Saturday, June 4, 2011

Six decades

What a difference six decades can make in one's face, huh? Hair, complexion, the whole enchilada. However, the one thing I notice is that my smile is the same! Our bodies do tend to hang in there for a long time if we take care of them. Eyes crinkle up more than they used to, now they need glasses; those teeth have eaten quite a few meals in more than sixty years, but since I see a dentist regularly they are hanging in there, even if they require crowns and root canals and other unpleasantnesses, not to mention money.

Today I'd like to talk a bit about getting older. I've heard it said that aging is not for sissies, and whoever said it wasn't kidding. There are so many things that just keep on deteriorating, including the aging of our friends and family, with the loss of another one now and then. It's part of the process, and it's one part I hadn't considered when thinking of getting older. The four Seniors who carpooled together on our hike last week each had a new ailment to share, and I thought of the conversations I overheard when I was a kid, never guessing that I would be there some day, commiserating with my cronies over this and that part beginning to break down or wear out.

One of the resources that I use to make myself feel better about getting older are the blogs of some of my dear friends: people whose faces I have never seen in person, probably won't ever meet, but you just never know. My blogging friends are almost all retired or close to it. Tomorrow, I'll be meeting a Bag Lady in Waiting: Linda Myers, who lives a few miles away from my favorite place to skydive: Skydive Snohomish. She says she's not going to try it, but you never know. I made my first jump never realizing that I would end up with so many of them under my belt.

But it's sad knowing that this is a sport that, although I still love it, is no longer something I intend to keep doing much longer. This is my last season, or next to last. I've thought it would be cool to keep on skydiving until I am 70, which is only another year and a half. However, it doesn't make much sense to me to keep going until I have an injury that I have to deal with. I want to stop skydiving on my terms, so every jump I make is potentially my last one. I figure I'll know when it's time, and I feel that time coming.

Another favorite blog was introduced to me by Linda at A Slower Pace. She has decided to stop blogging, which saddens me, but then again, why keep on doing something that isn't giving you what you want out of it? She wrote about a blog that I now read every day, with something good that I learn from it, or a link that I follow to another exciting place. It's a professional blog written by Ronni Bennett at Time Goes By. She has a regular staff of elders who research and write about everything that interests me as an elder myself. Ronni says she was forcibly retired in 2005 because of age discrimination. She is an inspiration to me, every day, and she's already passed her seventieth year and tells it like it is.

Today I was out walking with more than a dozen women of all ages. We meet at 8:00 am on Saturday, rain or shine, and walk with Cindy, a retired race walker who has taught me how to quicken my pace and walk brisk enough to really feel it. Then I went over to the YMCA and swam a half mile. Strolling around in the sunshine afterwards, I just had to give thanks for the life that I have, the health still moving me forward, and scouting out what's ahead.


  1. My body is frequently treacherous (though that is MS as much as age) but I refuse to listen. What I can't do today I may be able to do again tomorrow. Your walking inspires me though. I couldn't go as far, but I love sharing them vicariously. Thank you.

  2. Keep smiling and looking forward! I think sometimes I could have an ailment of the week..I used to hate it when old people talked about their health problems:)

  3. What I find interesting is that our voices don't seem to age. I notice that with many performers whose voices sound almost like they did 40 or more years ago.

  4. You continue to inspire me! How cool that you will get to meet a blogging friend.

  5. look the same as when you were a kid. All you need are a couple of pigtails.
    How fun that you'll be getting together with Linda. I too read her blog and enjoy her writing very much. Having blogging buddies to support each other as we age sure makes it easier. We are so fortunate to have access to so many wonderful people. I'm truly grateful.
    Keep looks great on you!

  6. when i get older i wanna be like you...walking in the mountains and diving out of planes...

  7. Many people do not consider the end of their life. People try to avoid facing their own end. I happen to think that it's very healthy to consider the end of your own life. Now don't dwell on the one issue and keep being intensely active if your health allows it. I see far too many people who have caused their body deterioration because if inactivity. So keep on "divin."

  8. I think it is great to meet blog friends in person, and I hope that you will visit me in Hawaii one day. I'll treat you to lunch!

    Yes, your smile is what you have kept from childhood, a lovely smile, by the way.

    I wish I were in perfect health. But although certain issues have gotten worse with time, I have not added any new ones to the list.

    Count your blessing, DJan.

  9. I loved this. I am a decade or so behind you, and always looking for role models in aging gracefully/gratefully. Sky diving or not, you are an inspiration!

  10. You still look EXACTLY the same, just without the pony tail.

    With the life you lead, you are my hero, make no mistake.

    "Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
    Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
    Because their words had forked no lightning they
    Do not go gentle into that good night."

    Or as Bette Davis said, "Getting old is not for sissies..." Too true.

    Please say hello to Linda for me. :-)

  11. DJan, you're more active than most people I know who are half your age!!! (sadly including myself at the moment, damn knee!)

    I hope you keep on skydiving for many more years!!! But I can totally understand your wanting to stop on your own terms... Just keep enjoying it and listen for when your body tells you enough.

    Hmmm... I look at pictures of me as a child and MY smile has changed! It's crooked now... can't seem to smile straight, but that was never a problem as a child! I'll have to check again in another decade or two and compare smiles then. :p

  12. You still have the same look, and yes, the same smile. I wonder sometimes if the only difference is in how we describe ourselves and are we following a "prescription" for these years that was set down long ago, and is it really true? Your activities certainly belie the notion of aging.

  13. Perhaps aging is in the mind too? An active mind is important and so is being around young people, don't you think? I know that people who spend a lot of time with others older than themselves, seem to BE older. I think you've done remarkably well, but I ADMIRE you for giving up before it gives you up! You know I don't want to read on here that you 'fell' out of a plane and didn't get up.

  14. You gave me a couple other blogs to follow. :)
    Skydive for me, too! My body has taken over and made me old before my time. I can't skydive, but I keep my hands and mind as busy as possible. Nope--not for sissies! ;)

  15. Well said DJ. It's really about trying to stay ahead of the curve and adjusting. I'll be 70 next month. Had to give up an interest a decade for a while. First hoops, then, tennis, then hunting and finally flyfishing in the mountains of Montana. All waiting while the "technology" of knee replacement improved, as advised by my doctor. Now after the replacement Im back flyfishing, hunting birds with a camera and long walks with my GSD. I'm good to go now... just new hobbies and interests.
    Would you do me a small favor and mention to Far Side that I still regularly read her blog but can't comment due to eblogs malfunctioning. :)
    (troutbirder) Ray

  16. Sometimes it's shocking to me that I am almost 60.

    You are the most active woman I know!

    Love the picture of you.......both of them!

  17. It is inspiring to have so many other retirees to share this aging experience through blogs, and e-mail. How did our parents keep their sanity through the process without all the technology we now enjoy?

  18. You don’t look your age because you are so active and you do still have the same sweet smile.
    It is really because of Times Goes By that I started blogging. I had found the blog after reading an article in the NYT and had seen that some older bloggers would submit stories. I told my daughter about it, saying that maybe I could send some stories about my youth in France and also about my trips. My daughter answered that I could not be sure that the stories would be published so why not start my own blog. I had not thought about that. She helped me start it and the rest is history. Unfortunately I rarely visit Times Goes By because my time is taken answering all my blogging friends, but I try to go and look at it once in a while.

  19. By now, you've gone skydiving. I hope you had a fantastic time, and I hope your visit with Linda went well.

    As far as aging goes, I understand what you are saying about the aches and pains. Sometimes, I just get tired of feeling them. Being active helps the mind and the body. I think that is why I admire you so much.

  20. I have done a whole lot of living as you said in your comment. I used to think that I only had one shot at this life on earth and felt it would be a big shame if I came and went and didn't know what it was like to get drunk, jump out of a barn, hitchhike around the country, and get married and stay married. I never thought it was smart to stick with one job because the next job might be the one that suits you. I also thought it would be best to create a job and make a living at it. And that was the one that got me the most mileage.

    I have not been as lucky, yet, with blogging. But I am working on it.

    While I am not one to preach about religion I did take the time to find out why I wasn't a Jew, and why I wasn't a Catholic and why I wasn't a Methodist. The solution was to try all those things and that involved learning and experiencing life as different people in different eras or times. Of all the things I have done I think this is the best as it gave me the best all-round education on the meaning of life.

  21. That is probably a smart idea to stop before the injuries strike. But I hope you find another exciting alternative.

  22. Staying active is always the best medicine. I have seen so many folks through the years that just gave up and sat around waiting to die. People like you DJan are an inspiration to so many.

  23. I too am a fan of Ronni's. Her blog is full of good info. I am sixty five and feel like a healthy and and joyful younger woman. Oh I get aches and pains sometimes but they don't rule my world. Robert's comment about voices brought a grin to my face. When I speak to people on the phone they think I am young. The other day I was on the phone making an appointment to see an eye doctor I have not seen before. The woman kept asking me different questions and I realized she was trying every way to make sure I was the age I told her I am. Ha. So she finally asked for my birthday and I said Feb 2 and she said yes, but what year.

  24. I've just started walking 3 miles each morning at 7:00. I could use some of the tips you've learned on how to pick up the pace!
    I'm only still in my 50's, but age does creep in. I ignore it, fight it and deny it, but it's still coming.
    Now I'm going to check Ronni's blog.

  25. I'm coming to believe that one of the things necessary for aging gracefully is listening to our bodies and our guts when they tell us to slow down. It's what allows us to keep doing those things that matter the most. You are such an inspiration to me.

  26. DJan, you are in inspiration! And still so beautiful-- I love your smile. So far I've found the older I get, the more adventurous I am, and the more life I want to live. I'm excited for all the things I have yet to experience!


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