Posts Tagged ‘aging’

Too Many to Count

If you saw a Bald Eagle when it was only two years old, you would see a ratty-looing bird with no white head. It takes these birds of prey four years to gain their magnificence. If all goes as expected, it takes many more years for humans to become their best selves, I believe. — Sketch by Pat Bean

What am I now that I was then is a line from Delmore Schwartz’s poem, “Calmly We Now Walk Through This April’s Day.”  The words sent my brain working overtime to answer the question.

I am not the same person I was over half a life ago, so much so I tell friends today they wouldn’t have liked me back then, when I was insecure, took things too personally, tried too hard to please everyone, cried too much, was searching for love while ignoring the love I had all around me, and thought of myself as two Pat Beans, one dull and following all the rules while the second one was learning to color outside the lines.

When I did the latter, I would say to myself, often aloud, Pat Bean doesn’t do that. It took a 16-day rafting trip, when I was in my 50s, on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon where nothing that was important in the outside world mattered, for the two Pat Beans to merge.

The one Pat Bean that stepped off the raft at the end of the adventure was both a stronger and a weaker person. She, at least I like to think, was a more likeable person because she was comfortable with her faults, didn’t have to prove she was perfect, and finally bold enough to accept and use her strengths.

But even that Pat Bean is not the same today, or even the day after. It seems each action, each book read, each new thought, each new experience, whether good or bad, changes me. I think that’s how life is supposed to be.

What do you think?

Bean Pat: You can read or listen to Delmore Schwartz’s poem here. https://www.poetryoutloud.org/poem/calmly-we-walk-through-this-aprils-day/

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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Morning Thoughts

When Scmp gets bored, he looks for things to shred. This morning it was two bookmarks. At least he doesn’t eat the pieces, and I get plenty of exercise picking up after him. — Photo by Pat Bean

With a cup of cream-laced coffee in hand, and my canine companion Scamp squeezed into my recliner with me, I continued my morning perusal of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotes, the first edition of which was published 165 years ago. Just for fun, I’ve been reading a couple pages a day of the old book.

It’s arranged chronologically and I’ve only gotten up to the 300 B.C.s. This morning’s reading included words by the

Theocritus — Wikimedia photo

Greek poet Theocritus’ His thoughts echoed in my own mind, speaking to an old broad who has finally slowed down and longs for peace in her life — which given the chaos in the world has been difficult to achieve.

Wrote Theocritus: “Sweet is the whispering music of yonder pine that sings. Our concern be peace of mind: some old

crone let us seek. To spit on us for luck and keep unlovely things afar. Cicala to cicala, and ant to ant, And kestrels dear to kestrels, but to me the Muse and song.

“The frog’s life is most jolly, my lads; he has no care … Who shall fill up his cup; for he has drink to spare … Verily, great grace may go. With a little gift; and precious are all things that come from friends.”

I thought it interesting that on the same page, Bion, another Greek poet, also mentioned frogs: “Though boys throw stones at frogs in sport, the frogs do not die in sport, but in earnest.” A good point to ponder, I think.

And now I’ll go put up Bartlett until tomorrow morning, and go walk Scamp, He has been looking at me with injured eyes because I have been ignoring him.

I wonder if Theocritus and Bion ever used a dog as an analogy in their writings?”

Bean Pat: Never Assume https://forestgardenblog.wordpress.com/2020/02/23/sunday-dinner-never-assume/ My thoughts exactly.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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A Change in Views

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change,” – Wayne Dyer

Oh, My Aching Back

In case you noticed my absence the past couple of weeks, I didn’t disappear into one of those new black holes scientists are discovering. I simply changed apartments. I moved from a third-floor, bottom of the hill apartment to a third-floor top of the hill apartment that is a bit bigger and a lot brighter.

Scamp helped in the move by tearing up paper and boxes use in the move. Once he located his toy box, he settled right in.

My poor aching back has come to appreciate the saying that aging isn’t for wimps. Now my poor aching back is telling me that moving isn’t a good idea for old broads with weak backs, even if they let someone else do all the heavy lifting – which I mostly did,

But I love my new place, and the views. Both my front and back balconies have trees close enough to make me feel as if I’m living in a tree house. And since I have a corner apartment, I also have two large windows that get the mid-morning sun. And, unlike most of my friend, I’m a person who loves change.

I had lived in my old apartment for seven years, which for me and my itchy feet seems like an eternity. I was ready for a change, and this one, while only a tiny move, gave me that. And my new location even comes with free wi-fi, a big savings for my fixed income.

After days of packing, then unpacking, I’m finally ready to get back to more writing and reading. As for my poor back, it’s going to get a steroid injection Monday.

Bean Pat: https://pinolaphoto.com/2019/12/18/a-quiet-morning-at-prophetstown-state-park/ The photo in Dave’s blog brought back the week I camped at Prophetstown State Park in Battle Ground, Indiana, where I also howled with wolves at Wolf Park. Dave’s photography blog has gotten him out and about now for eight years. Thanks for the good memories, Dave.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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I was in my 40s when I got hooked on white water rafting, a passion that I indulged in for the next 25 years. I also learned to ski in my 40s. — Photo by Pat Bean

          Live now; make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again.” Jean-Luc Picard, from the episode “Inner Light”

A Page from My Journals

One of the eye-openers of rereading my journals is the footnotes I sometimes want to add to the bottom of a page when I come across an entry that has a new, or expanded meaning in my shifting brain.

I had quite a few boyfriends beginning in my 40s, even married one of them — for eight months. We parted friends. When Willie and Julio sing about all the girls they’ve loved before, I think of all the boys I’m glad came along. 

For example, on May 9, 1998, I quoted Katharine Butler Hathaway, whose memoir, The Little Locksmith, was first published in 1943, and then reprinted in 2000 by The Feminist Press. Though disabled, Katharine made a full life for herself.

Wrote Katharine: “It is only by following your deepest instinct that you can lead a rich life … if you let your fear of consequence prevent you from following your deepest instinct then your life will be safe, expedient, and thin.”

My 1998 response to the quote was to recall a Star Trek episode in which Picard realized it was his foolish youth that gave him the necessary confidence to be the captain of the Enterprise.

Thinking back now I realize that it was my own wild 40s, when I was truly on my own for the first time in my life, that was my version of a foolish youth. I don’t think I would be the happy, confident, satisfied, old-broad I am today without those years. And I kinda like this old broad. Whatever it is, my life is not thin.

     Bean Pat: I recently got hooked on this site: poem-a-day@poets.org A poem comes to my email every day in both type and audio form. I listen to the audio. It’s a great way to get my brain juices rolling in the morning.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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          “I woke up today with a challenging bump. Whom do I trust? Is it Bannon or Trump? … Should I stick with The Times, for reliable views, or is Twitter the place to keep up with the news … I had no reply, so went back to my sleep. To hell with it all. It will keep, it will keep.” – Day 178, Jan Morris at the age of 92.

Jam Morris’ daily thoughts often had a bit of squirreliness about them. Have you ever watched a squirrel running from here to there? They’re fun to watch — and Jan’s words were fun to read, sometimes serious,  full of unanswered questions, and often laugh-provoking. Life can be thoughtful and fun at any age. — Photo by Pat Bean

In My Mind’s Eye by Jan Morris

          Sadly, this morning I finished reading Jan Morris’ book of daily thoughts, In My Mind’s Eye. It ends on Day 188 – but I wanted it to go on forever. I’ve enjoyed her books for years – she has written over 40, mostly travel and history genres. This book, however, is about the journey of aging, a trip that I am now taking.

Jan Morris, who lives and writes these days from her home in Wales.

Since Morris has 13 years on me, I figured she had lots to teach me about the route. I was right. We both regret what the years have done to our bodies but like having this late time in life to reflect forward and backward.

While I’m blessed to be in good health for my age, I do suffer a bit from back pain that has considerably slowed me down.

Thinking about it last week, I cried after finally accepting that I would never again be able to take day-long hikes. But self-pity says Morris — and I agree. – is not attractive. So, like her, I tell myself: “Oh do shut up!”

Morris and I also agree that kindness is the most important of attributes, and preaching it is, at our ages, the best we have to offer the world in this time of chaos.

Writes Morris about kindness: “…it is the ultimate virtue, embracing all others, understood by everyone, recognized by most religions and a pleasure to practice.”

I’m so going to miss my morning thoughts with Morris.

Bean Pat: Viewpoints https://forestgardenblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/20/sunday-dinner-viewpoint/#like-27331 Photos with quotes to match. I loved this.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” — Friedrich Nietsche

I was trying to come up with a name for this recent watercolor and all I could think of was “Happy Poppies.” I asked my friend, Jean, what she would name the painting, and she came up with “Poppies ,Poppies,” and invoked a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” Our two minds certainly aren’t on the same page. — Watercolor by Pat Bean

Time Changed the Lens in my Eyes

How each of us views life is colored by a unique perspective – our own. Truth is usually somewhere in the middle. I first began to see this years ago when I compared how different reporters covered the same event, and then by listening to my adult children render five different accounts of the same event – or if I added in my two cents, six different accounts.

Eyewitnesses of events can vary so greatly they sound like two different happenings. For example, when I was an environmental reporter, I might lead my story about a speech by a lumber industry spokesman by using his quote: “A tree can produce enough oxygen to keep five or more people alive for a year.” But the paper’s business reporter’s lead would more likely quote him saying: “Logging is the lifeblood of hundreds of small communities; stop cutting trees and people will starve or turn to welfare.”

An art teacher once told me to set out to paint a bad painting as an exercise to free my anxiety. Well, this one fits that description. I was not happy at all with how this yellow-crowned night heron turned out. Life is like that. You win some and lose some.

Both of us are accurately quoting the speaker, but the reader is likely to only like, or even believe, the story that bends in his or her direction. The polarity of politics today certainly supports this conclusion.

But I also got to thinking about how this dichotomy even works as we age while reading Mary Karr’s book, The Art of Memoir. “Getting used to who you are is a lifelong spiritual struggle,” she explained while talking about how age can change how we look at our own pasts.

Susan Branch, author of “The Fairy Tale Girl,” explains this phenomenon by noting: “The thing I like about getting older is finally getting a handle on what the heck was going on back then.”

I’m also reading Dani Shapiro’s book, Still Writing, and she says: “…the idea that there is ever a definitive spot from which life can be understood is, I think, to miss the point of the ever-evolving nature of consciousness and life itself.”

I find it quite interesting that these three writers, so unalike in their personalities and writing styles, all seem to agree that everyone sees things differently, and as we age, even we begin to see things differently than we did when we were younger. I know I do.

Confusing, but it keeps life interesting.

Bean Pat: Bird Note https://www.birdnote.org/ A great way to learn about birds from your comfortable living room.

Check out Travels with Maggie on Amazon.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway.

The Good Old Days

So many writing quotes, like the one above by Hemingway, have become outdated. While I do know a few writers who still write their first drafts by hand, I know none who still use a typewriter. The computer has made that once miracle machine obsolete.

I vividly remember my first encounter with a computer. The year was 1978, and I was working as a reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. One day I was typing my stories on a typewriter, and the next day I was told that I had to use a computer.

My first thought was I can’t write on a computer. So, I continued writing my stories on a typewriter — and then retyping them into that dang computer. This lasted for about two weeks before I finally caught on to the fact I was doubling my work load.

A couple of years later, I accepted a job as features editor at the Standard-Examiner newspaper in Ogden, Utah, where I was introduced to a Mercenthaler computer system, which was always breaking down and eating my words. I blame it for teaching me how to cuss at the late-blooming age of 40.

During these years, I continued using my old Remington typewriter at home for my personal writing. By 1985, however, the difference in the feel of the two keyboards forced me to give in and buy my first home computer, one that didn’t have a hard drive, but ran on floppy disks. Every couple of years after that I upgraded to a newer computer.

I bought my first laptop, paying $2,300 for a top-of-the-line machine in 2004, the week I retired from journalism so I could continue to freelance while I traveled the country in my small RV with my canine companion Maggie. For two years, I used my phone as a modem to connect to the world, but then I got my own hot spot. Comcast is the provider of my current Wi-Fi system, and costs me $70 a month.

My current laptop, a Toshiba I bought in 2011 for $800, and which is the longest lasting computer I have ever had, is just about ready for replacement.

Today, I don’t just use a computer as a writing tool, but also to do research, stream movies and tv, play games, stay in contact with family and friends, read the news, and to export my freelance articles directly to magazines and publishers, which is what I did when I finished my book, Travels with Maggie.

I went from wondering what in the heck I was going to do with a computer, to wondering how I can live without one. Ditto for air conditioning — I lived on the Texas Gulf Coast in the 1950’s without it.

I also grew up knowing how to change a tire on my car because tires were not as reliable as they are today, and we didn’t have mobile phones.

Yup. My world has changed a lot. Perhaps the good old days are here and now — or waiting for us in the future.

Bean Pat: Pileated woodpecker https://belindagroverphotography.com/2018/06/03/young-pileated-woodpecker-three-photographs/

Now available on Amazon

One of my favorite photography blogs. And an amazing bird that catches my breath every time I see one.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  Currently, she is writing a book, tentatively titled Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

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Fifty on Fifty

Having time to smell more flowers with the passing years is one blessing of aging. — Photo by Pat Bean

“I don’t want to sound like a Hallmark card, but to be able to wake up each day with food and shelter, that alone is good. Forget aging and the fact that my butt is becoming a little more familiar with my knees than my tailbone, If you are six feet above ground, it’s a good day. So, give me more.” – Faith Hill

Back when I was 60

In the spring of 1999, when I was turning 60, and just beginning to appreciate the beauty of being an old broad, I read a book titled Fifty on Fifty, in which 50 women over 50 talked about life and aging. .

I was fascinated by the book, and wrote at least one quote in my journal from each of the women. Here are some of my favorites:

And every year I live gives me more time to be awed by the wonders of this revolving ball we live on. — Photo by Pat Bean

“I was an oddity, and it played well.” – Geraldine Laybourne

“As women age, they ultimately all learn the same lesson: The only person I can depend on is me.” – Gloria Allred

“You have to do what feels right.” – Cher

“50 – It’s a time to think about your calling, your passions,” – Hillary Clinton

“Surely the consolation prize of age is finding out few things are worth worrying over, and how many things that we once desired, we don’t want anymore.” – Dorothy Dix

“You can’t wait for someone else to start your engine.” – Phyllis George

“No one with a happy childhood ever amounts to much in this world. They’re so well adjusted, they’re never driven to achieve anything.” — Sue Grafton.

“You will never succeed if you try to please too many people or stand in the middle of the road – there is nothing in the middle of the road but a yellow stripe and a dead possum.” – Marion Hammer

“Life definitely gets better – and as your history gets longer, you only get more interesting.” – Laura Hutton

“In the 10 years I’ve been reading death notices, I have yet to encounter the praise: ‘She maintained her ideal weight.’” – Mary Kay Blakely

“Mistakes are the dues we pay for a full life.” – Sophia Loren

“If you want to make God laugh, tell her your plans.” Anne Lamott.

That last one made me laugh, which may be why Lamott is the author of my favorite book on writing, Bird by Bird.

It’s been 18 years since I wrote these quotes in one of my journals, and they still apply.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Potato Pancakes http://tinyurl.com/y9nngaug My grandmother used to make these, and now I’m craving them. I can’t wait to make myself some.

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There's no question but that I'm in the autumn of my life. But then I think the fall is beautiful. Don't you? -- Photo by Pat Bean

There’s no question but that I’m in the autumn of my life. But then I think the fall is beautiful. Don’t you? — Photo by Pat Bean

            The most important thing I can tell you about aging is this: If you really feel that you want to have an off-the-shoulder blouse and some big beads and thong sandals and a dirndl skirt and a magnolia in your hair, do it. Even if you’re wrinkled.” – Maya Angelou

            “Aging has a wonderful beauty and we should have respect for that.” — Eartha Kitt

Just Keep On Keeping On

Early in the day, my good friend Kim, her brother Robert, and his wife Carla, and I decided to visit the Anasazi Ridge petroglyphs near St. George, but it was late in the afternoon before we actually got around to doing so.

anazazi-2          We hadn’t gone far along the trail when I realized I was holding up the other three people, all 20 or more years younger. I had back problems last year that has slowed me down considerably. Anyway, I knew that at the rate we were going, we would never get up to the petroglyph ridge site and back down before dark.

I opted to stop at a pleasant spot along the trail and wait for them. They, being good people, tried to persuade me otherwise, but I was more persuasive, and so they left me behind.

A few years earlier, I would have been upset at my inability to keep up on a hiking trail. In fact, I cried the first time it happened. But the years have been good to me, and I’ve learned that there is always, and in my case I do mean ALWAYS, a silver lining for my slower hiking pace.

More Anasazi Ridge petroglyphs

More Anasazi Ridge petroglyphs

This day, I took some photos of St. George’s rare autumn colors (this was the day after Thanksgiving) and then settled down on a large flat rock and enjoyed my surroundings.

A bit later, a good-looking, grey haired man sauntered down the trail, and stopped to chat with me. It was a pleasant interlude. I’m not so old that I didn’t enjoy his effortless masculinity – and may I never be.

“You know you’re sitting right beside some petroglyphs,” he said, then showed me two spiral stone carvings hidden in a rock crevice. One of the spirals turned clockwise and the other counter-clockwise. “One represents birth, and the other represents death,” he said. We chatted for a bit longer before his long legs sauntered on. I was then eager for my friends to return.

“Did you see the petroglyphs?” I asked, when they finally came into view. They replied that they had. I then smiled, and asked if they wanted to see some more?

“When one door closes, another opens,” said Alexander Graham Bell, who then went on to say that too often we focus so much on the closed door that we fail to see any new openings. Thankfully, I see new doors opening everywhere these days. It’s the reward for the aging of my body that can no longer do the same things it once did, certainly not at the same speed.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Cravesadventure http://tinyurl.com/z9w3bs2 Some good thoughts about one’s hopes for the New Year.

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   “When all of us are acknowledged as the human equals that we really are, there will be no space left for bullying. It will no longer be wrong to choose one thing over another.” – Jason Mraz

Kim Novak, when she was young and fit Americans' standards of beauty.

Kim Novak, when she was young and fit Americans’ standards of beauty.

Soapbox Time

Public judgments of how people dress, what they eat, what they believe, how they act and  how they look, have been bothering me for a long time, like a chigger bite that won’t stop itching.

Most recently, it happened on “Survivor,” of which I’ve long been a fan despite its goal of outwitting and lying to other players. I see that as part of the game. What I don’t see as a game is when one player makes fun of another because they’re not young and beautiful, which one beautiful on-the-outside-but-not-on-the-inside contestant did to another older female contestant in recent weeks.

That’s also exactly what was done by public figures to Kim Novak after her appearance on Oscar night. For crying out loud, why wasn’t she celebrated for being an old broad who was brave enough to appear in public?

Kim Novak today. May I look this good when I'm 81.

Kim Novak today, and in my eyes still beautiful. May I look this good when I’m 81. Heck, I don’t look this good at 75

And by the way, Kim, I say old broad with great respect because I am one — and proud of it.

We Americans are currently fighting, or so we say, to end bullying of young people. At the same time, I daily see  bullying by public figures against those who don’t look like they’re 17, have perfect features and so much money they can afford to never wear the same outfit twice. Did anyone ever hear of the philosophy of role modeling?

Kim, who I think looks fantastic for 81, was taunted with such comments as “she should sue her plastic surgeon.” — How rude!!!!!!!!!! She said she hid herself away for days, but finally decided to call the hurtful judgments by their true name – Bullying.   

            Thank you Kim for being so brave.

How about the rest of us?  Can we tell all the comedians and self-appointed critics that we‘re not laughing anymore?

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: This one’s for you Kim.  “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be  trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” — Steve Jobs



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