seven years or so I have been in transition and it hasn’t been easy. Far from it. I have had to let go of a lot of things. I no longer kid myself that I look ‘good for my age’. Once I realised that, I embraced the age that I am and went in a different direction. However, that didn’t quite suit me and it still doesn’t, if I’m honest.

A year or so ago I cut my long, auburn (dyed) hair and let it go grey. Not so important maybe, but it was to me. I looked in the mirror and someone else was peeking back at me. The face in the mirror looked sad, apologetic even. Had I done the right thing? Maybe I should have kept on dyeing that hair but what is the point. I didn’t like the grey roots poking through. No, that looked awful. I kept my hair short for a while, fiddling about with curlers to try and keep it looking lively. Then I gave up and had a perm. Looking in the mirror that day, I saw my Auntie Connie looking back. Damn it! Where is me in all this? Where have I gone?

Since then I’ve kept my hair grey and fought off the aches and pains which seem to increase weekly. I feel guilty that I wasn’t more sympathetic to my own mother. She went through this too, I tell myself.

I have stopped using make-up, except for a little lipstick. That does brighten my face up so I keep that; but I can’t wear mascara anymore because my eyelids have drooped and now if I apply mascara, it ends up on the lids as well as the lashes and it’s darned difficult to get off.

With the negative issues comes also a sense of satisfaction, almost a wisdom. I now know what the outcome will be if I do this or that. I know what to avoid doing, which is a big help.

What I do know, I would like to pass on to my children, but they don’t want to know. If they want to know something, they turn to the internet these days. That makes me feel superfluous.

It’s not all bad though. I have more freedom with my time. Freedom to do my crafting, to visit lovely places and time to watch my garden grow. I have time to listen if anyone wants to talk.

I am content.

Read and enjoy this poem, which I found in an old copy of Peoples’ Friend Magazine:

 

Just The Way I Am

by Pam Davies

My face will not be lifted

And my tummy not be tucked.

It’s quite enough to file my nails

And have my eyebrows plucked.

Wrinkles on my face relax,

They know I’m Botox-free;

They know they’re in no danger

And they suit the likes of me.

Bits of me have grown and bulge,

Bits of me recede;

Some bits hint at deprivation,

Others hint at greed.

But every bit can tell a tale.

Is marked by fun or strife;

They’re signs of all the highs and lows

That bless my thankful life.

I shall not seek a surgeon

To return me to my youth,

I’m happy just the way I am,

Contented with the truth!

Have a lovely Sunday everyone. Thank you to my faithful blogging friends for sticking with me. You know who you are! and thank you to my new followers. You are most welcome to journey along with me.

Oma

12 thoughts on “Old Age – coping with it, acknowledging it.

  1. Love the joke! I think we’ll be using that from time to time.

    Being a bit younger than you but winding my way towards menopause, having aches and pains already (arthritis runs in the maternal line), debating with myself how much I want to cater to society in order to look acceptable according to the norms of others, I do know what you’re talking about.

    What struck me the most was the part of being a “useless” mother. I had the same notion just recently, but in reverse: I’ve forever felt my mother trying to control me, trying to make me into a copy of her, telling me what to do when I already knew I wanted something completely different. But now I’ve realised that she craves not only recognition and comfort in sameness, but also to feel useful, that she contributes and helps, that she has worth. As we all do. And it has made me relax a bit in receiving her input and the way I communicate my response. I try to communicate that I know her intention and appreciate it, even if I still do my own thing because we are in some ways very different, I’m very brainy and bookish, creative and rebellious, while she is more about the safety found in conforming, in following tradition rather than ambition. And I’ve been able to talk to her about it and coming to a better acceptance on both sides of who we each are and why, without one trying to change the other. Without hurtful words and upset.

    Times are different now in that family ties are no longer our only or even most important network, we don’t rely on relatives to survive, so we seek out likeminded souls whereever they appear. The bond of blood is no longer so strong. And I can see that if you grew up in the “old ways” that it must be hard to see those bonds snapping one by one. Otoh you can’t make somebody feel what they don’t feel!

    • Hello Pia and thank you for taking the time to give such a comprehensive reply your reply. Good luck with the menopause! It was when I went through that that I made a decision to be a bit more assertive. In England we are very good at putting up with things that are less than perfect but I decided I had earned the right to speak up if I felt something was not right and risk the consequences.
      Regarding your mother; I know she wants the best for you because mothers always do, but mothers and daughters do clash sometimes don’t they. There are so many differences these days when I compare my way of doing things with the ways my own mother did things. Again when I compare my ways with those of my son’s wives and partners. A lot of it has to do with respect. I had to respect my parents. I didn’t question it. I just did it. Nowadays there is no respect for the old ones and that is very sad. We baby boomers are a privileged generation. We didn’t have to go to war; at least not here. Maybe we don’t deserve respect. However my children’s generation is an entitled generation. They want it all and they want it now!

      • Everybody deserves respect, I don’t think however, that it means letting your parents control and decide your entire life for you. That is simply oldfashioned. 😉

  2. I am 76 – much older than you and I was , only a few days ago congratulating myself on my youthful outlook. Well, lo and behold I went for a walk and ended up face down on the sidewalk, and today my outlook isn’t so youthful. Nothing broken, but I feel like I have been run over by a very large truck. I, of course, blame this fall entirely on wearing the wrong type of shoes for walking, and shall get myself to the store as soon as I can and buy a pair more suited for keeping me vertical. As we get older it is important to remember that only our bodies age, our hearts remain as young we we allow them to. I, as a lover of anything British, love reading your blog.

    • Hello Judy and thank you for your reply. I was sorry to hear about your fall and hope the bruises soon heal. I am young at heart, it’s true and I am learning to live inside my older body. I have more patience than when I was younger but definitely less stamina.

  3. I am married to a Brit and I find he is thinking in the same vein as you are in this post…and I am having a difficult time with it. I am the same age as you and I refuse, simply refuse to think in the vein that I am “old”…I do house cleaning for people and one of my clients is 100. She still lives in her own home and does everything for herself…she doesn’t have her own car anymore though. She is still organist and choir director for her church. She doesn’t watch tv, she knits and crochets, still reads romance novels(I think that’s what keeps her going, lol!). “Old” is the state of the mind…from reading some of your past posts, I do NOT see an old person…do the things that make you happy…not what the naysayers tell you. If I did what my husband thinks I should be doing, I might as well do nothing. We cannot, simply cannot cave in to the negativity of others around us…if your hair makes you feel unhappy, then go back to coloring it. Do things that make you happy…It’s not easy but if we don’t try, no one else will.

  4. I am proud to be one of your older followers. And I mean that in more ways than one, as you know. I stopped wearing mascara for the same reasons you did, and I don’t even use lipstick any more, but that’s because I’m lazy. Yes, getting old is not for the faint of heart, is it? 🙂

  5. I so know where you are coming from, as those aches and pains creep up on you over night… I sometimes resemble the Neanderthal Man first thing in the morning LOL.. or should that be Neanderthal Woman LOL 🙂 … I too only wear lipstick and moisturiser .. I put on some mascara the other day to go out for a meal… Totally forgot I had it on.. and rubbed my eyes just prior to going through the door… I looked like a Panda… So had to go wash… LOL.. I blame a lot of things upon getting Older 🙂 xxx Loved the Pam Davis poem.

  6. I believe in helping nature whenever possible, so always wear a little make-up, carefully applied. I always remember advice given me in my younger days: “…if others are aware you’re wearing make-up – you’re wearing too much…”. My hair is cut very short. It’s grey; has been for years but I’m blessed with a little natural bounce inherited from my father so no big deal. Quite agree about the mascara – after a certain age – it’s a mistake to indulge in more than just a hint. Joints can be a little temperamental depending on the weather! I confess to being a long-term vitamin popper and at 78 have no reason to complain or think of changing the habit of a life-time.

  7. What you say is so true. I struggled to decide on a hairstyle, a perm made me look like my mum. I’m lucky to still have mostly dark hair with some grey that grows like I have highlights but it is so thin at the front, I really thought I was going to go bald! Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I asked my hairdresser to cut my hair and she did a great job, left the fringe a bit longer and it hides the thinness, I go regularly to the hairdresser these days and was lucky enough to find a good one at last that doesn’t charge the earth, thank goodness for pensioners concessions. As to wrinkles, I am surprised how embarrassed I was feeling about them last year, how silly! I have now come to terms with that and, as you say, I should have sympathised more with my mother and her upset about wrinkles. I also have what used to be called ‘midriff bulge’, don’t know where that came from, but our body fat does change places as we age, mine has decided to settle on my midriff.

    • And my bulge is on my hips and they were too wide to start with. My hair is also thin at the front, which is very disappointing and like you, I worry if it gets any thinner. I asked the doctor about it and he put me on H.R.T. That helps a bit I think. Keep smiling 🙂

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