So I learn. Mainly from elder bloggers, many who have passed on now. What a euphemism. "Passed on." Some to their saviour and assorted relatives, others to star dust from whence they (and I) came. And of course I learn from those in my independent elder living building.
Some garden diligently never letting a weed so much as breathe. We have massive gardens here including vegetable patches. Some fill the covered patio at the front with flowers and pots and wall hangings. Others fill the library with catalogueing and sorting books while others make pillows for our gallery (my floor's bonus) which overlooks the large community room where I hold my workshops. I will photograph it all soon as my legs are improving greatly with my weight loss.
I had no models in my life for successful aging. I refer to the women as my dad (who outlived my mother by 25 years) was a different story entirely. My mother died young. My grandmother, her mother, who was fairly young then and survived her was a livewire but sunk into a massive depression after mum's death (grief therapy unheard of then) and was never the same. An older aunt, a business woman and golfer of some renown sunk into hers when her youngest child died. Losing a child changes one for ever.
Point being, I was on my own as to how to do it successfully. By success I mean contentedly, enthusiastically even. So I paid attention to the blogs of elders. Many had hobbies. Many travelled. Ronni, in her blog "As Time Goes By" wrote of the real challenges of aging, loss of hair, teeth, overall health, lack of accessibility with mobility issues, being not afraid to move across the continent when things didn't work out in Maine. Irene wrote of mental health challenges, agoraphobia, Ernestine wrote about the turning point of 78 when she could no longer garden but adapted her kitchen for experimental healthful cooking while sitting until arhritis defeated her. 98 year old Tom wrote of his tomato garden, so many astonishing varieties. Hobbies (blog writing being one) are essential to successful aging.
Blogging has been a life saver for many elders including me. Blog friendships can be deep and fulfilling. And blogs leave a wonderful legacy of how to navigate this final phase of our lives.
For those lucky enough to experience it while so many others pass on.
One of the aspects of blogging that has surprised me, and very pleasantly so, is that real friendships can be formed with people you are probably never going to meet. The bond seems to become just as strong, nevertheless. And for me, it has been quite wonderful to find a community of like-minded people all over the world, people with whom I share values, both philospophical and actual.ReplyDelete
So very true David. I have met IRL some of my blog friends and the friendship remains. Some visited me here. And a few I met when I lived in Toronto. It's truly extraordinary how enriching it is.Delete
No real role models here either. Mom died 57, sister 58, Dad 61.ReplyDelete
It's such a huge loss Jackie. I miss my mother every day and wonder how she would have navigated the aging process.Delete
I am endlessly grateful to have found the blogosphere. And like David have made some very real (and cherished) friends here. I have found a lot of inspiration too.ReplyDelete
It is incredible indeed EC, how richer our lives become in sharing our journeys.Delete
I think I could fill a book with what I've learnt from twenty years of blog reading, and as much about people as anything. Some people who you know suffer daily can be so uncomplaining and others with much less in life to complain about do so loud and long. Who me?ReplyDelete
However you deal with older age, don't be too self critical when you read of similar others and their high achievements. We are not all the same and our characters vary greatly.
I don't compare Andrew as we are all so unique and the aging process is very different for each of us. I had honestly thought I would be road-racing and hiking until I dropped as I loved it so much. And them boom, a fall on the ice. I take nothing for granted and the todays I cherish so much.Delete
My mother battled arthritis, osteoporosis and cancer for many painful years before she died at 89. My dad was never sick a day in his life, until cancer at 91 took him pretty quickly. I hope I age like my dad.ReplyDelete
I want to age like your dad too Tom. And my own. My dad drove himself to the hospital on his last journey with chest pains. He had that air of immortality about him. Some deaths take us by surprise.Delete
I've not come to terms with the ageing process. I question it constantly!ReplyDelete
It's an unknown territory for us all Joanne and we have to find our own maps. Pain is a great leveler - as we know only too well. It colours everything darkly and road blocks our spirits.Delete
I was young when I started blogging, 35 maybe. I had a strong group of blogging friends around my age and even went to the US to meet some of them.ReplyDelete
They all defected to facebook so now I'm the youngest blogger I know but I'm still in touch with the old crew and they are a remarkable group.
I think I am aging successfully, ask again in 20 years :)
I was in my fifties Kylie and old age seemed so far away I never thought about it. You were very young when you started. My granddaughter had a blog when she was in India at 19 for a stretch of time but suspended it. It's not a thing for young uns with tiktok and insta more immediate. They even have no time for FB. Ah youth!Delete
I love all forms of social media. I don't do TikTok, though, because I'm not a fan of making videos. I like the ability to edit, edit, edit. And even then, the mistakes go out into the world. I've been blogging for 15 years and not planning to stop any time soon. If I should give up writing, I would still be reading what others are writing.Delete
I'm learning from bloggers as well. My elders are either far away from me or not a role model for me. I wish you all the best in your ageing journey, and hope that your legs will soon carry you adventuring once again!ReplyDelete
Thank you Charlotte. So far so good with the legs. And I like to think we draw our own maps.Delete
Yes, I saw my sister, 17 years older than me, age faster after her daughter, 3 years younger than me, pass away from ovarian cancer. She never recovered from the loss. However, she did live life on her own terms and had been Christmas shopping for her great grandchildren on the day she died, at home, after putting away the purchases, taking off her shoes, and making a cup of coffee. Her grandson discovered her, collapsed in the hallway, the next day when she didn't answer her phone. My dad worked the day he died, irrigating his beloved cotton fields. I'm hoping that there is a gene there that will do likewise for me.ReplyDelete
How terribly sad for your sister Delaine, a dreadful tragedy for her family. One so young too. I like that the passing of you other relatives were more when living their lives. Genes are a crapshoot as I have witnessed with some of my more healthier deceased friends, worried about my health (!!) have passed on from cancer.Delete
Indeed, blogging is one of my favourite activities, keeping me in touch with so many interesting blogmates and their everyday lives. Glad to hear your legs are greatly improving. That must be very encouraging. I'm ageing well at the moment, but that could change very quickly.ReplyDelete
Thanks for your kind thoughts Nick, I am hoping I'm not jinxing this burst of good health. Yes, you are aging well and I do believe that your life style has a lot to do with it. I try not to stress about anything even the dark balls thrown at me from time to time. But it can be underlying too.Delete
Always interesting Mary but this one particularly so. The sentence "I had no models in my life for successful ageing" leapt out at me because it was the opposite case for me.ReplyDelete
My father lived an active outgoing life till he was 90 then died quite swiftly one morning without much warning.
My mother survived him by 6 years in the house they built, also very active and interested in the world all around her then decided having spoke to a resident to move into an old people's home where she died a year later. Neither suffered in any way with dementia.
So I do have models for living long and well. Does it help? Definitely - I'm very lucky.
Like you I followed Ronni Bennett and Ernestine who both taught me so much about ageing in the current climate. But you are also one of my original blog reads too. I'm keeping my eye on you!
Stay well Mary
No matter what one learns from others about ageing, one has to face up to realities of one's own situation. In my case, my health issues prevent me from leading the kind of lives that many of my friends and relatives of about my age live. I have accepted this and have modelled mine to give me a contented life. And yes, blogging has been a great outlet for the creative part of me to operate.ReplyDelete
Ronni's blog "As Time Goes By" was the first blog I read and I don't even know how many years ago that was and I continued to follow her for all those years and through her posts were introduced to not only other bloggers but articles, books, thoughts, etc. Reading blog posts has helped me in my own aging process and now that I am retired I have more time to read many other bloggers. I thank each of you. Aging is a journey, another chapter and a different chapter which involves letting go of what was and letting go of what you thought this chapter might be like. I am focusing on the NOW and finding joy in the moment. Blessings to each of you.ReplyDelete
I don't know why my post came up as "anonymous". Sorry. Please consider this as a correction. Thank you.ReplyDelete