What does “getting old” mean to you?
On October 19th, I had the wonderful opportunity, with several other bloggers from around the country, to attend the the Live Well. Get Old. Blogger Summit at Pfizer Headquarters in New York City…
Here’s a little background on the event… in June, Pfizer launched GET OLD (www.GetOld.com), an initiative supported by nearly a dozen organizations, to amplify the conversation on aging and learn more about how Americans of all ages are tackling aging for themselves, their family and society. The idea is to inspire people to reconsider what it means to get old in terms of quality of life, adding years to their lives and confronting the most important health challenges facing them and society as a whole.
One component of the initiative is GetOld.com, a site that asks people how they feel about getting old: ANGRY, UNEASY, OPTIMISTIC or PREPARED. The site encourages people of all ages to discuss aging by sharing and viewing stories, photos, and videos about getting old, and provides valuable information on aging from leading experts, partner groups and individuals like you and me…
The day of the Get Old Summit was packed full. 6:30 am Yoga. Breakfast. Speakers/Presenters covering such topics as Health & Wellness, Women’s Care, Finances, Corporate Responsibility & Reputation. Lunch created for us by Carla Hall… yes, THE Carla Hall, so-host of ABC’s series “The Chew” and finalist on Bravo’s “Top Chef”…
… and plenty of lively, honest, poignant, meaningful and fun conversation and connection with bloggers from 30 – 60 years old; *bloggers who care about and write about parenting, healthy living, food, family, education, mental health issues, issues facing seniors, retirement, exercise, hobbies, divorce, family safety and wellness, tolerance, working/living with the elderly and just about everything else to talk, care or write about…
The day, the speakers, my fellow bloggers gave me a lot to think about.
Getting Old. What are the most common issues tied to Getting Old? Most people identify HEALTH, FINANCES, TIME restraints, such as caring for others.
So what does GETTING OLD mean to me?
I never feared getting old. I’ve always welcomed and still welcome each and every age I attain. I like that word – attain; succeed in achieving. I’ve attained 60.
Getting Old to me means understanding health issues. I’ve been lucky with health issues, but for some serious bouts of asthma as a child that were frightening, but managed through trial & error with medications, calm parents and obviously good physicians. Every so often, a little asthma creeps in, but I know how to manage it and it never stops me from living. I also used to suffer with menstrual-related migraine headaches, but Getting Old means menopause and no more migraines. Yeah, baby. I’ve had a scare with a breast lump and biopsy that turned out good, and Getting Old means staying on top of these things with good health care and vigilance with yearly tests/procedures.
I exercise and know the feeling of feeling good. Getting Old to me means staying feeling good. My Mom is my exercise hero and was way ahead of her time with the exercise thing. From an early age, I watched my Mom consistently (consistency is the important part here) move her body to Jack LaLanne, then the likes of Richard Simmons (Sweatin’ with the Oldies, oh yeah!). As I reflect back, I can still see the endorphins flying around our little living/family rooms with the black & white tv turned color tv turned video turned dvd. My Mom was, and still is, also famous for cutting out workout routines from newspapers and magazines. At 87, my Mom does a 20-minute exercise routine from bed every single morning before she even puts her feet on the floor; then she lifts weights two mornings/week at her senior center. As she’s aged, my Mom has faced serious health issues that would have rendered anyone else immobile. Every physician my Mom has ever seen has marveled at the great muscle strength in this tiny (4′ 7″) lady and tell her that she should be teaching classes to 40-year olds. My Mom has been a great role model for me in the exercise department and is one of my biggest fans when I take on something like a Half Ironman or a marathon! CONSISTENCY and endorphins with exercise – that’s the key in Getting Old – moving as gracefully, happily and nimbly as possible.
Getting Old is enjoying, cooking and savoring good food. My Mom was also way ahead of her time in the good food department. Oh, sure I had chocolate chip cookies (from scratch) as a kid and hot dogs with potato chips, but sweets were treats, not entitlements! My Mom was a stickler for fruits & veggies and casseroles with lots of hearty, good stuff in them. As an aside, my Mom cooked liver for our family dog every, single night for his dinner because of its iron content. This is part of what my Mom taught me about food. Chippy, a dog my Dad rescued, lived to be almost 15. Now, I cook all of my Mom’s meals, but she still asks what’s in every single meal! Getting Old is family meals, extended family meals, holiday meals, no-special-reason meals, impromptu breakfast with grandkids, conversation/debate/discussion over meals, laughter and love and connection though food, prepared with health and great LOVE in mind and heart.
Getting Old is something I learned from my Mom to not fear. Oh, I’m not saying she doesn’t mention here and there about this and that and how she can’t do whatever anymore… but spry is something I’ve, yes, attained from my Mom, the older I get.
I used to worry about my genetic make-up on my Dad’s side of my family, but I don’t dwell on it anymore. My Dad died of a fatal coronary at age 47. His Mom, my Grandma, died of heart disease at age 60. My age, now. It’s difficult to comprehend this as I’ve attained my new age, but I’ve kept very vigilant with health check-ups and twinges of unusual or new pain… and stopped worrying. Getting Old means less worry to me, especially if I’m doing what I can to stay healthy. In a way, I think I’ve always lived for my Dad, too. He was far too young to die, to die so suddenly, and he missed every blessing of growing old with my Mom – especially the grandkids he always talked about having and “spoiling”- and living every moment is a lesson he’s taught me from Heaven. I’m sure of it. Getting Old to me is listening to my genetic factors and listening to my angels…
Getting Old to me means cherishing each moment – each kiss from my 9 grandkids, each word they use, each smile, each wisp of wind, each cloudin the sky, each color of each leaf on each tree, each sunrise and sunset and especially Full Moons, each story book, each first sip of beer on a hot summer’s day, each shell or slippery rock on the beach. Yes, I love simple things. Getting Old is being happy and joyful with simple things. Getting Old is seeing my Mom with my grandchildren…
Getting Old to me means hugging my husband and kids and letting them know how much I love them… every, every day. Getting Old is smiling at strangers, listening to the stories of the elderly – who have such stories to tell. Getting Old is being one of the people with the stories to tell.
Getting Old is having a grandson tell me I’m squishy… and then working out to un-squishy myself!
Getting Old is being content with what I have, shedding what I don’t need, knowing that happiness is intrinsic, never tied to wealth or possessions. Getting Old is feeling comfortable in my skin.
Getting Old is caregiving the ones I love – husband, grandchildren, children, my Mom and my granddoggies – always learning from them, always laughing at the wonderful things they say and do, and knowing LOVE from them. Caregiving gives back. Getting Old to me is being blessed with a circle of love that keeps on growing.
Getting Old to me means new challenges, things like training for a marathon or creating a blog… using my mind, my legs, my heart, my body, my spirit and counting my blessings, every day.
Getting Old is calling up things from my past, like lines from poems that I taught over and over again for many decades (insert eye-roll from my kids here!)… lines like Therefore I summon age from Robert Browning’s Rabbi Ben Ezra, a poem that suggests quite rightly that youth is a time of spiritual glimpses and old age is a time of spiritual wisdom. Getting Old to me means a better connection with my afterlife.
How do I feel about Getting Old? Incredibly OPTIMISTIC, looking for the new challenges that I may never have considered as a younger woman. I do summon age, enjoying each attainment of age with verve.
Getting Old is a privilege that I embrace… a privilege that lets me do things like run 20 miles in preparation for the Marine Corps Marathon this coming Sunday, and the enthusiasm to try…
What does Getting Old mean to you?
Head to GetOld.com and join the conversation! And visit www.Facebook.com/GetOld and www.Twitter.com/GetOld to share your wisdom, whatever age you have attained.
*Mandy Walker at www.sincemydivorce.com
Alison Rhodes at www.safetymom.com
Caryn Payzant at www.midlifeguru.com
Audrey van Petegem at www.thesucculentwife.com
Diane Nassy at www.philZendia.com
Karen D. Austin at www.thegenerationaboveme.blogspot.com
Julie Meyers Pron at www.julieverse.com
Casey Mullins at www.MooshinIndy.com
Tina Marinaccio at www.tinamarinaccio.com
Amanda Steinberg, founder of DailyWorth, an online community of women who talk money