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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Aging and Ageism

A friend connected with my blog recently when it was titled "A Gift of a 70th Year" and said that she was surprised I was that old.  I said somewhat defensively that I wasn't 70 yet; it was my 70th year.  But I was motivated to change the name of my blog to "The Gift of Another Year" which what I was going to name it next year anyway.  Why did the number "70" scare me?  Am I guilty of ageism even for myself?

Hillary Clinton is almost my age and running for President.  Why does she want to do this at her age?  Joe Biden is even older and thinking of running for President.  This morning I gasped when I heard Diane Rehm say she was 79!  I admire her stamina and expertise as she interviews such a wide  variety of guests almost every day but I admit to thinking that was really old!

  James Bratt in the 12Blog wrote about his adjusting to a encouraged retirement from teaching at Calvin College.  I wanted to comment that it will be fine and you'll love it!   However, I have a colleague in adult education who "retired" a few years ago, and called our supervisor back after one weekend, asking what she could do to get back to work!

 So, once again it's worth thinking about what makes a good retirement and why it has been good for me.

Today's Here and Now on NPR had two guests who wrote a book called Staying Sharp.  I tried to examine my own life using  The Nine Keys to Staying Sharp that they recommend.

1.  A youthful brain loves movement.  I try to walk daily.  I certainly will take steps over the elevator any day--as they suggest.  I could do more.  I am not compulsive about 10,000 steps a day.

2.  A youthful brain is well rested.  This is a struggle for me.  When I sleep well, I am full of  energy and optimistic.  But I can't make it happen by trying harder!

3.  A youthful brain is well nourished.  They talked about eating less sugar.   I'd probably give up some of that youthful brain in order to have my rewards of sweets!.

4.  A youthful brain cultivates curiosity. I am curious.  I love sitting at my laptop and following various lines of research.  Today I will check out something about the time of partition in India and Pakistan because of a novel I am reading and my ignorance about that event.

5.  A youthful brain is flexible.  I am happy with the routines of our life--our usual Saturday morning breakfast; a Monday morning walk with a friend; our happy hour when Jim comes home.  But I also like change--a new place to walk, a new recipe to try, a new person to meet.

6.  A youthful brain is optimistic. I could work more on this one. It's too easy to over-think problems and worry.

7.  A youthful brain is empathic.  I try to think about others, encourage others and find ways to help..

8.  A youthful brain is well connected. Our children and grandchildren are many miles away from us.  Retirement has enabled me to spend more time as grandma-in-residence which is good.  Many of our  friends are retired and have moved away.  We are among the very oldest members of our church community.  But email, phone calls, texting, and Facebook have helped with connections--and we are happy to have younger friends as well!

9.  A youthful brain is authentic. Others would have to speak to this as they look at me.  I think the real me is usually obvious--my natural color hair, my comfortable weight, and minimal make-up, but I also don't feel a need to pretend to be anyone else other than who I am.  Other than thinking that 70 years old is pretty old--and I will be there soon!

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE this post Mary. I am going to check out the book you referenced. You are a talented writer. so happy you have started this blog.