Musing on Aging

Musing on age aging? I can’t seem to get into it. I find I have nothing to say about turning 72 this week, though I have tried.

May Sarton wrote a whole book on the topic.  Well, on the year she turned 70. Same thing. But, when you get right down to it, even that wasn’t really ABOUT aging. It was a journal on what she was doing at that time of life. And it wasn’t so different, I imagine, from what she was doing at 60, or 50.

I feel similarly.

Seventy-two was the age of a man I knew as a child. Everyone said he was old, so 72 became the age of an old person, to me. What did I know then?

Now that I am 72, I’m finding I think of this man — I don’t recall his name — and realize I don’t feel old, at all. I feel about 47. Still.

I’d forgotten I’d written about this two years ago — my 70th birthday. The post Old Age: What’s It Really Mean got nearly 50 comments. I’ve discovered nothing new over the past two years.

So, I have no special knowledge to impart on aging; I don’t even have a question I’m pursuing (or musing on). Purmusing? That should be a word.

Actually, when I forget about being polite, my birthday feels intrusive. I have so much I’m in the middle of doing, I don’t want to stop and blow out candles. Here’s a list, just off the top of my head.

  • Reformatting my LEAPFROG book after changing one of the chapters. This should have/could have been a rather simple task, but I forgot the book was NOT a 6″x9″ one.  So, make that re-reformatting.
  • Preparing for our second addition to our family, who will be joining my soccer player.
  • Preparing for a new white shepherd as Sasha ages too.
  • Keeping up with our two very busy AirBnB rentals — the yurt and the tent site; both have been full to capacity this summer as both offer total isolation.
  • Maintaining my two afternoons a week private practice; this helps keep me grounded in a very real way.
  • Taking time to simply enjoy life; or is that to enjoy life simply?
  • Staying in touch with my social media friends and connections.
  • Staying connected to family and friends.
  • Taking time to read The Secrets of Mary Bowser (Lois Leveen, author) because my granddaughter Kendall was reading it one day when we were texting. A month later, I’m not yet through chapter 3. And it’s a well done book I want to read.
  • Staying involved in the organization I help found this winter — NEKASAN (.org) helps us deal with the refugee crisis at our southern border. Did you see my Facebook birthday fundraiser? Facebook helped me raise an extra $500 towards our work. Thanks to any of you who’ve participated. And, there’s still time for those of you who missed it.
  • Writing this weekly blog. Thank you for reading.
  • Staying informed about my country and the wider world and refusing to let it get me down.  Here’s a recent photo that caught my attention

Appalled? Good.

How about you? How are you staying busy these days? 

 

 

21 Responses

  1. Arlene Smith
    | Reply

    I have been transitioning to my natural colour of hair over the last couple of years. It’s now quite white when before it was dark, dark brown. I still get a shock when I look in the mirror. Who is that white-haired woman? On the inside I’m still in my forties. I think it’s important to celebrate birthdays, though. There’s no such thing as “just another birthday.” I intend to embrace each one – I won’t blow out candles for a while though . . .

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      I’m a bit envious on the hair color, Arlene. I’ve been hoping mine would just move to white so i didn’t have to highlight it anymore; I’ve been blessed with a rather mouselike shade of brown since my pregnancies (I grew up blonde). But it’s been a few years since I colored it; enough white around my face to make a difference. So many of my over 65-friends are now all white and I love the color.

      I should add, I got a very nice dinner last night with the Vermont family and a FaceTime Happy Birthday song from my Ohio families, plus lots of good wishes. So, yes; acknowledging it’s one’s special day is important. I agree.
      Janet Givens recently posted…Musing on AgingMy Profile

  2. Marian Beaman
    | Reply

    Congratulations on this milestone, Janet. I remember being your age. Take comfort in the fact that I am older than you – ha! I have some aches and pains, but nothing serious that I know of. However, my children think I’m old, flying into conniptions when I tried to go into a grocery store, even with a mask on early in the pandemic.

    I admire your list, very ambitious. At the moment, I’m still marketing Mennonite Daughter with a book signing with other authors on Saturday. Also, reading and reviewing books, sometimes feeding into my blog posts. I don’t think hubs and I could keep up with an AirBnB, but fantastic that you can offer isolation in a getaway.

    Here’s to advancing in good health up the ladder of the 70s. I did send you a whole chocolate cake, virtually of course.
    Great post, Janet!
    Marian Beaman recently posted…Girl, Wash Your FaceMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      I do take comfort in that fact, Marian, and I thank you for providing it. 🙂

      Stay healthy down there. I don’t think I’d be doing any bookstore gatherings, even up here in our green state. It only takes one asymptomatic carrier to ruin it for the rest of us.
      Janet Givens recently posted…Musing on AgingMy Profile

  3. Jerry Waxler
    | Reply

    Janet,

    First, congrats for being on the planet for a while. (We are about the same age.) I think the title of your blog post conflates “getting old” with “wearing out” – I don’t know about you but certainly some of my body parts are due for an overhaul. The other half of that coin of getting old means we have more experience. Life keeps piling raw material at our Receiving department. The only way to turn that raw material into usable stuff is to write about it. Once you have experienced the sublime joys of writing about your experience, the whole process becomes more exciting – bring on the experience – it’s just grist for the mill. And that project of turning raw life into a sensible narrative can feel like a responsibility, even an urgent one. As Viktor Frankl said, at any age we need purpose. This goal of turning experience into sensible, purposeful expressions feels like one of the greatest purposes of my lifetime. And judging from your quickening, I am guessing it is having that effect on you as well.

    Cheers,
    Jerry Waxler
    Author of Memoir Revolution
    Jerry Waxler recently posted…Losing yourself to find your new truthMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Viktor Frankl’s book, “Man’s Search For Meaning,” had an enormous impact on me as well, Jerry. And I thank you for bringing him up. Having purpose is vital to a fulfilling life and I am very grateful to have found a new purpose in my life and as a result a new energy too. I will write about it as soon as I can. It’s been a gift to realize that writing helps me clarify things. Powerful.
      Janet Givens recently posted…Musing on AgingMy Profile

  4. Laurie Buchanan
    | Reply

    Janet — I liked reading through your list and particularly enjoyed the distinction you made here: “Taking time to simply enjoy life; or is that to enjoy life simply?”

    Happy birthday to you!

  5. Ally Bean
    | Reply

    I’ve done less this summer than any other summer before. On the one hand I am grateful to be safe & healthy at home, but then I see a world map that shows where I cannot go and I feel fretful. This was to be my year of travel, having been a good little homeowner for the last few years, not going anywhere because we were working on the house, and travel this year was my reward. Instead… still. at. home.
    Ally Bean recently posted…Daisies: Examples Of Tenacity OR Flowers With Loose Morals?My Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Life is cruel sometimes, and disappointment is it’s sting. I’m sorry you’ve missed your travel for this year. Disappointment can be palpable. Still, think how your poor daisies would have fared had you not been here to move them to a better spot! You were needed here, at home. And they thank you, I’m sure of it. Thanks for stopping by, Ally.
      Janet Givens recently posted…Musing on AgingMy Profile

  6. Joan Z.Rough
    | Reply

    Sounds like a busy, good life, Janet. Keep on keeping!!

  7. Bette Stevens
    | Reply

    Thanks for a good chuckle with the cartoons… 🙂 I’m heading for 73 and with so many project on the agenda I can’t imagine how I ever managed to get anything accomplished before retirement. Having fun and wishing you a blessed and beautiful 72! <3 xo

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Thanks so much Bette. Staying busy, with purpose and passion, this does seem to be vital. Enjoy your year.
      Janet Givens recently posted…Musing on AgingMy Profile

  8. Darlene Foster
    | Reply

    I agree, keeping reasonably busy is the key. No longer do we sit in a rocking chair and knit at our age. By the time my paternal grandmother was 50, she called gerself old. Heck I was only getting started at that age. Birthdays are a blessing and much better than the alternative.
    Darlene Foster recently posted…A Trip to TrujilloMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Isn’t is something how powerful attitude can be? I was 55 when I started my Peace Corps chapter. We had a hair care product when I was a kid: “You’re not getting older, you’re getting better.” It must have really made an impact on me. Cheers to you and yours Darlene.
      Janet Givens recently posted…Musing on AgingMy Profile

  9. Tim Fearnside
    | Reply

    Janet, you inspire me with your enthusiasm, optimism, and seemingly endless forward-moving energy. Happy (belated) birthday!

  10. Pamela
    | Reply

    Purmusing – excellent new word. Let’s add it to our vernacular. In my own mind, I’ve become younger as I age. I feel more “me” in there. I like myself a whole lot more than I did 30 years ago, because 30 years ago I still hadn’t figured out who “me” was. I feel more free to relax, to ponder and muse, to read and write whatever I want. I see “inside” people much more easily at this age then when I was younger. I don’t care as much what people see in me – I’m myself, and that’s good enough for me. I love more easily ,and I appreciate little things more – like my tea in the morning, the sun as it sets, a good book, a good yogic stretch. Jeez, who wants to be “young” anyway? 🙂 So – enjoy your older you, Janet. You’re terrific.
    Pamela recently posted…Know ThyselfMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      “We’re not getting older . . . We’re getting better.” Remember that one? Son of a gun, Clairol was on to something there. I love how you put this, Pam. Right on. (Must be our healthy New England air. )
      Janet Givens recently posted…Musing on AgingMy Profile

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