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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Countdown.


Yesterday was my birthday. The day was this good. By noon, it warmed up enough for me to take a good walk around the block, even after a busy morning of Tai-Chi and housecleaning. I started Tai-Chi just a few weeks ago, a way to find my breathing, to meditate, to stretch my body and soul.

I have limited capital left in this life.
How many more losses will I experience before I die?

As I age, after each birthday, I notice that my body betrays me more and more.  I can no longer keep the svelte figure I had in my youth.  My digestion has changed: it doesn't like ice-cream, pizza, cakes,  any indulgences.  I used to spend hours cleaning and organizing the house. Now, my strength and flexibility are so unreliable that I barely do an hour of housekeeping before I collapse. (I do housekeeping as an aerobic exercise, pushing and lifting and moving the whole body!).  I sleep in spurts. I read and write in spurts too.

I'm only seventy! What will happen when I'm eighty, ninety?
(At our book club, on Thursday, Dot celebrated her 95th birthday! She reads a couple of books a week, belongs to The League of Women's Voters and many other groups active in the community!)




We have access to two canoes for lake rides.
They sit, forlorn.
Brian was the last person to ride the canoe to the Ocean and back.

I need to rustle up a youthful  desire and resolve for adventure,  a long sojourn somewhere with new sights, sounds, tastes, midnight cruises, mid-morning hikes.
I need to live while I'm alive.



How about you? Do you countdown to doing things differently?
What changes are you looking forward to?


40 comments:

Roberta said...

I turn 62 this week. Old enough to start collecting social security if I want to. A milestone really.

Since I was laid off in April, I have made exercise my number one priority before anything else. I try to exercise for one hour every morning at the same time. I am finding it has really helped me a lot. Not that I am as flexible as I used to be. Not by any means. But if I don't exercise, the rest of my day goes badly.

I will do this for as long as I am able.

The Broad said...

Rosaria, I was 66 last June. Yes, there are changes -- I don't need as much sleep, but I get physically tired more easily. I try to walk somewhere every day and that really makes a big difference to how I feel. For a while now I have a smaller appetite -- and I'm not complaining about that because I've managed to lose weight without really trying! I miss my grandchildren dreadfully and I am looking forward to being able to see them in Korea. It is difficult at the moment as I do have to make trips in the opposite direction to see my mother -- but 4 years is a long time to go without seeing my eldest son and his family.

Vagabonde said...

Happy belated birthday!
Our bodies slow down with age unfortunately. I have a bad knee so too much walking hurts but I try. I think that trips, even little ones around Georgia, keep my mind working but I am not tough on myself and if I feel tired I just stop and read a book, daydream or just watch the birds in the backyard. I guess that’s the good part about being retired.

Joani said...

Happy belated birthday.
1/31 will be the last day of work. On 2/20 I will turn 65. I never dreamed I'd get here. Such a milestone for me. In Arizona the weather this time of year is beautiful & I'm outside in the yard as much as possible. There are days I don't go anywhere and I am enjoying my home for now. What the future brings is a mystery and I try to take each day one at a time. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Hugs.

JeannetteLS said...

I will only be sixty in June, but I feel it as a milestone. My health has been an issue since I was twenty-eight so that it's been hard to pinpoint what was aging and what was health... and what was simply ennui. But now? I look forward to understanding what the boundaries are from this last 1.5 year downward spiral from the spine. To moving more and testing it.

As for 60? This year has been a process of letting go of some things--longing for a love that will not happen, having true financial security, among other things. I feel a newfound confidence, which was a total shock. A renewed commitment to my health--weight, in particular--because of ME, not anyone else. Not vanity. Just because I want to move more freely if possible.

And a renewed sense of dreaming! I feel fresh inside, oddly enough. As if I can finally be myself in ways I did not allow before now. I look forward to all the baby steps that make up a book, a body of art, making new friends.

My friends over sixty do not "waste" their time with toxic people. They use the sense that adulthood is over half over to do MORE, not less.

I think it's more that the nature of the things I dream to do is different. I let go of travel because I cannot. But my eyes are MORE open to what else there is. Does that make any sense?

Maybe it's having a 97-year-old aunt in Alaska. Her world comes to her when she can't get to IT. She travels with a companion, but when she cannot travel, she loves the people around her, and she listens to new books. And is ALIVE

yaya said...

Happy Birthday Rosaria! So many of the issues you describe are happening to people alot younger than you. I work with woman 20 or more years younger than me and all they do is complain about their bodies, aches, and such...how will they make it to my age? I don't think they'll make it to your age either! This has been a very hard year for you, with the loss of your son. Stress and grieving can take a toll and I'm glad to see you're exercising and looking at your options. I hate that my body is in rebellion now..and I'm trying hard to beat it into submission! I have a few more years that I must work..actually more than a few. Hopefully I can be like my Mom who's 85 and very active. Sometimes luck plays a big part of life whether we like it or not! But I do find that the harder I work, the luckier I get..so it's back to work for me!

Rob-bear said...

Happy Birthday Rosaria! Another important milestone.

I turned 66 in September, and I am feeling that my body is not what it was. Play hockey or rugby on a University team? Not today. Thanks.

Betrayed by my body? Yes. (Actually, that's a phrase I often use.) Another friend says 65 is "the age of certifiable decrepitude." Housekeeping as an aerobic exercise? Well, some kind of physical fitness process (as long as you don't have a fit — stroke — at the end).

I'll have more to say about this on my blog, when I'm awake. (Great minds think alike?) Like you, I seem to do things in little bits. Even hibernate.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Happy belated birthday, Rosaria -- and congratulations on your resolve to live all the days you're alive, especially given the heart-breaking loss you've had this past year. We certainly get no guarantees with regard to how we'll age. I imagined dancing into retirement and find that my arthritic knees and feet preclude that. But there are many other things to enjoy. I'll be 67 in April and am definitely aware of my limitations these days. But am trying to exercise any way I can, stay active intellectually and enjoy friends, both old and new. I've heard that Tai Chi is great in so many ways, including for improving one's balance -- no small thing in our young old age! I'm so glad you're trying it and wish you so many blessings today and in the next year!

Sightings said...

That ##*@#@#** body of ours -- just isn't reliable anymore. But as long as we keep moving, we're still alive. Happy birthday ... and many more!

Eva Gallant said...

Happy belated birthday. I will be 68 in August. We are taking a road trip at the end of February. We're driving to Austin, Texas, to see my stepson and his wife and daughter for a few days, then we will drive along the Gulf coast to Florida, visiting friends along the way. We also hope to take in a Red Sox spring training game in Ft. Myers, then continue on to Key West, then back to Maine. Looking forward to the change of scenery!

Rubye Jack said...

Happy Birthday Rosaria!
I only wish I had changes to look forward to since I seem to be dealing with a lot of stagnation lately. For awhile now, I've wanted to take a Tai Chi class. My hope is that this spring will bring on new challenges and a new and better emphasis on doing life rather than waiting for it.

quilterliz said...

G'day Rosaria. Belated birthday wishes.I hope it was a goog one for you. I turn 60 in March and have noticed changes in my body now for a few years.Plus having major thyroid problems has not helped me one bit.We can only make the most of everyday and enjoy it for all it's worth. Take care. Liz...

amalia said...

happy birthday Rosaria

dianefaith said...

I'm glad you had a good birthday. I'll turn 68 this year, and I've noticed deterioration in the last year or two. When I get down on the floor with my grandson, it's quite a production to get back up. I tire more easily. And, sometimes I'm dizzy and, therefore, don't navigate as confidently as I have in the past. I'd like to be in your Tai Chi class -- that sounds like a good way to help balance and stamina. Right now, I babysit so much that it is difficult to plan for myself. The huge benefit is that one can't sit around when there's a four-year-old in the house.

Brian Miller said...

happy birthday! so this is what i have to look forward to? smiles...my digestion is already changing...and i dont like it one bit...

Cheryl Cato said...

I turned 65 in November... I'm "street legal" now! I've been getting social security for 3 years & am glad I decided to collect... who knows about next week or next year, get it while the getting is good, I say.

I continue to work in the yard but can't do as much as I'd like. Too much lifting & I have an aching back! Today I did a bit too much outside & yes, my back hurts. I'd rather be outside than inside and I don't like housework.

Still I can play golf & work outside, but I wonder about 10 years from now. The G-man will be 74 next week & he still plays golf 3 days a week & plays in tournaments when one strikes his fancy.

Why don't you & Ken make a trip down this way? I know, I know; I always hope to get you your neck of the woods and it hasn't happened yet, but maybe, maybe it will happen.

Happy birthday again. I know how hard this year has been for you and I hope the next year will be easier my friend.

Cloudia said...

each day only becomes more precious. i refuse to worry, only to be grateful and to enjoy life. sometimes feeling the depth of our lost youth is part of it . . .
glad to be alive! happy birthday friend


http://foongpc.blogspot.com/2012/01/2012-chinese-new-year-decorations-part.html

oceangirl said...

I am 45, but I do wonder about what my life would be. I should not but I do.

oceangirl said...

Happy birthday Rosaria!

Lydia said...

My birthday wish for you is that on your next birthday you are able to reflect on this year as being an especially sweet one in your life. ♥

I turned 61 this month, and my neck got its first "crick" a week later. Have determined it is the new, too-fat, super-duper, hypoallergenic pillow I ordered in December. It's a killer for sure and I'm glad to be wise to the source of my stiffness. But, still, would a stupid pillow have been enough to cause me pain 20 years ago?! ....

I did yoga for ten years and have not practiced for two years. I must get back into it, or try the new Jane Fonda exercise cd or the Tai-Chi cd (purchased both & have yet to view). I did take a few Tai-Chi lessons about 15 years ago and really liked it. I appreciate what you said about it helping your breathing, as that is something I want to concentrate on too. Thank you for the incentive, dear Rosaria.

Retiredandcrazy said...

I find that I have more time to indulge myself now Rosario, so there are some benefits of growing older but unfortunately a supple slim body is not one of them! Happy Birthday.

Diana said...

Happy Birthday, Rosaria!

I have had the sense of life being finite for a long time, but more so as I age. As one comment er metioned, I have less and less time for people and things that don't enhance my well being...

Wishing you a very sweet 70th year..my daddy just turned 70 in August :-)

Ruth said...

Happy birthday, Rosaria. I loved reading this, about your life and activities. Tai-Chi strikes me as a wonderful form of exercise, and maybe I should start it. I need to find ways of moving this aging body of mine that will strengthen and yet be kind.

becky said...

Happy birthday, Rosaria and may you have many more!
Ah, the limits of the body after time and injury or poor health...some of us have it better than others and I thank God every day for the body I was given...I'll try to accept its deterioration as a natural process...a countdown, as you say.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Happy Birthday. I know the feeling well, I turn 69 this year. Thing are just not what they used to be!!
Maybe I should take up Tai-Chi in winter. Summer is not a problem as I cycle when the weather warms up. Diane

Grandmother said...

Our birthdays are close! A happy year to you and a kinder one. I like the Tai Chi choice of yours and that should bring the suppleness you seek. I've chosen Jeff Galloway's method of run/walk to stay in shape and energetic. It's working so far as I become 66. Thanks for your thoughtful post.

Maggie May said...

I am going to be 70 in May (God willing) and your description fits me too. It is so annoying when inside my head I can still do it all. Its the body that lets down.
We must keep plodding on as long as possible!
Maggie X

Nuts in May

potsoc said...

In 6 weeks, I'll turn 81. No use fretting about what was, CARPE DIEM!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Oh, Rosaria, I do know how you feel!

Anonymous said...

Happy Happy Birthday rosario, miss aquarius..may you dance when you want, love a lot, sip a little now and then and rise to see the morning sun each day...exercise will guide you and your faith, your blog has been wonderful to read, sorry for your heartbreaking loss this past year..There is no garantee on anything, enjoy the love you give and receive and blessings from me to you, I am thinking of you warmly and sending out many many good thoughts..just saying..I will be 64 in may and try to walk as long as I can and as far as I can daily even in the his dadblasted rain, we get about 300 days a year, when the sun comes out and I just jump up and down for joy, most think I am nuts but I love the blue skies and sunshine since we don't see it much at all up here in sw washington at all..why get all wadded up about it, I just enjoy each day as it comes..happy happy birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Vera said...

My fight against letting age get me down is to keep busy at all times. If I stop, I sort of tumble into a pit of worry. I, too, find working at a physical task for longer than an hour tiring, but then I sit down and do some knitting, writing, or something. My mind is better than it ever has been, though, and I would rather be this age than younger. I did not like my younger self so much as I do my older self. Keep going Rosaria, you still have much to offer the world.

Cinner said...

happy Birhtday Rosaria. I try to do Tai Chi often, I think it makes us more limber. With my chronic illness I have experienced lots of these things already, this year I am working very hard so I can feel better to better live. I am only 48. don't compare yourself or what you can or can't do to anyone else, just everyday try to do your best. Wishing you the best wishes at hoping you feel healthy and happy. your friend, cinner Hugs.

erin said...

oh, rosaria, yes! i am glad you have called yourself to it. that is the only way.

for so many years i did so little, resting upon the fact that i am in daily pain from my back. i relied on others to do the physical work for me. but do you know what? i was still in pain. and now i do for myself and yes, i am still in pain, but i was anyway. and i run, too, and my toenails fall off for running. i laugh. this is new. but what i experience in the doing of the work, in hauling wood and carrying what needs to be carried, in walking or running long distances, what i gain far outweighs the physical pain that i am always in and assuages pain of spirit, infuses my love of this life, causes me to feel younger! i laugh. i understand i have a long way to go, or at least i hope i do, but i trust that i will push through in as many ways as possible until i fall over dead:)

xo
erin

Phoenix said...

Happy belated birthday, Rosaria! I hope it's a full on, wonderful celebration. I know this past year has been difficult for you, and I can't imagine how hard things might feel sometimes.

Sometimes just getting up in the morning and letting go of the past is in and of itself an adventure, I think.

Hugs,
Tracy

Linda Myers said...

Thank you for your birthday post. I think about my aches and pains - all of them related to aging, none of them life-threatening.

My doc recently said, "Don't be afraid of your symptoms." So I'm moving about in spite of them. Every day after my walk I feel grateful.

Helga said...

I am blessed with relatively good health and still love to eat chips, cheese puffs and cookies as if there were no tomorrow – I know it’s bad, but I have my veggies, too. Days go by so fast! In the mornings, if I can get my act together, I’ll do my 7 ½ minutes of back exercises, take a walk to keep creaking knee joints somewhat flexible, but need to stop every 10 steps to take a photo of a yet newly discovered angle to a beautiful flower or leaf. Thanks to dwindling memory, I have to go back and forth many times to finally do or find what I had walked across the house to do/find - age has its own ways to keep us going. Weekends belong to family get-togethers; about once or twice a week I watch grandchildren. Since decades, it seems, we want to clean out closets, throw stuff away, organize, sell the house, travel, find new friends – but oomph and will power are kind of low and seem to drop steadily. Just thinking of chores to be done drains tremendous energy. To tell the truth, I don’t feel like doing anything most of the time. Is it greatly feared lethargy or laziness, or is it well-deserved rest after raising 4 kids, adjusting to miscellaneous cultures and religions and their demands, and pleasing x-number of people over a 67-year lifetime? All I mostly want is peace and quiet, no exhausting problems, no pain. Life next to monotony seems to hand out enough upsets and turmoil, to let us long for the discontent we may have felt about repetitiveness and boredom in prior days. Of course, there is still this little child-like urge in me that foretells adventures, travels, dancing, artistic breakthroughs, wonderful surprises and the discovery of my true purpose. I guess now it’s time to go wash my ceiling-high stack of dishes. I’m good at that, I know, and it also serves as my relaxation and meditation moment. Oh, the small pleasures we learn to derive from daily mundane tasks!

Jenny Woolf said...

I've been spending too much time sitting around, writing, sitting in planes and cars, etc. I'm noticing my energy levels aren't bouncing back. And the less energy I have the less I want to do. This is a vicious circle that needs to be broken.

Ann Best said...

You're only a few years younger than I, Rosaria. A belated happy birthday. I have many of your same thoughts, especially as I have a disabled daughter who is 25 years younger than I. But I try to focus on one day at a time.

I was once told I would have more trials and losses in my life. This was after my daughters' accident but before my ex- and present husbands died, and before my trials with my homeless brother. I think this is LIFE.

Let's just link arms and keep going!!
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

NitWit1 said...

Each birthday seems to bring another limitation to me, as I hit 75 last October. For a number of years I mourned my lack of skills I once had to do many chores during a single day. Now I have a housekeeper twice a month, but it did not free up much time. It takes me most a a day to wash, dry and fold or put up laundry, and cook one meal. If I add one thing it wears me out. This "out of time and tired out" seemed to accelerate after the A-Fib set in.

However we mustarded up the courage to take a lovely once in a life-time vacation. I was afraid I would be a drag but several in our tour group were just as hampered by health as I. We carefully planned and had emergency backup plans plus paced our trip where we had some down time.

I still have a zest for talking to new people, reading, learning, photography, etc. but it seems my chores I feel I need to do to uphold my share of houselhold duties takes more of my time.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rosaria .. congratulations - you have activity desire on your side - go for the canoeing, the hiking - gentle, shallow, nearby maybe - but they'll be such fun ..

I must do what Roberta is doing .. priority of exercise in the morning .. I used to be motivated and do it -

Cheers enjoy the weekend .. Happy Birthday .. Hilary