For the eyes. For the heart. For the ears. For the feet. For the soul.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A reader's response to "A midlife crisis, already?"

I asked permission to use the below from someone who contacted me regarding the above mentioned post. She agreed and I think it adds some great perspective to the notions of aging.
Thank you for all your feedback!!

Hi Wendy,

I read with interest your recent blog on mid-life crisis and aging. Unfortunately there is a pre-conceived notion out there about older people. Being 64 years of age does not make me old…old is a state of mind where one basically sits around waiting to die. Aging on the other hand is much different than being old. With aging there is the ability to reflect on times past and enjoy, albeit sometimes only mentally, all the good things, experiences and memories that have taken place in our lives to make us the people we are. Most “old” people that I know are bitter…but they were that way at 25, at 50 and still at 80….life was never good enough for them then or now…so they sit and wait. No need to wait….death is inevitable and it will come – but being old is not a prerequisite for dieing, it just happens! We can plan for death, or not plan, it doesn’t matter – when our time comes, it’s game over.

Flannel pajamas??? I’ve never owned a pair and certainly don’t intend on going down that road, ever! Sexy nighties fill a drawer in my dresser but most often bedtime is “au natural” in spite of the surplus rolls, the stretch marks and the waning elasticity of the skin. Flesh on flesh begins at birth and is a sensation that brings about warmth, love, closeness and fragility – I don’t think that anything else can compare.

Intimacy….ahhhhhhhhhhhh now there is a subject that has no age limit. I know most of my senior friends engage in some type of sexual intimacy at least a couple of times a week…some even more. When I was in my 30’s raising a family, working full time, going to school working on my degrees, paying bills, keeping a house, being totally exhausted, etc. I had less energy and desire for intimacy than I do now and with kids around, it certainly wasn’t spontaneous. Age has nothing whatsoever to do with intimacy. Also, being post menopausal there is no concern for birth control and no unexpected “friend” showing up on holidays. Intimacy stops or wanes for many reasons….aging is not the major reason though, it is usually medications or lack of interest by either partner or by both and can occur at any age..

Early bedtime?? Not many seniors I know are in bed by 9pm…only those in nursing homes or those who have no other interests. We are rarely in bed before midnight as we have lots of things going on in our lives and some days seem to be too short as there are only 24 hours and we sure could use another 5-6 to do everything we want to do.

Grey hair….hmmmm…..I know of 20 somethings getting grey hair so being “old” has nothing to do with it. Yes, there are mostly seniors out there who have grey hair(s) but again, it is just not old people who have this phenomenon.

Wrinkles….at 64 I have some but they are good wrinkles….caused by laughing, smiling, enjoying life. Furrowed brows and pursed lip lines are not the good kind and only come from taking life too seriously and not enjoying the gifts that are offered to us each and every day.

As older people…64 & 65…we are nowhere near calling it quits on this thing called life. We still turn up the tunes, enjoy our wine, marvel in the fact that we still find each other interested and interesting….and we still dance whenever possible with our favourite being the Horizontal Boogie!

In this world of "thou must be the perfect female" - skinny, young, beautiful, flawless, dominated, disposable....I cringe at the thought how young teenagers are being molded mostly by the media. I am not a feminist by any means nor am I skinny, beautiful, flawless, dominated or disposable...and Hell will freeze over before I am any of those things. I am a female who is educated, independent, intelligent, happy in my own skin, nearing an age where a generation ago would have been thinking about their demise, have plenty of faults but have learned how to cope with them, resourceful, creative with many other qualities that make me an individual who is unique in this crass culture. I used to be quite intimidated by what others I don't give a flying fig. It's only their opinion and they are entitled to it however wrong it may be. I find that others criticize or dislike qualities in others only because they see those same traits in themselves that disgust them to infinite it's easier to lash out at others than to work on changing those loathing flaws from within.

I thought you might appreciate the thoughts of someone who will become a senior by year's end. There are many out there do think that older people are sexless beings who have little or nothing to live for. Life is good and it does get better. Remember when you were little and you thought your Mom was old...and as a teenager, she was really old! change and so does our perspective. Men think that they are still youthful and sexy looking when they have lost their hair, have a beer belly and haven't shaved or bathed in a week.....but are so critical of the external female. Females are so much more complicated and are more beautiful on the inside that their exterior facade can ever exhibit.

At 34, you are not old, not anywhere near 50 you may be approaching a senior's discount, at 65 you can get your Old Age Pension (must have been named by a male) but it is really money the government gives you for being a valuable, aged, experienced person. I was told frequently by my first husband that I was short, fat, ugly and stupid...but I didn't believe it then and I don't believe it now...well the short bit perhaps as I'm only 5'4"...but the rest was hogwash and said only to make himself feel better. If your "friend" wants to call you old it is only because he fears his own fleeting youth. Even if was said in jest, it's a mean comment and words do cut as deeply as a knife.

You are a beautiful person.....I see that from your passionate writings, your perspective of others in pictures, the light in your soul that shines through your eyes. Continue to be who you are, regardless of your chronological age.


Greg said...

Hey Wendy,

Just read your midlife crisis post as well as the posted comment. I agree with the commentor's sentiment that quality of life is not determined by age and would further suggest that to be concerned about growing older is to misjudge and waste the very thing that allows us to make our lives what we want them to be...time.

As a 39 year old cancer patient I have realized that life is simply too short to worry about getting older. When I go, and I am confident it will be many years from now, I plan to be able to look back and reflect on how thoroughly I lived my life and took advantage of the time I was given. I may not have taken advantage of every opportunity or made the right decision every time but I will have lived a full and satisfying life having shown kindness, empathy and understanding to others and enjoyed each day to the greatest extent possible. Worrying about my age will only get in the way of all that.

When I was ill as a youngster someone once said to me "Plan your life as though you will live forever, but live each day as though you will die tomorrow". A little maudlin maybe but good advice I think. I have tried to follow that advice and, I think it has worked out well for me. I have a wonderful wife, terrific friends and family and amazing memories of events, places and people at home and around the world. I look forward to what the rest has to offer. Yes even the bad stuff. At the very least, it provides me with the empathy and understanding I was talking about earlier.

Anyway, you are clearly living a wonderful life as well and I know you didn't go wrong with that husband of yours so don't worry so much about getting older. Maybe just have fun planning the next great thing.

Take care Wendy and say hi to your hubby for me.

Greg said...

Sorry, one more thing.

Flannel pajamas are the best!!