Saturday, April 4, 2009

COOL SAGING CONVERSATIONS: Maintenance, Optimism, and Mind Games (MOM-G)

Blowing Up the old Old!

This post is in response to Pop Art Diva’s Saturday Soapbox, “What Does It Being Over 50 Mean to You Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally?”

When a friend of mine retired, he said he realized he had a new job--to take care of himself. For those of us who have been workaholics and boomers who do too much, what a concept! Soon I learned with great hilarity that truer words were never spoken. My variety of “elder” ailments are legion from creaking knees to sensory losses (mostly hearing), and a bunch of annoyances in-between. My memory, once sharp as a tack, feels more like someone tore a few holes in it with a tack.

Still, I am with it enough to realize I forget things more often now. I plan accordingly. I have more methods for remembering (paper, electronic, strings around my finger). I am willing to let go of some perfectionism. And I have conceded that I have to spend at least 30-40% of my time on maintenance, and that’s just how it is—routine doctor’s appointments; buying, organizing, and taking a boatload of supplements; exercise in various forms; and worrying that there may come a day I can no longer do the job of taking care of myself. Will I be as lucky as my second cousin Florence who lived at home till she died at 92?

All of these facts are very humbling and require even larger doses of humor than the funny bone that has gotten me this far in life. My biggest antidote is to stay upbeat and to monitor my influences. No fuddy duddies, no snarky old age jokes, and no one who has anything but an empowered vision of what I call “cool saging.” Losses are difficult. They increase as we go. I keep a close stash of younger friends and relatives. They help me “keep pace.”

Since I believe AARP and the various studies that mind games keep you sharp, I play my favorite word games daily. They let me know when I’m not up to par and sharpen the old mental saw to allow me to continue to be a cut-up.

Cool saging is a decision. Old age is for the birds. Dodo birds! When I see how some severely disabled people still have a great quality of life, I am even more inspired. My husband and I caught Michael J. Fox on Letterman this week talking about his new book, “Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist.” Tim has more health challenges than I do. I went right out and bought the book. If Mike Fox can be happy and funny with Parkinson’s, I’m adopting him as one of my new younger friends to keep up with.

Read these past Cool Saging Conversations:

1 comment:

PopArtDiva said...

You have a great attitude towards the issues of growing "bolder not older" and I admire your tenacious hold on optimism! I tend to struggle with that but I'm learning!

I admire Michael J. Fox along with you. I loved him since he broke on the scene in Family Ties, went blockbuster with the Back to the Future movies and grew up into a major sitcom star on Spin City. How he is handling his disease has just made me admire him all the more for his courage and his humor in the face of his challenge.

Thanks for stopping by the Saturday Soapbox on The PopArtDiva Blog this week!