Posts Tagged ‘aging’

   “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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I took this sunrise shot while driving across West Texas. At first I hated the power lines that make it look flawed. These days I look at it a bit differently. How about you?  -- Photo by Pat Bean

I took this sunrise shot while driving across West Texas. At first I hated the power lines that make it look flawed. These days I look at it a bit differently. How about you? — Photo by Pat Bean

“It takes a long time to grow young.” – Pablo Picasso

My 75th Birthday

I really never thought about this day, and what it would mean to me.

I spent most of my birthdays living far from kids, and so didn't have to endure them making me look silly. This birthday, however, I'm celebrating with several children and grandchildren, and actually loving it that they do so enjoy making me look silly. -- Photo by D.C. and Cindi Bean.

I spent most of my birthdays living far from kids, and so didn’t have to endure them making me look silly. This birthday, however, I’m celebrating with several children and grandchildren, and actually loving it that they do so enjoy making me look silly. — Photo by D.C. and Cindi Bean.

But now that it’s here, I feel I should give myself a Bean’s Pat for making it.

When I look back, my mind first focuses on all the mistakes I made in life, but then I realize it is because of those mistakes that I have my children, that I learned about empathy, that I discovered the necessity of having priorities in one’s life, and that I truly lived.

Knowing what I know now, which is far less than I want to know but far more than what I knew when I took my first step in life, I would probably make a lot more mistakes because I wouldn’t be afraid of making them.

Yup! Turning 75 isn’t bad at all. Especially when I might still have a few more mistakes in life to make.

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

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

Bean’s Pat: Sun Rise http://garyschollmeier.wordpress.com/  I chose this blog because the sentiment echoes my thoughts this day – and I have watched the sun rise from a small sailboat that I once owned. I eventually had to sell the sailboat because my financial priorities changed, but buying it was not a mistake.

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Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature. — Thich Nhat Han

The beautiful saguaro cactus needs age to become beautiful and grow its arms. It's barely a couple of inches tall at the age of 10 and can be 40 years old before it spouts an arm.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

The beautiful saguaro cactus needs age to become beautiful and grow its arms. It’s barely a couple of inches tall at the age of 10 and can be 40 years old before it spouts an arm. — Photo by Pat Bean

In Fact, I Like Most of It

While I fight against it, and am still active, there’s no denying that age has taken its toll on me. I can no longer hike 20 miles in a day, once again captain my white-water raft as I did from the age of 40 to the age of 60, or carry a great-grandchild on my hip for hours as I did my own children.

Sunsets can be as spectacular as sunrises -- from a different perspective. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Sunsets can be as spectacular as sunrises — from a different perspective. — Photo by Pat Bean

And then there are the little aches and pains as the body loses the glow of youth. The saying that “age isn’t for sissies” is so true it makes me laugh.

But age also has its rewards, ones that let me know I wouldn’t want to be young again. Young for me was full of insecurities, fears that someone wouldn’t like me, inner pressures to be perfect, doubts that I was good enough, and guilt for all the mistakes I made as a parent.

Being an old broad – and don’t call me elderly, I hate that term – having raised five children and being retired from a stressful 10-hour day job putting out a daily newspaper – has given me time to occasionally just sit on my balcony and reflect. Age, and a lifetime of doing, have let me truly come to know who I am.

And thankfully I like that person. I couldn’t say that when I was young.

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

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

Bean’s Pat: Soul Writings http://tinyurl.com/pmjfco7 To give credit where credit is due, this was the blog and quote that inspired my words today. The blogger posts often, but  the writing is always short and uplifting, and the photos that accompany it beautiful and thought-provoking.

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Family Matters

       “Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family.  Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”  ~Jane Howard

I’m a Blessed Old Broad

My women’s luncheon Wednesday opened my eyes to how blessed I am. There were nine of us, but because of the table configuration, I spent the time primarily talking with three other women.

My grandsons, Patrick, JJ and Tony, giving Gypsy Lee a bath. -- Photo by Pat Bean

My grandsons, Patrick, JJ and Tony, giving Gypsy Lee a bath. — Photo by Pat Bean

They were in the neighborhood of what I call my old broad age, a term I use affectionately and which is an age I’m happy to be enjoying. They, however, were concerned about what this age portends.

I didn’t understand at first, and when Lady A said she had moved from her third floor home because it was too hard carrying groceries and other items up three flights of stairs. I, laughingly said, I used my three local grandsons for the heavy stuff.

But then Lady B mentioned that she had to go into a nursing home, which had been quite traumatizing for her, while recovering from a hip transplant. And Lady C said that would probably be her fate, too, if she became disabled.

All three women, I suddenly realized, were single with no children or other family members still living. It was an unhappy fact the trio had long been aware of, however.

It made me realize how fortunate I had been when I broke my ankle earlier this year. My youngest daughter was there for me, doing my shopping and laundry and taking me to the doctor until I could once again drive and get around on my own.

And what's fun is that I get to do such things as attend Tony and Patrick's band concerts, which I did just this past Thursday.-- Photo by Pat Bean

And what’s fun is that I get to do such things as attend Tony and Patrick’s band concerts, which I did just this past Thursday.– Photo by Pat Bean

I have other children and grandchildren as well, who have made it clear that they will be there for me if I ever need them. I’m an independent cuss and hope I will always be so, but I have to admit that knowing they want to be there for me is comforting.

As ladies A, B and C, who had not known each other before the luncheon, realized what they shared, I became the outsider of the group. This was a fact that was actually noted by one of the ladies as the three women began sharing contact information with each other as part of a newly formed support group.

I was extremely happy that they had found each other, and for the first time in my life glad I didn’t fit in. It didn’t feel at all like what Anne Lamott had described in “Bird by Bird” as that kid standing alone by the fence, which had been me growing up.


The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Thar she blows http://tinyurl.com/a9aeoaz This blog has made me want to go back and reread “Moby Dick.

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 “If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again.” – Flavia Weedn

Here’s the traditional photo of me at the start of the hike to the top of Angel’s Landing in the background. But this year I chose the less-traveled trail. — Photo by Karen Bean

And I Have No Regrets

For an old broad, I’m in pretty good shape. But not good enough, I accepted this past weekend, to climb to the top of Angel’s Landing.

Instead I chose a path less traveled, and was well rewarded for it.

I said good-bye to my son, Lewis, his wife, and my two grandsons, at the Angel’s Landing trail head. The four of them had met me here in Zion National Park for Mother’s Day, a real treat as I am usually far away from any family members on this day.

I’ve been to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion about 30 times. It was an April birthday tradition for me. Lewis, when he was younger, accompanied me on several of those occasions. It was an experience he wanted to share this past weekend with his family.

As the four of them turned right, just past the bridge over the Virgin River onto the Angel’s Landing trail, I turned left. My path would take me on a two-mile hike, via the Emerald Pools, back to where I could catch the shuttle and return to my RV to await their return.

My reward for being sensible this day was that I had the first mile of the trail completely to myself. This is a rare treat in Zion these days, as the park has an extremely high visitation rate.

While the view of the river and valley below wasn’t quite as spectacular as the one from atop Angel’s Landing, the peace I felt observing it made up for the difference.

I also, perhaps for the first time in my life, felt at peace with myself in accepting that I no longer could do everything I could once do.

Bean:s Pat: Everyday Wisdom #43 http://tinyurl.com/6nc3lky A great way to slow yourself down and live in the moment.

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 “These is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.” – Ernest Hemingway.

The trail to the top begins by crossing a tiny creek. While the landscape was brown toned, a result of both drought and winter, it still had an enchanting beauty. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Favorite Places

I suffered from writer’s block yesterday. I usually attribute this to procrastination, specifically of putting my bum down and my fingers on the keyboard. Almost always, if I do that, I find myself cured of the disease writers dread.

But when I came across Hemingway’s quote this morning, I realized this time the block was a result of my wanting to convey to you what my Friday scramble to the top of Enchanted Rock near Fredricksburg, Texas, meant to me.

And I didn’t want to tell you the truth, that I wasn’t Wonder Woman.

As hikes go, the trail to the top of this monadock, or kopje as they would call it in Africa, was just a bit over a half mile, and with an elevation gain of only about 425 feet.

I lost sight of these markers a couple of times and had to backtrack. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Until recently I wouldn’t have considered it much of a challenge. But age caught up with me last year, and a couple of painful, physical problems slowed me down to only short, mostly flat walks.

I cried, I ranted, I raved – and thankfully I didn’t accept my regular doctor’s words “that pain was just something that came with age.” While I knew there was truth in his words, I didn’t feel that time had come for me.

A rehabilitative specialist agreed, and two weeks after beginning physical therapy, I was practically pain-free again. My scramble following the ill-marked trail to the top of Enchanted Rock was the most challenging thing I had done in a year. I was out of condition and the hike up was slow-going – but I made it.

Standing on top, with the Texas Hill Country landscape laid out before me, let me indeed feel Mother Nature’s magic.

No footprints to follow, just keep going upward I told myself. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The hermit thrush that flew in front of me, the jumbled rock patterns that to me were as awesome as a museum painting, the awesome robin’s-egg-blue  sky above with wispy clouds drifting past, and the feel of the wind on my perspiring face were all part of the enchantment.

This is what I needed to tell you.

With the Internet at your fingertips, you can learn all the geographical, historical and even mystical facts about Enchanted Rock at your leisure. Facts come with their own magic, but you don’t need me to tell you those.

I know the day will come when my body will no longer take me to the places I want it to go. But thankfully it was not this day.


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 “Age is opportunity no less

 Than youth itself, though in another dress

And as the evening twilight fades away,

 The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.

             — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Me in April, 2007, with Angel's Landing in the background. I made it to the top that year and two more years since then. My heart tells me I'll yet be up there again, just not this May. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

*Travels With Maggie

I walked the Parus Trail today. This paved path that crosses back and forth across the Virgin River was just what my body, which has been trying to heal a sprained shoulder since March, needed.

Although dogs are allowed on this one trail in Zion National Park, I didn’t take Maggie because I wanted to walk farther and faster than she prefers these days.

While I’m certainly no just-hatched bird, Maggie is 13, which in human years makes her about 91. The vet says she is in pretty good shape for her age, for which I’m thankful. It’s the same thing my doctor said to me at last year’s annual checkup.

Maggie’s been my faithful but spoiled traveling companion now for seven years, and just my spoiled pet for five years before that. I rescued her from an Ogden, Utah, animal shelter when she was a little over a year old.

 Back then she was timid, too submissive and frightened at the sight of a broom. The shelter said she had been abused. Today’s she not afraid of anything and expects to be treated like the queen she thinks she is.

While I was never abused as a child, I did survive some rough times, including growing up in an alcoholic family, being frequently accused of having cooties by school mates in elementary school and a disastrous too-young marriage.

Daisies growing along the Parus Trail brightened my walk this day. -- Photo by Pat Bean

But it’s not who you were, or how you were treated growing up, that counts. It’s you are today. And if you’ve survived past your 20s, then the only person responsible for who you are is you.

Not sure why my mind got going in this direction. Maybe because I walked the easy 3-mile flat Parus Trail today instead of hiking the 5-mile steep and strenuous Angel’s Landing Trail that I always do when coming to Zion.

I could whine about disappointing myself, or be grateful for what I can still do. I’d like to say I was grateful, and I can certainly do that.

 But I whined, too. Who I was today, physically speaking, wasn’t who I wanted to be.

I guess age and health get a say in who we are at some point in our lives.

Dookie! Dookie! Dookie!

*Day 16 of my journey, May 4, 2011

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 “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” — Mark Twain

Gypsy Lee among the cactus at Pancho Villa State Park near New Mexico's border with Mexico. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

The 114,500 miles I’ve put on my VW Vista RV, Gypsy Lee, the past seven years have been good ones. I bought her new in 2004 and she’s gotten me everywhere I’ve wanted to go, done it averaging 15 mpg of fuel, and never broken down on the road, well except for a blown tire.

Together – Gypsy Lee, my dog Maggie and I – have traveled from ocean to ocean and from the Mexican border up into Canada. In return for her faithful service, I’ve had her oil changed every 3,000 miles, bought her several new sets of tires, given her a complete tune-up at 65,000 miles, one new fuel filter, and one new set of brake pads. That’s It.

But now she’s in the shop getting a major, and expensive, facelift. This time when I had her checked out to make sure she was road ready, the VW technician – that’s what they call mechanics and grease monkeys these days – found some significant wear and tear. He pointed it out to me as I stood beneath her lifted body, which still looked pretty good he said.

Gypsy Lee got me to Canada so I would walk through a marsh in Point Pelee National Park in Ontario. -- Photo by Pat Bean

While a transmission service and new brake pads are the only things nearing an emergency breakdown, I opted to do all the work the technician recommended. The cost, while it hurts, is actually less than that of the new roof I put on my last home.

And Gypsy Lee is my home. Or she will be again when I get her back Monday. That’s my 72nd birthday by the way. And I can’t think of a better present than having my RV ready to hit the road again. Hopefully Gypsy Lee and Maggie will be up to the next 100,000 or so miles. I sure am.

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“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.” Katharine Hepburn

Thanks to my granddaughter, the wedding party was alerted that Nana was getting a ride on a Harley. Someone in the crowd took this photo and posted it on Facebook. I'm so glad I'm too old to worry about my image.

Travels With Maggie

 Yesterday morning started here in Camden, Arkansas, overhung with dark storm clouds threatening to burst at any moment. I waited to run my errands until after they fulfilled that promise and the sky had lightened.

But while I was at the grocery store stocking up for life on the road, those tricky clouds came back; and they began furiously dumping their load at the exact moment I left the sheltered interior of Wal-Mart.

My first thought was unprintable, but then I remembered playing in the rain as a child and how much fun it had been. It was a warm day, so the rain, once I got into it, actually felt good. Playful now, I did my own version of Gene Kelly’s “Dancing in the Rain,” as I loaded wet bags into the side door of my RV.

Afterwords, with rain dripping from every part of my body, I ducked into my tiny RV bathroom and put on dry clothes before getting back on the road. You get to do that if you take your house to the store with you.

I suspect that Maggie is always wondering what her crazy mistress is going to do next. -- Photo by Pat Bean

As I drove away, with my dog, Maggie, looking askew at me, I thought about how blessed I was that I’ve not allowed the fun in life to be devoured by age.

This thought was reinforced this morning when my daughter-in-law ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ed the photo of me published on Facebook that was taken at my grandson’s recent renaissance wedding.

One of the attendees had a Harley, and he gave my beautiful young granddaughter a ride around the block on it. I was outside when they returned, and she said: “What do you think of that Nana?”

“I’m jealous,” I replied.

“Hop on,” said the tattooed cyclist.

And I did – and loved every minute of the wind blowing into my face as he slowly drove me around the block.

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Each sunset makes yet another mark on the calendar of our lives. I don't want to miss a single one. -- Photo by Pat Bean


The illimitable, silent, never-resting thing called Time, rolling, rushing on, swift, silent, like an all-embracing ocean-tide, on which we and all the universe swim like exhalations, like apparitions which are, and then are not.” — Thomas Carlyle

Travels With Maggie

As I typed the date in my journal this morning, I wanted to scream. Where in Hades has two months of the year gone already?

Time, as someone who no longer has to spend a third of it making a living, is my friend. But time, as someone who has less of it ahead than behind, is my enemy. This latter is true for both me and my dog, Maggie, who sadly at 13 most likely has fewer days ahead of her than I do.

Just the thought of losing her brings tears to my eyes. But that’s the reality of loving something. Maggie won’t be the first pet I’ve lost. And if Father Time is kind to me might not even be the last.

One day bare twigs, the next day bursting with color. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The pain of loss, however, is outweighed by the richness my feline and canine companions have added to my life over the years. I truly believe Alfred Lord Tennyson’s words: “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” I’m sure he was speaking about human relationships, but those count in my book, too.

I was thinking on this during this morning’s walk when I came upon a patch of purple. A lilac bush – which Maggie and I have passed daily while waiting for winter to end so we can get back on the road – appeared to have budded overnight.

It was another example of how time, which once moved slow as a snail when I was a child awaiting Christmas, is now going 200 miles-per-hour in a 20 miles-per-hour school zone.

I can’t slow Father Time. All I can do is go along for the ride. Getting off and standing still is not an option for Maggie and me.

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