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Monday, October 1, 2012

From sixty to seventy: Are you the person you were back then?

(November 2008, just back from our France vacation. I bought that hat in Marseilles, in a bookstore across the Yacht club. Here I am on the public dock of Lake Garrison, on one of my morning walks.)

Back then, we thought we could/would visit the world, one section a year. Let's see, by now, we would have added at least three more countries. In the previous year my husband had a couple of medical procedures and as soon as we could we managed to travel all the way to France, stopping both ways to spend time in New York, a place I had never visited.

We walked a few miles to Central Park.
We walked up and down Rockefeller Center.
We walked to the theater and back after midnight.
We explored blocks and blocks of Manhattan.

Now, just a few years later, and a few more medical procedures, we can barely walk a block. We go down to the garden and can't come up the small incline without taking many breaks. We need help lifting and pushing and digging. Just a few years ago, life was looking good.

Are we the same people? Yes and no. We are still trying to remain active in ways we hadn't thought of before, in small ways, and in unusual ways, and we have accepted that certain things we used to do are now being done by professionals.

We are aware that even small things are important to do:

1. violin playing and practice most days.
2. driving to events, like the Old Time Fiddlers Concert in Brookings this weekend.
3. entertaining friends and neighbors regularly.
4. volunteering at the party headquarters.
5. making phone calls for fundraising and get out the vote.
6. volunteering to teach cooking to school children.
6. hosting book clubs and writers' groups.
7. holding public office/I am still on the school board; my eight year.

What we no longer do:
1. Heavy maintenance around the house.
2. Seasonal cleaning.
3. Major traveling.

We are aware of our limitations and build activities to strengthen our bodies, avoiding things that might injure or complicate our bodies.  Our front yard and back yard have been renovated so we can still be active and enjoy gardening, only now it is easier to move about and to cultivate. We have remodeled our home slowly, looking at ways to open up space in case we were in need of moving around in a wheelchair.

Growing old may occur quickly or slowly.  We aim to hold our own, and still be prepared for further complications.

34 comments:

Hilary said...

We're looking to move to a lakeside property very soon (hopefully). I think we'll find out what our limitations are over the next decade or so.

Rubye Jack said...

I find a world of difference in 60 and 65, but then I haven't been taking care of myself like you all have. I keep saying I'm going to start walking but am always feeling too tired.
It sounds like you all are being very responsible and aware. A lot of people are shocked when all of a sudden they find themselves limited.

Terra said...

Oh yeah, aging, tell me about it. Yup, I am aging too. You are keeping active and enjoying different things rather than your major trips, so that is on the plus side.
Did you see the giveaway I am having for "365 Senior Moments You'd Rather Forget."? The funny side of aging.

joeh said...

I'm am sure i've slowed down, but I have always been so lazy I hardly know the differance.

Eva Gallant said...

I could kick myself for putting on so much weight over the years. It's much tougher to lose at this age!

Patricia said...

This post made to stop and think! I am not the same person I was 10 years ago. I am much more aware of my mortality and I find my mobility changing. These changes are sobering and do affect our activities. Other changes I welcome and embrace. I feel more grounded in myself. I have a stronger appreciation for all the little things you mentioned in your "important things" list. While I may be a bit more "serious" and not quite so "frivolous" it seems to fit me well at this time of my life and I am content, despite the subtle losses. I also have a much greater appreciation for the present moment!

Brian Miller said...

you have to pick and choose your battles and for the most part the things you have cut are things you can get help with if you are humble, you know....def something for me to think on for down the road...what is important...

Maggie May said...

Wer are also governed by health issues & cannot do the travelling we had planned not many heavier household & garden tasks..
Never mind......... there are still many blessings.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Roberta said...

It is amazing to me how quickly it comes on. Until this year I felt young and spry! I was riding my bike 15 miles a day (up hills). Then my back happened. Surgery. Now I feel old. I can't ride my bike any more. But I can swim. So I walk to the pool. I thought turning 60 was bad but 62 was the point for me. I need to learn what I can still do and what I can no longer do. It is depressing but we move on.

Tabor said...

Aging never waits for us to catch up. We are still wanting to do what we did years ago, but you are smart in not fighting various limitations but finding ways to compromise while still pushing yourself to limits.

The Odd Essay said...

Your blog title certainly caught my eye! We started on the road at age 59... now I'm 70. Today we walked over 6 miles to find some geocaches. Last week we were in Alaska on a cruise... last month we were in Maine... Bill on heavy equipment; me painting whatever needed painting. Today, as we walked, we both talked about various joints (knees, hips... even fingers) giving us trouble. Has age limited us? Well, we're NOT the same people we were in 2001... physically... or (sadly) even mentally (memory tends to slip more than we'd like)... Now we have great-grandkids. Nothing like that to make you aware of your mortality.... Okay... we're not in the cane/walker/wheelchair stage (yet)... but... we sure ain't the spring chickens we thought we were at 60 either.

amalia said...

You are right,
comunque vedo che hai delle attività molto interessanti.
anch'io mi accorgo che quello che riuscivo a fare anni fa ora è piu' faticoso, ma l'importante è non drammatizzare
un caro saluto

Joani said...

I'm not quite there but it is coming. I'm always grateful to read about those who are experiencing some of the things I am and will be in the future and to know how they handled it. Always honored to read your posts. Thanks for sharing.

UIFPW08 said...

Ciao Rosaria Un saluto dalla Sicilia
Maurizio

yaya said...

At age 59 I'm wondering what the next decade will bring. The last 10yrs has flown by and my aches and pains are there to remind me! I'm hoping to be able to work for as long as possible. In the health care industry the technology is moving so fast it's hard to keep up. Standing at the operating table for hours at a time is taking a toll on my knees. But for now I'm doing it and still feel I'm an asset to the team. Your post is a wake up call that I need to do more to make sure I'm physically able to enjoy my next decade. Good post!

Rob-bear said...

Ten years on, I'm in a lot more physical and emotional pain. But I still keep walking (I try to do eight blocks a day). I'm ambivalent about getting on my bicycle. I read more. We have quit living in our house and moved to an apartment (which is rather boring) — almost no birds here.

Rian said...

Definitely not the same person, but at 67 I am retired but still active. I take classes, do Yoga, and help with the grandkids. We travel some within the US, but probably won't do too much international anymore. Walking is not a problem (yet), but I do tire a lot quicker these days. I do think eating right and exercising is very important.

Cloudia said...

thanks for this excellent primer on enjoying mature life. We are right behind you and recognize your wisdom. It is appreciated.



Aloha from Honolulu,
Wishing YOU the Best
Comfort Spiral
=^..^=

> < } } ( ° >

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

My mother always said the golden years were tarnished!!
I want to travel more while we are able but the body is slowing down fast. The other problem is that now we are retired we cannot afford to travel that much. Take care Diane

Vera said...

I was slowing down, but that was back in the UK. At 60 we came to France to live in a ruin of a house and get a smallholding started. This has stretched me in all ways, and I thank God that I had the courage to make this move. For me, to always have new things to learn is more important than being able to travel around the world. I know many people who have this type of lifestyle and all of them, without exception, are not happy within their souls. But those who stay put and work with the soil are, and I feel lucky to be one of these people!

Shadow said...

we all dream, we all want to, and then we all do that which we can, that is available and comfortable to us, at the time...

the walking man said...

*shrug* I am glad I went out at 17 and spent 8 years seeing the things and places I saw. I may have missed a lot via education and earning power and may be missing it still but I am content.

I know that if I wanted I could still do more yet. I don't know what life will be like in my 60's much less my 70's. I have already been without paying employment for over a decade and doubt that anyone would risk the liability to employ me.

I still do what I want though but it is not without a cost in physical pain, so I have accommodated that by wanting less, to do less. That is life--accommodating time.

Linda Myers said...

I thought I'd be forced to slow down by illness. Nope. It was an injury. Then I thought I'd heal up like I used to. Nope. It's probably with me for the rest of my life. I need to stop wondering if I'm going to heal, assume I'm not, and get on with it.

Kerry said...

I will turn 63 this month & am always aware that there will be limitations. My father-in-law is 94 & still does carpentry for Habitat for Humanity; he is a model for John and me both. Yet most of us aren't that lucky.

Tom Sightings said...

But . . . it sounds like you're fighting the good fight!

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

The aging thing is rather relentless, isn't it? It's amazing to be doing so much to improve health and mobility while, at the same time, discovering new limitations! In some ways, I'm in better shape at 67 than I was at 60, but my knees are creakier and I just got fitted with hearing aids! OMG! Never imagined that would happen! I didn't think my hearing loss was so bad. It is severe on one side and moderate on the other. There is a grieving process on the way to acceptance and adaptation to new limitations.

Shannon Lawrence said...

That is a great list of options to keep moving. My parents will both be 60 next year, and both are having health issues (my mom has for a long while). Both are also stubborn and active, and I worry about how rough it will be on them as they are forced to slow down more and more. That list is wonderful, though, and I hope it sticks with me as it's needed.

Shannon at The Warrior Muse

Senja Berita said...

Articles are very nice

Ulan News said...

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because your article is very interesting to read

Shiva rei said...

nice post ..
really very nice your post

fiftyodd said...

Read all the comments - agree with everyone. 62 now - fingers bother me the most. Can't play the piano any more. What worries me the most is surviving to perhaps be very old and needing very expensive care. While we can still dodder about in our own home, get to the shops, drive, walk, still have each other, still have functioning brain cells, hey - we shall be among the lucky ones!

becky said...

I know what you're talking about. 70 is not the new 60.

#1Nana said...

Early in my retirement you wrote a comment on my blog about traveling and doing what I wanted to do now while I still had my health. I've been traveling...just made frequent flyer status and hope to do much more. I never liked doing the heavy lifting in the garden so I might as wwell travel.

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