Looking back at my life, the constants are easy to see. Label me a perpetual student.
There is always something new to learn or re discover evidence of an event, or scientific research to fit into our belief systems. When teaching “reluctant learners” in my first job, all I wanted them to do was develop a love of learning and solving their own problems through that learning. Knowing human history and recognizing patterns can do that for an individual. Teaching people to know their own power through learning was my goal and is still.
When motivated to study aging, because I was in the middle of it and wanted a better understanding for myself and family and friends, my first stop was the a dictionary and then Google. Things found:
- Old is not a 4 letter word.
- Old is simple in its definition.
- The word worn would be a good substitute.
- The Web is full of advice about aging, yet it is not in a scholarly approach. (duh)
- There are few opportunities for wisdom to be spoken and/or heard.
The vast majority of people HATE to call themselves old. That is denial as mentioned numerous times in my conversations. If you are 70 years old, you are not going to live to be 140, thus you are not middle-aged. Get over it and get on with the repurposing of your life.
Your body may be worn, but it is still useful. Your brain may be slower, but it is still useful. The culture of “old” is nothing more of a set of shared values…..the ones of us who are old, most likely have different values and goals and activities than those who are young. Unfortunately, the younger generation in most countries do not want to know our old culture and wisdom sharing is a challenge, but it is possible, as seen by older candidates for the office of President of the United States.
“Everybody’s day-to-day life is ordinary.” Barbara Sher
As an elder, if you want to be extraordinary, you don’t want to waste your limited energy on being angry about your situation. No one ever benefits from that, but as a person worn by life, you know instinctual that you will need both patience and Plan A and B and maybe C to get to your extraordinary self. You have time to reach a dream you have had for ever or create a new one better fit to your situation at this point. Don’t settle, but be realistic.
Watching video of Loretta Lynn, age 83, who performed on the Tonight Show, made me think about how the dream she had as a young girl could still play out because she knows herself, she still has energy to be herself and she knew that to appear in that venue she needed colored hair, a red sequined dress and SPANX.
My personal dreams always must include learning or my life is miserable. While reading novels is a kick, non fiction and learning that stretches my limits is the meat and potatoes (as they used to say) of my soul.
May you find your meat and potatoes and move on.
Please visit http:/www.susanschmittart.com to see how my friend Susan portrays all her lovely old women. She is so talented!