Getting Old Stinks

Part of my inspiration for posting this today is the blog post from Osiris Ramos (http://osirisramos.wordpress.com/): I Would Like to be Old (posted 8-23-12).

A chat with Mom

I started writing this post a few days ago after speaking with Mom. In fact the title of this post is a direct quote from her.

Defeat

Although I’m not as old as my mother, I know what she means. The physical problems that come with age are not negligible. Some are lucky and maintain most of their physical and mental capabilities, but there are many who are defeated by their declining health.  I would guess that the average age of a person living in my mother’s complex is about 85. A significant percentage of them are in fragile health

Emotions

It takes a great amount of effort and strength to remain upbeat in a homogeneous environment where most of the residents are isolated, whose loved ones are not involved and where loneliness is probably rampant. A scene in 12 Angry Men illustrates another result of family disconnect. Lee J. Cobb, the angriest of the twelve, breaks down and rips up a picture of his son. He said, “You work your whole life…” breaks down in sobs. The anger at his isolation from his son seems to have taken over his life.

Visiting

My wife and I had the pleasure of visiting my mother and spending time with her where she currently lives. The campus of this independent living center is quite stunning. The grounds are kept up; beautiful trees and flowers abound. It is a bit isolated, but there is transportation available to go shopping and cultural programs such as musical performances, lectures and discussions that take place on the campus. Mom met some very good bridge players and enjoys playing at any opportunity. She is a very good player and is improving all the time.

Who would want to be old?

I see the point of Osiris’s posting ‘I Would Like to be Old’. Looking back on fond memories from vantage point of age is very enticing – a romantic notion. I agree with Osiris: the one who said that youth is a bed of roses was probably thinking of the thorns. I, for one, would not want to live through youth a second time.

Middle aged

I am at the point in my life that some call “the youth of old age”. Let me put it this way: in the Jewish tradition, the saying goes, “may you live until 120”. The Torah says, “Moses was 120 years old when he died” (Deuteronomy 34:7). If the saying holds true for me, I’m merely middle aged.

Young for a very long time

I don’t think of myself as old, even though in some movies, people even younger than me are looked upon that way. “Man, did you see that old dude? He’s probably 50 or something.” Ouch! I think of myself as being young for a really, really long time. It does take some adjustment. The temporal landmarks change. When I was growing up, everyone remembered where he or she was when JFK was shot. Now it’s, “Who’s JFK?”

The point?

Keep your friends close and your family closer. Hopefully, when we move closer to Mom and get to visit more often, she won’t think that getting old stinks as much.

12 thoughts on “Getting Old Stinks

  1. I think age is an issue no matter what age you are, it’s just part and parcel of the society we live in and the ridiculous obsession with placing a numerical value on everything. I wrote a pithy post about it some time ago now. Unfortunately it creates a climate of almost permanent discontent for many who strive to compete with a ludicrous notion. As people we ought to be content with who we are at any given point of our lives, and not feel as though we are participants in a never ending race where each contestant is not necessarily running in the same direction, but still aspiring to win that illusive invisible prize, whatever that is!
    Great post Jack, don’t write yourself off just yet 😉

    Maria

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    • Thanks, Maria. I haven’t written myself off, and I surely am grateful for being in good health. I enjoy looking back on good memories and trying to figure out the others – hence my fixation on journals, etc.
      Not to change the subject, but now that you mention it, the problem is how people (read hiring managers) view people my age. They are the writer-offers. Not that this was the thrust of my blog post, but the fact is that many people my age still have a lot to offer. It is so weird when you realize that you are being dissed because of your age.

      Best,

      Jack

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      • That’s good to hear. But I also hear your plight, it doesn’t take too much of a hike in age before you are perceived, or at least perceive yourself as being ‘older’ than the more employable section of society, ie the younger ones!
        It is a state of mind though, and I find that a healthy attitude generally leads to success regardless of age. And you my friend have an incredibly healthy attitude. I think it just puts your nose out of joint a little when you realised you’re not part of that up and coming younger set anymore. It’s all relative anyway 🙂

        Regards
        M

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        • Thank you, Maria. I’m glad that I decided to move on after four years of looking for work and start blogging, which was the ultimate work I was looking for anyway. I’d love to say, “it’s a living,” but… maybe some day.

          I love your comments, M.

          Best,

          J

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          • You should know by now that when I have something to say, I say it 😉

            Being a published writer for me has been a life-long ambition, so like you blogging for me is a bit of a godsend, but as you say, now to make a living from it. Or at least let it be a spring-board to something that I can make a living from. Either way, I’m here to stay as I hope are you.

            Regards
            M

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            • I hope so, Maria. Here to stay, that is. I had a photo essay published, but would like to publish my photo memoir. Am thinking of combining with factual history of psychiatry that was ongoing contemporaneously with my growing up time.

              Would welcome any hints about getting into print.

              As always, best wishes,

              Jack

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              • I hear Amazon is a good outlet for self-publishers, particularly if you produced it first as an e-book. Just a case then of doing all the marketing. At least it’s a very good way of testing the ground before getting into paper print if that’s what you’re after. But the WP blogging platform and other social networks are a good way of publicising your work on a more wide scale. I know from trying to build a business online over the past year that it takes a lot of leg-work to make a name for yourself and get people viewing your product/s. You know for yourself how long it has taken to establish a regular following on WP, it’s much the same system. You will get out of it what you put in, in simple terms. It’s worth reading up on how to produce an e-book. Something I should probably do too!

                Your project sounds fascinating, and you certainly have a way with words that keeps me engaged at least, and doubtless many others besides.
                I shall be intrigued to know how you get on.

                Regards
                M

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                • Thanks, Maria.

                  I already have the photo memoir in various file formats. I want to look around for a self publishing format that would do justice to my photos, without it costing too much.

                  I’ve been told that memoirs are a dime a dozen, which is why I want to add some non-memoir-ish material, to put it in a different category.

                  If you like, I can send you PDFs of the work. You can send me your email to davisbrotherlylove(at)gmail(dot)com, if you like.

                  Thanks again.

                  Jack

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  2. Jack…Thanks so much for giving credit to my post and making it useful, your blog it’s been really great lately and your photos are…how can i say? deeply touching. Last week I took a break from the internet, it was so nice to come back and read your comment…I feel that geting old is a luck and a luxury to have the people that you love still next to you,life is what it is and It is all we have. Stay in touch, this is my email osirisra1@hotmail.com. Thanks Again!

    Like

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