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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Growing into grumpy old men, and women.

We all watched movies about old people, how they lost their balance, their sense of taste, their hearing, their ability to control their lives.  We absorbed these observations and generalized about our own demise at that old age.
We were not going to drop off the tree of life if we could help it!
We exercised. We took hormone replacements. We read books and prepared ourselves to fight and win the battle.

I grew up/older watching The Golden Girls. I saw a bit of myself in each character, and came to believe that except for divorce, or widowhood, our lives could still be quite exciting.  Each character had specific needs that irritated the others. But, they all shared a beautiful home by pooling resources, and were very accommodating. Some, like the mother, was too manipulative. All in all, the women were radiant and healthy and sexually active for their age, I thought.

Now, I see that old age hits us in different ways. Some of us continue to be vibrant and radiant way into our eighties and nineties. Some of my best friends, in their eighties, can out-walk me, out-shop me, out volunteer me, out hobby me, and seem to be tireless in all the things they do.

Some, in their sixties, are confined to power chairs, weekly visits to clinics and therapists, keep few people in their circles and find no joy in their lives.

Doctors who treat us are beginning to prescribe more life changes instead of pills. More and more they ask about our daily routines, the amount and quality of different foods we eat. Our cardiologist talked about small plates as a way to curb our appetite! The fact that he took time to ask and comment and joke about our habits was a good sign that he wants us to succeed in having a good life without resorting to outside sources.

Perhaps we need more television shows and movies about real old people; about life style improvements; about maintaining relationships and hopeful futures. Perhaps we ought to consider all aspects of life at this stage.

Baby boomers have begun to retire in droves. The audience is there and  advertisers have already  latched on and are selling us cars that assist us in parking, in backing up, in remaining alert.  Perhaps we could see products and services that help us maintain and even improve our present abilities, our flexibility, strength,  vigor and joy of life.

After all, who wants to live with grumpy old men or women?


26 comments:

Brian Miller said...

i think those might be some good programs...not that it sells right now you know...smiles...its not sexy enough...but i think lifestyle changes are far better than pills..

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

I have to admit that my weight is certainly higher to what it was 40 years ago, I would love to get back to that flat tummy.
I am far more selfish that I used to be, I have been on my own for too long during the summer periods!
As a child I had a temper, I then learnt to control it. Sadly the control is not so easy any more. I need to get rid of the grumpiness thanks for reminding me:) Diane

Terra said...

My parents didn't hear so much about exercise and what foods to avoid or how smoking was bad for ya. At least now we have the information. I just got back from exercising in a warm water pool, with my friend who is in her late 80s. She is a great inspiration.

ds said...

Oh, yes, Rosaria, changing habits is the right way--and of course the most difficult. One might also add staying engaged with the world around you: people, environment, all of it. Like you!

Patricia said...

Always enjoy your posts. Regarding transitioning into this "golden phase" of our lives...it isn't easy. We have to readjust our image of ourselves. We were in the mountains for two days, went on a walk and a steep incline downhill was enough to make us reconsider, so we sat and enjoyed the nature around us and then returned to our starting point. Just read Anna Quindlen's new memoir, "Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake" and found it speaking to me. Upbeat approach to arriving at this time in life and seeing the value in the process.

Patricia said...

An addendum to my previous comment...I just learned that one of our favorite TV shows, "Harry's Law" with Kathy Bates was cancelled because it was not drawing the 18-49 year cohort. BUT it had 8.8 million viewers...who happened to be too old for the advertisers!

NitWit1 said...

At 75 I try to be cheerful dispite my deficiencies but occasionally the grump arises . then I stuff it back in this misshapen body and put a smile back where it belongs.

Journeyin' Lady... said...

I know my chronological age has to keep increasing but my goal is to age but not act old - hope to do well with it. Thoughtful blog!

turquoisemoon said...

I'm kind of impatient, sometimes...gotta stop that!!! Nice reminder. Thanks!

Eva Gallant said...

Good post, Rosaria! Betty White is still active and beautiful at 90. She is an inspiration.

Rob-bear said...

Wonderful post, Rosaria. I didn't watch the Golden Girls very much. I found it kind of insulting and boring.

I look at the the kinds of things of things your doctor discusses. i'm trying to stay active — physically and mentally — and finding the whole process quite trying. Feeling that I'm losing all the battles.

Tomorrow, things might be better.

Blessings and Bear hugs, my friend.

Marguerite said...

Great ideas and post! I think that it's important to keep moving, even if it is at a slower pace, as we get older.

the walking man said...

Rosaria too much trying to learn how to age seems to me to inhibit the aging with grace and dignity part.

Besides I want to revert to my youth, smoke pot instead of be prescribed liver killing crap and when the things I used to be able to do present themselves to me I push back with a few words..."already saw this show, reruns bore me."

Linda Myers said...

I want to age gracefully, but I have to admit I'm not too keen on the inevitable!

I'm on a new eating plan and have lost enough pounds to keep going on it. And the exercise program works if I work it!

I'd like to see more Boomer shows modeling healthy behavior and healthy aging.

Hilary said...

I don't think our parents needed to know about exercise and keeping fit. It just happened more naturally. They didn't sit in front of a monitor all day. They had to get up to change a channel. They'd walk to the store rather than drive and kids would walk to school. We're a much lazier generation, physically and are beginning to suffer as a result. Lifestyle changes are indeed the way to go, these days. Too many meds are prescribed as it is. Great post, Rosaria.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Wonderful post, Rosaria! It's so true that we all age differently. I see it here in our over 55 community. There is a mother-daughter pair who are fascinating. The mother is 93 and amazing -- starring in our talent shows, holding court at the swimming pool. Her daughter who is in her early sixties -- is also very active despite being seriously disabled by COPD. The mother was telling me what a surprise it has been to both that, at this point and probably for the rest of their lives, she is taking care of her daughter -- joyfully but sad that her daughter's health is so frail.

It's so true that lifestyle matters so much: healthy eating and exercise can keep our weight steady and our joints happier. That said, it IS a surprise that stamina wanes a bit no matter what. My expectations of retirement were that I would tap dance into old age -- not anticipating arthritis in my feet. Adjustments must be made. But life can still be so very good!

yaya said...

When I see how celebs try to stop the aging process or alter it with plastic surgery I just shake my head. Everyone ages..it can't be stopped unless it's by death. I see the effects of life style choices in my job everyday. I always comment that there are 70yr olds and there are "70" yr. olds...attitude is also a big factor..as big as good health choices. I only hope I age as well as my Mom has. One of Mom's favorite lines is: "Never stop moving!"

RNSANE said...

Not me, that's for sure, and, in spite of plenty of aches and pains, after only 2-1/2 months at home, I leave on the 16th for India again. I hope to stay six months this time...I got a ten year visa though I am not sure, when I'm 77, I'll still be up for nearly 24 hours of travel to fight off mosquitoes and envy beautiful women in saris. I did manage to lose 25 pounds in my 4 months there and I am planning a three week stay at an ayurvedic clinic in Kerala...couldn't believe my orthopedist gave me his blessing. Though I know my osteoarthritis is degenerative, I'm hoping to get some help with the pain and to lose some more weight and to continue enjoying India. I have wonderful friends there ( and here, as well ).

If you haven't seen "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", you must. I'm going for my second time on Tuesday. I loved it.

#1Nana said...

We've been making small changes, but I am beginning to realize that we need to be more aggressive in our approach to maintaining our health. I wish the whole exercise and diet routine were more fun!

Maggie May said...

I am doing my best to be active and vibrant and and to do everything to my best ability and hope that determination will help but I do think much of it has to do with luck and the genes....... Still we must press on and try to keep a young outlook on everything not matter what our bodies do to us.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Vera said...

I think that growing old is a state of mind. It is about learning something new every year, and not being afraid to change direction, take opportunities, give something a try. It is about taking each day as a blessing and not looking towards the future too much, but looking towards the now, what is happening at this moment. And if our bodies can't do what they did when we were younger, at least they are still working somehow!

Helen said...

Take your hubby by the arm ... immediately go see 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' for an infusion of energy, laughter, hope. I still watch re-runs of Golden Girls and tease my sisters that one day we WILL be them. All together, retired, laughing, having sister fun. (ps, I will be in Portland, but not until late July .. Seaside for a day or two as well.)

Boodhooram Ignoramus said...

Jai Ho. you and your (you all who wrote comments) 'merican spirit.

fiftyodd said...

I say 'Yea" to Nana and to Helen! I just with they would invent a pill like Viagra that works for women! It's so sad when your sex drive deserts you when you are still madly in love with your husband (and trying to keep up). NB No viagra help required. We are 61 and 62.

Phoenix said...

Great post, as always, Rosaria. I think healthy living habits that can remain consistent and are natural stand a much better chance of helping everyone live a longer and healthier life than pills. :)

Pat transplanted to MN said...

Yes Rosaria, here we arrive the retirement years, the goldens. It is good to use smaller plates, we got so used to having the larger ones that now when I take out what was a normal size to us in the 1970"s (an old set from my Mom) it looks like a saucer or desert plate! So true we have become accustomed to way too big portions. That happened while we were not looking just like I got to be 67 before I knew it!

Long ago an elderly 90 something friend told me long ago--and she was sharp, "there are no people who become grumpy old folks, they were likely grumpy young folks..we become more of what we are all along."

I think that advertisers largely ignore the 60 somethings and older. We certainly are not big shoppers and usually know ahead of time when a big purchase looms, research and make up our minds. So we are not targets for marketing influences. It may reflect of the part of the country wqhere we live, MN and midwest so different from CA.