Tag Archives: aging

Cavity

I wonder if emptiness (of all sorts) is part of growing old. For some people, it is a simple matter of empty nest or retiring from a job or perhaps losing a partner. For others, it is more than that. Having worked near them, I happened to know that the favorite topic of elderly people is discussing who are not around anymore among their peers and family members. The conversation eventually leads and always ends up to the unavoidable examination and exploration of their own mortality and how much time they have left.

Another thing which fascinates me about older people is the interesting phenomenon of seemingly (or actually) falling (madly) in love in their last years of existence. I can tell you with conviction two events which I had observed from close by quite recently. One is about the grandmother of someone who is dear to me. She is well in her eighties already. A no-nonsense woman who doesn’t mince her words, stubborn and argumentative, she is the last person I thought would lose her head over someone who is not only young enough to be her youngest grandson but also sleek and in my eyes fake.

He was her nurse at the beginning but soon escalated to be the center of her universe. His visits were the only thing she was looking forward in her day to day life, so much so that she started cooking dinner for him, buying him gifts, phoning him dozen of times a day, tracking of his whereabouts and she associated his daily tasks of giving her baths with mutual attraction she even bought new sets of lingerie each week and never failed to tell to family members in details how he undressed and held her and how tender and careful he was, how tall, how handsome how kind, you get my drift. 

During family gatherings, she reserved a prominent seat next to her for his apple of the eye she even did it at the “coffee table” after her husband’s funeral to the chagrin of her own children and grandchildren who are by the way opposed and scandalized by her unusual behavior. As it happens, authorities found out that the nurse is guilty of malpractice (together with his mother- talking of apple not falling far from the tree- involving money from his patients) and was sentenced and convicted. Even before it happened and there were already talks of his professional misconducts, she defended his virtue and integrity with her life and she still does even he is proven guilty already. What a love (or obsession) can do.

Another case is my very own mother. When she was alive she fell in love with one of my boyfriends (a very fine example of a tall dark and handsome and a body to die for but for some unknown reasons didn’t work for me) and like the old lady above was thoroughly smitten with the boy in his twenties. She was in her seventies that time, energetic and more alive and more supple than I could ever hope to be. When we broke up my mother cried for two weeks straight and refused to leave her bed. She never cooks again after that and often neglected not only her own personal hygiene and appearance but also of her quarter. I was flabbergasted and still is whenever I think about it.

I wonder if this strange phenomenon is unique only to these two cases I know or happens to most if not everyone and what are the factors, the reasons behind these incidents. It is the void, the cavity, the emptiness of growing old and being alone realizing it is their last chance they are trying to fill or it simply happens? Are they trying to create a focal point in their otherwise bleak existence to brighten their darkening days and have reasons to wake and stand up every morning? A last effort to feel and experience what was to take to their deathbeds? I don’t know. But whatever it is, I hope it will not happen to me. But in this life, you never know… 

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Age

Does age matters? 

Yes, it certainly does.

No matter what others might say or want you to believe.

It matters in all sorts of ways.

I married someone eleven years my junior and my first husband was eleven years older than me. Though it doesn’t/didn’t matter to us it matters to the outside world and to the family. It matters physically in the sense of I/he was approaching middle age and starting to show and feel the telltale signs that belong to that age while he/I was barely out of his/my twenties. It matters psychologically/mentally as well. People constantly evolve and their preferences and mindset are constantly changing through the years. The differences are so apparent sometimes it can’t be ignored. It matters emotionally as well. How people react sometimes is a great deal depends on their age and the level of maturity. So is the way they handle problems and situations. Someone has to take responsibility and often times if not always, it falls to the shoulders of the one who is older and more experienced partner. 

Socially it matters as well. Your circle of friends don’t belong to the same generation and it can pose quite some problems especially in the beginning. Like with my ex-husband for example, I was still in my teens while he was already in his thirties and going out wasn’t a straightforward matter. We didn’t even have the same taste in music. We ended up leading separate lives.

It matters financially too. Not only career wise but the actual earnings as well. You can’t compare a salary of someone who is barely out of school to somebody who is more experienced and already has a long work history behind him. Try to imagine this: Your spouse is already on a pension while you still have a decade or more before you can take yours, or vice versa. I think it is not easy for both dealing with this situation. I have seen problems arise between couples once they reached this stage whereas before they didn’t have any problems at all regarding age differences. 

Deciding to have children when there is more than a generation gap between a couple is another matter to consider. I know someone personally who in his fifties married someone who was still in mid-thirties and had a five-year-old kid. See what I mean? No one wants to be a parent anymore at that advanced age. People might think it’s your grandchild instead. There is nothing wrong with that but going through with that stage (again) when all you want is to be peaceful and relax enjoying the fruit of your hard work instead of waking up in the middle of the night to feed a crying infant or dealing with teenager tantrums and late night escapades. No, thank you.

Age matters. It really does. Especially when the theories put suddenly to practice. And I don’t even talk about balding/thinning hair and sagging skin, gaining weight and declining libido and all that jazz.

So, next time you think/say age doesn’t matter; think again…

Woman_in_the_mirror_by_nereidi2

Faded

I wonder if when Nature’s pen has sketched and lined my face,
Into a survey map reflective of some mountainous place,
With artful shading rendering the passing of each year:
My frame a faded ivory chart of well-explored frontier…

Will you still scale my mountains, will my valleys still amaze,
With all their once new secrets- and will you still spend your days,
Exploring hidden places like each time there is your first,
And dip your mouth into my drying ponds to slake your thirst?

When verdant fields grow sparser with the coming of the frost,
Will you forsake my landscape and despair for what is lost?
Or will you rediscover sheltered on a calm plateau,
My wildflower blooming beneath a blanket of soft snow.

With all the quirks of gravity and shifting sands of time-
I wonder, will I always be your most exciting climb?

~ A Question of Geography by Belladagio

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Fifty

That would be me next year.

An age I thought I will never reach. I still can’t believe it. Is it that long already since I made my first step? There was a time I thought thirty was old. That was when through my naivety and honesty the couple I was working for as a nanny found out that the thirty year old brother of the wife was having an affair with the nineteen year old housemaid.

I needed her for something and came looking for her upstairs. They always disappear there after lunch. Applying lotion on some skin disease they told me. I even heard her shouting sometimes. From the pain I thought. The master bedroom was locked and they didn’t want to open the door even though I was almost close to breaking it down. When they finally admitted me in I saw him on the front of the electric fan sweating and half naked. She was dressed and was sitting on the bed with the bath towel (of the wife) under her looking disheveled and strange.

I think nothing of it. The thoughts that normally accompany such situations were then still unknown to me. I grew up in the middle of nowhere isolated and secluded with only my family around me. Five sisters and one brother- the youngest. My father was hardly around. We had no close friends. I had no one to draw on carnal knowledge and everything surrounding it.

When the couple came home and the wife reached for the towel to take a bath I reacted strongly. When she asked why I said it was dirty. I didn’t know why I said that. Maybe because I believe even then that personal items are personal. If others used them, they automatically become dirty. One thing lead to another and all the hell broke lose. The maid had been sent away and the brother saw me as a replacement or potential victim. But that was for another blog post.

I remember thinking then that thirty was old. He was old. He had no business having sex. I thought when people are that old, they are palliative. Waiting for the inevitable. I realized later that we are all terminal since birth. There is only one sure thing for us sooner or later- the graves. No one can avoid death. Rich poor, ugly beautiful, famous and unknown. We will all die.

I was fifteen then. I will be fifty next year. This Friday I’m going to reach my forty-nine years of walking on this planet. Do I feel old? Emotionally, no. Physically… we will not go there. Too much to talk about.

Woman looking out of window.

Youth

Oh, youth… I envy their youth-ness.

I am not a jealous person but I wish I knew then what I know now. I will take better care of my physical being. I will broaden my horizons even farther, greater. I will wear my mistakes with pride and commit sins more often. I will taste life with more gusto, drink deeply and enjoy with abandon. I will live to the fullest.

Oh, youth… I envy them their future. The amount of time left to do what their hearts desire, to be what they want to be. I envy their courage, their enthusiasm, their energy. Why it is that we realize what matters the most when it’s (almost) already too late?

Oh, youth… I envy their smooth skin, tight little bodies and radiant smiles. I envy their ability to process everything quickly, to absorb and learn naturally. I envy their carelessness and total abandonment. The nonchalant manner they deal with the world. Their confidence and dreams.

I wish I can bring back the time.

I wish I can be young again.

 

Woman_in_the_mirror_by_nereidi2

WHY WOMEN SHOULDN’T FEAR MENOPAUSE

Every age can be enchanting, provided you live within it.
– Brigitte Bardot

Can a woman still find love in her fifties or sixties? Does age determine what path shall we take in our lives or is it as said just a number? Should women fear the menopause or should they on the contrary embrace it? When do you think life ends, when you stop breathing or when you stop having a dream for which you would long to breathe?

All these questions and more cross my mind almost daily and I know that their answers differ from one woman to another, certainly that’s what I see at least from women I encounter, and I as well see how women’s lives change majorly from one to another according to those beliefs and from the different experiences one have seen I’ve managed to compose my own answers that led me to one thing, we, women, should never fear menopause, at least don’t give it more than it deserves. Read the rest of the article here.

Here is another helpful article on beating menopausal weight gain. I like how the author make the topic short, simple and relatable.

When you’re stressed, you release the stress hormone cortisol, which puts the body into an emergency mode and it holds onto fat for dear life!

Do check it out. It is worthy of your time.

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Art: Svyatogor_Masha-04

Things to Look Forward to About Growing Older

Ego

I watch myself getting uglier and uglier with each passing day, and I am not even beautiful to begin with.

The other day I tried to photoshop one of my pictures, I don’t like the result. It didn’t look right. Devoid of all the imperfections and the tell-tale signs of the passing of time, it wasn’t me anymore. So, I restored the photograph to its original state. I rather be ugly than be someone else. 

Photography by Nigel Tomm

Empty Nest

My nest has been empty for over ten years now. Before that I’ve been away from the nest most of the time. The chicks had grown big without me having to do with it. I used to feel guilty about that. Not anymore.

Now, sitting on the loo with the midday sun beating down on my back (I kind of like it. A luxury. My own infrared sauna right there in the toilet) I suddenly feel alone and lonely. Too much freedom and nothing to do. Nothing new I mean. Will I take up bungee jumping again? I can join one of those women’s (auxiliary) clubs and learn flower arranging while soaking up the latest gossips. But I can arrange flowers and I care nothing much about women. I have nothing in common with them (aside from the love for  shoes, and there is nothing much to go on from there) and men…

I still get looks from those who could be my grandchildren. Okay, I probably exaggerating but in any way younger than my children. Creepy. I should have been taller so, I look older not looking like an aging Pia Zadora or Sally Field. 

But I like men. I love hanging out with them. They are less complicated and more honest. They play open cards. No bitchiness and no jealousy. The only problem is: they don’t get much the idea of friendship between opposite sex. Sooner or later, they will try to elevate the relationship into something more complex. I don’t like that.

Back to empty nest again. 

I never thought there will come a time that I will long for company. Me who love solitude, quiet and peace. Me who is happy being alone and free. They say people tend to mellow when they age. That must be it. I’m mellowing. Sucks!

washing

Inevitable

When I was young I thought that thirty is the end of your life. You cannot possibly want something more when you reached that number. You’re old, finished, done with; the only thing left to do is to wait for the inevitable. When I was young, I thought thirty is palliative. Literally.

Now that I am fast approaching the afternoon of my life, I found out (in a hard way) that you never stop feeling simply because you get older. Years don’t diminish the desire to be loved, to be wanted to feel beautiful; it doesn’t take away the urge to feel connected and the longing for intimacy. The only difference is you want quality instead of quantity. Taste improves with years of experience. Preferences change. You can compare and know what’s best; you know exactly what you want.

Funny thing is (not that I am in that situation already, but I know it will come, another one of those inevitable) beggars cannot be choosy (and so they say) the offers are a lot less than when you are in your prime. Magazines are full of articles that say women in their 40’s onwards are invisible. Must be or otherwise, the titles won’t say: “How to still get noticed when you reached a certain age.” Or “How to turn back the years and get attention again.” Things like that. Very depressing. As if the only way to regain your rightful place in the hunting ground (or in any field for that matter) is to possess a magic wand and let those accumulated years and its consequences disappear and be young again (no wonder cosmetics surgery is a booming business) which is impossible. No amount of power and money can turn back the time.

But enough of that. Let’s concentrate with what matters and that is: getting old in a relationship that saddled you with desires that can never be fulfilled, expectations that can never be met, longings that can never be satisfied, an emptiness that keeps getting bigger and bigger each day it is threatening to swallow you up. Another inevitable? The fact that no one can live like a ghost albeit your former self. The amount of nothing is nothing and sooner or later you will look for what you need elsewhere. Maybe you will never find it but it is better to try and fail than just sit there and wait for something to happen…

stock-footage-dominoes-falling-down-in-slow-motion

 

My Lovely

Peering into the looking glass searching for you my lovely

Oh, where have you gone my sweet?  Are you hiding from me?

I long to see you again, come back, stay! Be with me till my dying day!

Remember the times when we were fearless and merry

Together we dazzled, we captured, we conquered!

Now, you’re gone, they stole you from me.

 

You time, you’re the culprit you’re the thief!

How dare you take my lovely away from me!

Bring her back! Bring her back I need her by my side!

Like the flowers need the sun, the rain, the wind!

I’m lost without her, without her fragile beauty, I’m lost!

See this old woman shriveling? Time I beg you, take pity.

 

How I wish to be with you my lovely, how I wish

To be smooth and crinkled free this old hag face

To be daring and full of life like the olden days

To dance in the rain, to smile at the sun to sing and sing and sing…

But the twilight has come it’s just around the corner

Time to say goodbye to you my lovely, my sweet I know

My heart’s desire cannot be fulfilled I can’t be young again…

 

Time, you’re cruel and unkind…

Farewell my lovely…

 (An ode to youth)

Woman_in_the_mirror_by_nereidi2

Forever

I used to be more impulsive. I do things in spur of the moment and never care what happened next. I was known to put all on the line for the things I would like to do. I can lose everything, it never bothers me. At least, I’ve had the experience. Those people who know me can only watch in disbelief. Once upon a time, I used to be… daring.

It’s different lately. Before I even consider making a decision, I would lay awake whole night worrying and fretting; only to stand up the next day without reaching to any conclusion what is the best to do.  Lately, I am not so sure anymore about anything.

And I hate it! I hardly recognize myself these days. Where is the sassy, confident, let-the-devil-may-care, adventurous, funny, happy-go-lucky- brave girl I used to know?

Gone! Creeping in is this unknown middle aged insecure, over-sensitive, ghostly individual who worries about anything and everything. Hateful!

Without me even knowing where (the hell) it’s coming from; thoughts of: what if he leaves me – find someone younger – the gravity is winning – house fire – traffic accident – robbery – homicide – bankruptcy – wheelchair – what he will do when I am gone – so many strangers – bills to pay –  family to kill – are populating what’s left of my brain.

Now, why these thoughts are spooking me? They were none of my concern? A long, long time ago; I used to be ALIVE! I could feel current in the air, electricity between people, hear the plants talk; smell the earth and beyond! Now, I am just…Dead!

Where is the tingling feeling? The anticipation? The power of attraction? The glorious excitement! The warm, sensuous expectation of something new! I miss those lazy moments of feeling fulfilled, content, seduced and belong!

Forgotten hilarious situations, naughty playfulness, strong desires and sweet innocence!  Those where the days! Where are they now? What happened? I cannot understand! Why am I changing? What is happening to me?

When I mentioned these to my daughter (between her goings to the fridge to check for something to eat (again) in her room she looked at me with poor-woman- she’s- in- denial-phase- looks on her face and said matter-of-factly:

“Mama, it’s called getting old.”

Old Mirror Standing Against Wall