Tag Archives: aging

What Does Old Mean, Anyway?

28 May

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.  When I was in elementary school, or high school, or even college for that matter, I would have considered a person of my age old.  Not that I really had a solid determination of old; I think I just considered it something that happens with age.  My parents were old.  My teachers were old.  My grandparents were really old.  I have achieved the number of years that I once considered old…so am I?  No.  At least I don’t think so.  I still enjoy nearly all of the things I liked growing up.  Maybe with the exception of Twinkies–waaaay too sweet–bleh.  But I don’t think my anti-Twinkie palate signifies oldness.

So what IS old?  I’ve assisted people older than me while working my summer job at a greenhouse.  I admit to studying them a bit and imagining myself with their particular challenges of hearing, vision and mobility.  Do those challenges constitute oldness?  Or does the act of coming out each spring for your vegetable and flowering plants and then spending the summer tending, weeding and harvesting keep oldness at bay?  Are you old because it takes you longer to do things?  Does the joy of watching something grow negate the time it takes to plant it in the first place?

And what about the physical differences?  The effects of gravity, the age spots that remind me of summers spent laying in the sun using baby oil as “suntan lotion,” the wrinkles that frame my face.  The older-than-me folks at the greenhouse are also affected by these differences, but even more so.  I find myself repeatedly drawn to commercials featuring young, smooth-skinned beauties selling the latest spot-removing, tone-evening, skin-smoothing, wrinkle-erasing beauty cream, and I confess to wanting that youthful, dewy skin.  What am I afraid of?  Am I THAT vain?  Why can I not settle into “aging gracefully?”

Maybe that’s a good thing.  Maybe taking care of yourself physically and mentally IS aging gracefully.  Gray hair will happen, wrinkles and age spots cannot be undone without spending huge amounts of money that could be spent on plants and garden bling.  Worry is my nature, but I still love to play with friends, snuggle with my sweetie, watch clouds float across the sky, listen to our mockingbird perform his repertoire, and savor the first tomato of the season.

I saw my shadow the other day as my husband and I worked to weed our front yard perennial beds, and realized my shadow doesn’t show those parts of me that are slipping into what I identify with “old.”  My shadow is much the same as it’s always been.  How can I be old if my shadow isn’t?!  My hair becomes grayer each year, and wrinkles deepen.  Kids may think of me as old.  But I’ve decided I won’t consider myself old until my shadow looks old–how can that happen when it follows me to a slot canyon or when it sits in the garden admiring a fresh bloom?  I think my shadow enjoys a  cuppa as much as I do.  Here’s to my shadow and I toasting each other with a morning brew for many years to come, worrying less, and playing more.

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Gifts: Then and Now

15 Sep

I attended a Pampered Chef party a couple of weeks ago and today, my order was delivered!  It felt like Christmas morning, opening up the various cardboard and plastic containers, revealing my new goodies.  All too soon, all packages were open and I had a pile of empty containers and a display of shiny kitchen accoutrements.  I turned each over in my hands, admiring the clear, easy-to-read markings on the measuring cups, the edge and blade guard of the knife.  Just like Christmas, I have left them out so I can delight in them each time I pass by.  I just can’t bear to hide them away in cupboards and drawers just yet. 

When this comparison occured to me, I was inspired to take a picture of my culinary treasures on a holiday mat.

The child or teenage me would never be excited over measuring cups or a cookie scoop.  Well, maybe if they came along with an Easy Bake Oven.  But still.  I’ve been thinking about how my priorities have changed as I’ve aged.  As a kid, I carefully studied the Sears toy catalog, constructing a list for Santa.  I looked forward to a fabulous coconut-covered cake for my birthday and more toys.  The teenage me loved getting clothes.  Then I went away to college, got married, moved to an apartment and finally a house.

I remember the first washer/dryer I owned.  I was so, so happy to not have to go to a laundromat anymore.  My latest new washer and dryer–front loaders on pedestals–were ordered as part of a New Year’s sale and delivered months later while I was at work.  I hugged them when I saw them.  Yes, I hugged an appliance. 

This year for my birthday, friends got me absolutely the cutest measuring spoons ever–shaped like flowers, each spoon a different pastel color!  I love-love-love them!  I’m hoping for a new stove or maybe a cool leather chair I saw at IKEA for Christmas this year.  Pampered Chef catalog or IKEA catalog=Sears toy catalog?  Yup.  Same kid, different toys.  New toys are always fun!  🙂

Lest you think that I’m all about the toys of life, I’d like to share the best gift I ever received:  a private saxophone concert from Mr17, who was 15 at the time.  He learned a new piece, part of a concerto written by his favorite composer, explaining the significance of the 4 movements, including the one he played for me.  Everytime I hear the piece, I’m back on my couch, Mr15, his soprano sax and music stand in the corner, playing just for me. 

Other gifts that mean the world to me?  The people in my life–friends, family-loved ones all.  Each visit, each hug, each smile, each kiss are gifts that enrich every moment. A gift I’m giving myself right now is attending a warm yoga class every Tuesday and Thursday morning.  The first meadowlark call of the spring, hummingbirds fighting over the feeder, the first tomato of the season, lazily drifting snowflakes on a grey morning, thunderstorms circling the valley, scrunching through big piles of leaves breathing in their warm scent.  Delicious food and wine.  Mr17’s marching band performing.  Kissing the hubby good morning or good night. 

So many, many gifts each day.  I have so much to be grateful for.  What are you grateful for?