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Tag Archives: aging
In a few weeks, I’ll be lining up, along with about 35% of the Canadian population, to receive the flu shot. In doing so, I’ll be ignoring the bad press, the less than 50% prevention rate, and the physical discomfort to do this. Why? Because, as I grow older, I’m discovering that I can’t rely on my immune system to do the splendid job it did in the past to protect me from the millions of pathogens that come my way all fall and winter.
Up until 2 years ago, I never gave the flu a thought. Ominous suggestions that the ‘elderly’ were susceptible to illness and disease seemed at best, ageist, and at worst, insulting. I was in excellent health, I looked after myself—a weakened immune system couldn’t happen to me.
As I enter our favorite coffee place, I can tell that my two friends, Marlene and Nancy are having a lively discussion. They are both pouring over an article, and Nancy is waving her iphone around, never a good sign.
“That doesn’t bother me at all,” Marlene is saying, “It’s just what everyone says, and we have always considered it harmless.”
“It’s not harmless!” Nancy puffs, “When somebody says things like, “50 is the new 20, or 60 is the new 40, or any stupid comparison like that, they are saying that being 50 or 60 or 70 for that matter, is not fashionable, or hip, or even acceptable!”
I smile as I think about one of my senior friends, Marlene, driving her car toward our favourite coffee-house. She’ll be speeding just a little—not as much as she used to, though. I’m already sitting at our favourite table, with my cup of black, no sugar, no cream, in front of me. I’ve been waiting for a few minutes, and take out my iphone to check the time. I’ve already done this twice. It’s not like her to be late. I take my coffee to a window, and stand there, so I can see her car approach. If only she had a cell phone, I fuss, I’d phone her and know her progress. I’ve already phoned her home, and she wasn’t there. I’ll wait a few more minutes and then leave, I decide, assuming she has forgotten. My mind wanders back to the last time I saw her. She was wearing a new blue summer jacket, I remember. It looked good on her. Summer, I realize with a jolt—it’s been months since we met up for coffee!
We seniors have been blessed with an abundance of years. In our western culture, that means an abundance of Christmases. We have the perspective to look back and observe how Christmas has changed for us. In our grandparents’ time, everyone was included at Christmas and Hanukkah; grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins were all a part of gatherings and events.
In Canada and the United States, during the 1940s and 1950s, ethnicity was still a factor in our communities, and large Jewish, Italian, German, French and Eastern European families observed their unique traditions, especially at Christmas. Grandparents and other older relatives had a secure place in our families. We can all remember them, the contributions they made, the complications of their daily lives, the stories about them. They were sometimes loveable and wise and sometimes irascible and cantankerous—they possessed the full range of human qualities. During Christmas, they participated fully, sometimes insisting on observing old world customs. Our celebrations were more complicated because of them, and undoubtedly richer.
Sixty is the new forty!
You’re not getting older, you’re getting better!
15 ways to look and feel younger!
Five tips to stop the dreaded middle-age decline.
This super star model is 62, but easily passes for 39.
And this, my favourite:
“8 signs the incontinence aisle isn’t far off!”
Aging is bad.
You can fight it or you can laugh it off.
These slogans and headlines are culled from our contemporary literature—blogs, news items, and advertising that are the vanguard of our current thought. They urge us to deny the power and reality of aging. They admonish us to look and act young, and if we can’t, at least don’t look and act too blatantly, obviously old!
On one hand, they tell us that aging is horrible, it will diminish us, make us weak and ugly. We must fight it at all costs!
On the other hand they tell us that it isn’t that bad, if we just look at the bright side, if we just use nicer words, if we can just stay sweet, compliant, invisible.
Do you, as a Pre-Boomer or Boomer, find yourself doing something you suddenly realize can be bad for you? Like snacking instead of making a balanced meal, sitting on the couch reading or doing paper work instead of going for a walk, watching television late into the evening—habits that conspire to sap your energy and undermine your physical and mental health? These are unconscious behaviours that whittle away at the quality of your life.
In her blog, the Aging Generalist, Margie explains what being conscious, or mindful means to her :
As a Boomer or Pre-Boomer, who is 65 and over, you are more conscious of your health and well-being than ever before. Gone are the days when you over-indulged in food and alcohol, when you took reckless chances with your safety, and when you ignored your body’s need for exercise. As one of the Lucky Few, you have planned for the future and have your financial house in order. Retired now, as most of you are, you have the luxury of thinking about the meaning and level of happiness of your life.
It’s no secret that the young don’t see us. To them, we are invisible. We don’t turn up in magazines and newspapers, we are absent in television programs and news reports, and we are seldom featured in movies. Life goes on around us, but we are increasingly not present in public life. In the middle of a current political campaign in Canada, for instance, where hundreds of people line up behind the candidates as they speak, old people are seldom part of the audience, or interviewed for their opinion.
As you age, losses come in many guises, a friend or loved one may die, you might lose your financial power, or you might lose your independence. These losses are major, and your recovery may require considerable effort, such as going for counselling or retreating from life for a while.
My research for this post took me to Cassini, Dior, Balenciaga, Chanel, and back to Cassini. Images for the fashions we wore as young women in the 1950s just don’t resonate accurately with the pictures I see in historical references to the designers.
Long before we saw the fashions, we were attuned to them as part of magazine and newspaper publicity featuring runway models and designs. By the time the clothing arrived on the racks at Hudson’s Bay, Renfrews, Simpsons or in the pages of Eaton’s and Simpson-Sears catalogues, they were no doubt at least one or two seasons old.