Some thoughts on aging

The lovely Helen Mirren

My mother often yelled at the TV, especially regarding older actors/actresses. “Boy they look old!” Or “What happened to them? They used to be handsome/gorgeous!” It was baffling to me because they were her age. Contemporaries. They didn’t look any older than she did. Did she know that or was she living in a time bubble? I wondered if I would be like that.

In some ways I am. I know who my contemporaries are. I notice how they age. They are just like the rest of us. Some age better than others. One of my favorites is Helen Mirren. We are close in age and she is beautiful with wrinkles and a kick ass attitude. (The important part is the kick ass attitude!) Then there is Cher. Wish I had her energy!

There are a lot of other things about aging that bother me more. Less energy is a big one. Lack of interest is another. I have scaled back on gardening because of both. I still have my tomato plants. My home-grown tomatoes cost $25 a pound. (If you want to know why they cost that much you will have to go here!)

I’m much more affected by the weather now. When I worked I saw less of it. It’s as simple as that. I drove to work and was encapsulated in a building until early evening. I missed the hottest or coldest part of the day and sometimes the nicest. If I was lucky I would catch a beautiful sunset. Now I get to enjoy every minute, some not as wonderful weather-wise as others but I get to enjoy the perfect days too.

There is an upside. I appreciate the small things more. I have been drinking Starbucks for a long time. When I worked I didn’t have the time to savor it the way I do now. The moment that mocha touches my tongue it’s magic.

Life is a series of tradeoffs. Focus on enjoying what you have now. No point in mourning what’s gone or worrying about what’s coming. You have no control. (Believe me I’ve tried working with those weather gods! Useless trollops!)

I recently saw an interview with Roseanne Barr. (There is a rebooting of the old Roseanne show coming up.) She said she wanted to do the show but she couldn’t stand the constant confrontation and fighting with the studio. She was too old for that. I get that. I look back at my life and I’m amazed. I didn’t run from confrontation then but now I will sneak out the back door and head to Starbucks if I think there is a chance it’s going to happen!

Does aging surprise you?

97 thoughts on “Some thoughts on aging

  1. Aging has surprised me in many ways, I suppose because I never thought about what limitations it might bring. Maybe limitations is the wrong word to use. I can still do all or most of the things I’ve done but not in the way I used to, or prefer to do it. I don’t ever want to lose my enthusiasm for the things I’ve always enjoyed doing but there have been glimpses of that and it bothers me. I think it’s important to never stop doing, whether it’s exercise, hobbies, travel, whatever floats your boat. Because it’s easy to stop, it’s easy to fall into a sedimentary lifestyle or make excuses about why we can’t or shouldn’t do things. We just can’t stop moving.

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  2. I really enjoyed your thoughts, Kate, and they resonate. I had a birthday this week, and it shocked me how quickly it sneaked up on me! I thought I just had one of those! I try to refine the balancing act between acceptance that age brings changes, both good and not so great, with not using age as an excuse. I want to just accept every day for what it brings. I have days of more energy than I know what to do with and perhaps the very next day I don’t want to do a thing! I really focus mostly on preserving my good health–at least the extent that I have any control over that! I definitely want to age with a good attitude!

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  3. Aging surprises me every dang day! Especially more aware of it here in Florida… I see where aging takes you. Of course, we are youngsters here… 😉 Ha! Back went out Wednesday morning, but I am bouncing BACK faster than usual. This post is a thought provoker and a smile producer… always find the comments a very good read! Good Morning, Kate!

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  4. I remember how excited I used to be to open a publication and see my name in print. I would stay up until the wee hours of the morning writing my heart out and submitting material to editors. Now that I’m older, I’m contented with posting a blog article once in a while, and falling asleep before bedtime with a cat on my lap. (or four or five cats on my lap) The aches and pains of age are an inconvenience, but the contentment it has brought me was a good trade off.

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    • That is pretty cool. When I started my blog I submitted some articles for publication. I ran into specific required parameters — something you overcame or a mentor in your life. I wanted to write funny articles about everyday happenings. I submitted what I consider one of my favorite pieces about pilling cats to several and no one picked it up. Alas, I have no patience so I stopped submitting. The gratification I get from my blog is amazing and I don’t have to write in a box! Here is the link to the pilling escapade https://coffeekatblog.com/2013/05/20/one-hell-of-a-week-for-animal-lovers/

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      • I thought your article was hysterical. You’re a fantastic writer, Kate, don’t let anyone tell you differently.
        I once clamped Grenny’s mouth shut and held her, clawing and fighting, for five minutes, only to have her give me the evil eye and spit the pill back out at me.
        With editors you kind of need to develop a thick skin. Sometimes they don’t even bother to read your material. They just look at the subject matter and stuff a form rejection letter in your return envelope. If they bother to reply at all. I miss the occasional paycheck I would get with freelancing, but I sure don’t miss the rejection letters.

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        • Thanks! I thought it would be an “inspirational” article for a cat magazine. I had another one where I needed a urine sample from my old boy cat Jake. He routinely peed on my hand when the deli cup I held under his butt bumped the goods. He also called me Cupcake. Seriously good stuff. My readers loved it.

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  5. Oh yes – it surprises me. I still feel in many ways like I am 35 (wiser now though, I think 😉 ) but my body just doesn’t want to cooperate. The one thing I keep front and centre is that I have to enjoy today because tomorrow I will be a little older and something else might not work.:)

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  6. Cher and Helen Mirren are amazing, aren’t they? Mirren somehow is able to look her age and still look great.

    I think I’m more affected by the weather because my internal air conditioning doesn’t work as well as it used to.

    You sound like a wise woman: “Life is a series of tradeoffs. Focus on enjoying what you have now. No point in mourning what’s gone or worrying about what’s coming.” You’re absolutely right!

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  7. I think I’m OK with aging (at least so far). I’m not too critical when I look in the mirror but I refuse to take a selfie because they age me at least 20 years (yes, I know it probably reflects what I actually look like but I prefer to remain in denial). As far as those celebrities who look good, most of them have had extensive work. Unfortunately, not all look better because of it. Like you, I prefer Helen Mirren.

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  8. This is absolutely the best time of my life. I am free of all obligations to other people. I can do what I want when I want. Yes, there are plenty of down sides to being chronologically old, but I don’t let that get to me. I look forward to every day. If things change, I’ll deal with it then!

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  9. I’m okay with aging. The only thing that bothers me is that I get tired, really tired and now I must have eight hours of sleep…ten is best. I try not to think about what will happen if I can’t take care of myself…my plan is to drop dead before that happens. Other than that all is well with this old woman.

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  10. Hi, Kate – I have the opposite reaction of your Mother’s.. Michelle Pfeiffer, Sharon Stone, Ellen DeGeneres and Angela Basset were all born the same year that I was. Even with ‘work’ and ‘trainers’ (etc, etc.), when I see them on TV, I shout back and say “Damn, how do they do that?” 🙂

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  11. Great, thoughtful post. My dad was similar to your mother in being a little critical of celebrities who weren’t aging to his specific desires. I suspect I’m probably going to follow the same path because each time I see a picture of Paul McCartney I start thinking, “Paul, stop with all the work already, just look your age please!” Keep enjoying those latte’s, Kate! – Marty

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  12. yes, how I have aches and pains and just live with them, lol. years ago, when something hurt, I complained and wanted relief! The body has many limitations, but as long as I can keep moving, I do. 🙂

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  13. For you it was Helen. For me, it was listening to Paul McCartney – there are some things you just can’t “unhear,” and now I need to shove a stick in my ear! And the other day, Burt Reynolds was on the Today Show. Damn! He is certainly not the Bandit anymore! When did this happen! But I do agree with you that in aging, I am far more appreciative of nearly everything around me! ~ Lynn

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  14. Some days I feel 100…other days maybe 50 🙂 We keep telling our kids that when it is time they can pay us back for all the help we’ve been to them. My mom is 94 and still going strong so I am hoping that I’ve got a while to go.

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  15. Timely post! I have a draft half finished about aging. What I worry about most is who will take care of me when I’m too old to take care of myself. I asked H that very question last week and he told me he didn’t want to talk about that and said I was dwelling on the negative. I like to have my ducks in a row. He thinks he’s invincible!

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    • A suggestion! Next time you get the “I don’t want to talk about it right now” routine, ask when he would like to talk about it. He IS going to get old, and is quite likely to need assistance so … what would he like you to do with him? Dump him on the street somewhere? Put him in the cheapest care facility you can find so that you can enjoy the rest of your life in comparative comfort?? 🙂

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      • I think he’s planning on me taking care of him because I’m younger! I tell him he better be nice because I may be the one to take care of him. I’ve already given him a list of what I will and will not do in that case…

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        • About 20 years ago my best friend had two very critical life-threatening surgeries back-to-back. She gave me power of attorney as she would be out of commission for a long while. In addition to paying her bills I had to make medical decisions. Fortunately it never came to that but the concept was scary. She had a very elderly mother who she did not want to burden. I told her up front that there was no way I could tell her mother that I pulled the plug on her! Having some plans in place are good.

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  16. I hope I’m doing as well as you when I get to your age, because I already have a lack of energy and I’m “double nickels.” Just the thought of going to a gym (like you do) makes me breathe heavy. My only exercise is walking the dog. We power walk, but in the winter, that scales back quite a bit. Oh yeah, I do yoga every morning, but that’s not really exercise. It’s just stretching to get my aching joints moving.

    I really don’t mind the wrinkles. It’s the saggy neck (and saggy parts south) that annoy me.

    Your post reminded me of one I did a while back. It’s one I found inspirational about aging. I need to read it every now and then to inspire myself when I get down about it.
    https://loreezlane.wordpress.com/2017/04/11/brinkley-or-bust/

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    • I read your post. It is indeed very hard not to judge when you see something. I don’t know if I could do it. All judging isn’t negative but an acknowledgment that time has moved on. I recently saw an old album cover of the Eagles, one of my all-time favorite bands. I couldn’t help exclaiming that they all looked so young. It wasn’t judgmental that they don’t look good now but more a reference to another time and some treasured memories. I sometimes think that was my mother’s meaning. It’s wasn’t an expression of someone looking old but rather an inward looking “am I old?” Everyone ages differently. I don’t have bone/muscles aches and pains so I’m more active but I don’t travel well. I look at people older than me who travel the world. As long as we are each happy with where we are now (ok, we can complain about rooster necks) we’re good. Comparisons can be a downfall. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

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  17. Funny, I’m the opposite way now. I used to be more of a pushover, but now I stand up for myself and won’t take any sh!t from anyone. I think my feminist tendencies took a while to root, but now… I’m kickass.

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  18. Helen Mirren is indeed amazing.
    As for the age thing, I tire more easily, my get up and go left the stage yonks ago, I can’t remember things, and I ache. The thing that concerns me most I think is losing my teeth. False nashers have never appealed, and I do like a good chew!

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  19. This is a very timely post, Kate, given that aging has been on my mind the past few days.

    I’m not one who tends to dwell too long on the rearview mirror – I try to keep foraging ahead rather than revisiting the past – but I just celebrated a birthday this past weekend.

    My sister posted a photo of me on FB from my 20s. It was a particularly flattering photo and it had the opposite effect than I think she intended. It depressed me because I felt the weight of all I had lost over the decades.

    That look backwards was counterproductive and now I have to refocus on looking forward again. I prefer to believe that I still have many glory days ahead of me, even if aging is slowing me down and I’m wearing my years 🙂

    Ironically, while I’m lumpier and wrinkled compared to my younger version, I am now much more comfortable in who I am.

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  20. I never expected to live this long! The fact is, I didn’t think about aging. Since it happens one day at a time, I’m not going to dwell on it now. I recognize some of my classmates from recent photos and wonder if they would know me.

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  21. Does aging surprise me? I am in constant shock. I told a friend I was trying to be a second Irma Bombeck and she said, “And who is that?” I asked my beautician for a DA haircut and she asked, “What is that? The question is who and what am I if nobody knows from whence I came?

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  22. I love the part of aging that makes one wiser. I don’t like the part that makes me so sensitive to cold. My toes and fingers don’t do so well when the temperature drops! And music. I’ve become the grumpy adult who complains about youth’s music.

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    • You are not alone. I like some of the contemporary music but a lot of it sound alike. (My mother said the same thing.) I often listen to oldies stations and rock to the old tunes. (Like my mother did with the music of her youth.) I don’t like cold but I get hot now too. My comfortable temperature range has shrunk. The worst of all worlds.

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  23. Short of recognizing that “the body” is changing in many ways, I do not consider aging to be much of a problem. Of course I am surprised at the evidence of aging in celebs from the 60’s, and feel odd when a 1946 vintage person moves on to their next great adventure. I must be from a different1946, and perhaps my bathroom mirror is very condescending. Aging? It’s nothing that regular Advil, a delusional perspective, and a routine Scotch cannot cure! 🙂

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