Issue #40, November 2016
Welcome to the November 2016 issue of the Elderwoman Newsletter
- an e-zine for 21st century elderwomen committed to radical aliveness.
View from the Desk
Feature Article - On Turning Eighty
Links/Reports/News/Bits & Pieces
Call for Submissions
VIEW FROM THE DESK
So there really is nothing whatsoever that is intrinsically special about becoming eighty years old.
Except that there is. It may simply be my conditioning, but regardless of what my logical mind says, my eightieth birthday, which happened four months ago, did feel like a big deal. And I couldn't shake the feeling. I still can't. Even though I did absolutely nothing special (because I wanted to spend the day simply experiencing it), turning from seventy-nine to eighty felt so much more significant, somehow, than any of the previous birthdays since my fiftieth. And—weirdly—so much harder to believe.
It is not that my body still feels like the body of a fifty-year-old—it doesn't. It is creaking. My left hip hurts sometimes when I climb stairs, especially if I carry something heavy, and I suspect that osteo-arthritis may be setting in (though right now I am telling myself it is merely bursitis and it will clear up again). My skin is as thin and fragile as tissue paper and takes longer to heal when it gets injured. And my strength and stamina are both noticeably waning, even though I can still walk a few miles and jog a little and even sprint a hundred metres in under thirty seconds on one of my good days. I am more forgetful than I used to be, I'm losing the ability to multitask and I have less tolerance for stress. I'm definitely feeling old.
But time, the physicists tell us, is really a human artefact. It only exists because our brains are wired to experience life in this linear fashion. A human life is like a reel of cine film lying flat in its can on the table. Just as the film only has a time dimension when you run it through a projector, time only exists for us while we are living through our lifetimes. Outside of that, nothing exists but the eternal present, the eternal 'now' moment.
LINKS/REPORTS/NEWS/BITS AND PIECES
Karma Bites Back. An article from the LA Times about how people who have negative stereotypes about ageing are more likely to get Alzheimer's.
We can all be grateful to them. However, it means that those pioneers of my generation who were vocal about these things, and often while the Boomers were still at high school, can sometimes feel a little bit unacknowledged. So Diane says: "I write about what made our generation unique and why our place in history is so important. And how, even though our children dwarfed our numbers, and rolled right over us, we were influential, and some of us still are." Thank you, Diane!
Now some sage advice from Huffington Post columnist Michelle Poston Combs on the subject of What Not to Wear After Age 50: The Final Say. Some excellent advice, I thought. Read it and see if you agree.
*****DIY Support networks for elders.
Together with a group of friends, Sky and I are currently involved in creating our own cohousing community so that we can 'age in place' with a mutually supportive group of like-minded people. This sort of initiative is becoming increasingly common in these days of spread-out families. Here is an interesting article about all the DIY initiatives that elders are taking, in order to create support networks for themselves in their old age.
And finally, here is a video interview with Meg Newhouse, author of the book
A Day Of Thinking or
This Is The Way My Brain May Work On Any Given Day***
Breakfast In Bed
No one in this world
Makes thinner toast,
Better toast, winner toast.
You do not boast.
How have you learned to slice
This near-transparent, indisputably crunchy piece of bliss!
What skill! And modest too!
No one can make such toast as you.
Going In To Thank
Going into different segments of the brain
I thank for life in any of the synapses.
Is there a gratitude partition
Or a separate, section - special one?
I don’t always feel it – just today.
It probably will go away.
I hope it leaves a record.
Deep, deep inside
I’m feeling tired of society.
It’s like, what I imagine to be
What they call depression.
It’s connected to reality; civilization.
There’s the problem -
It’s not me, it’s them!
I ought to put away the TV (I’ve no phone)
Things electronic, dailies, monthlies,
All things histrionic;
The destructive, scandalous and shocking;
All things not-to-be: illusory.
Noel Coward wrote “World Weary” –
A light, song for something serious.
Perhaps that’s it!
There still exist fall hues phantasmagorical:
Food tastes, sweet music, friends amusing, loyal,
Beauty, animals…and still I feel
Despite the goodness,
Deep, deep sadness at the mess.
The Elderwoman Newsletter by Marian Van Eyk McCain, December, 2015
The Elderwoman website: http://www.elderwoman.org
Marian's e-mail: marian(at)elderwoman.org
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(the same as Robin Hood's girlfriend)