Jul 5, 2010

Growing old . . . gracefully?

Have you thought about what you'll be like when you're 70? Have the older women in your life been good role models in regards to how to age gracefully?

I'll give you two examples of women in their 70s from my own experience: My mother-in-law and my mother.

My MIL died in May. When she was young and middle-aged, she was a beautiful, accomplished, generous, lady-like ball of energy. She taught school full-time, sang with a local opera company, and was always dressed impeccably. She was a great mom to her two kids. In the last 10 years before she died at 72, she made choices about her quality of life that led to her becoming a severe alcoholic. She did NOT want to be old and did not want to live anymore. She shoved everyone around her out of her life, including her only grandchild.

My mother grew up in poverty. She quit school in the 10th grade. She had her first child when she was 17 (married a guy to get herself out of that poverty), and then walked away from that marriage because he was abusive. What she did was NOT common back in the 60s, but she determined to make her and her daughter's lives better. She met my dad and married him and it took a few years before she stopped being in "survival mode." My dad provided the stable life that she had never had before. She did OK as a mother, but it definitely could have been a more enjoyable experience for both her and her children. She's 74 now. Do you know what her latest comment to me was? "It's all in the attitude. I see women around me that are my age who are barely living. I'm not going to do that!"

What about you? What about me? The decisions we make NOW will affect who we will be in our later years. Our early life experience doesn't have to dictate the future, nor do the changes of life have to cause us to stop living a full life.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this as well as any examples of positive aging you've encountered, please. Then I think I will print them out and put them in a safe place to read as I age!


weenie_elise said...

My grandfather at the age of 88 got himself a computer and now spends his free time scanning and touching up all of the family photos - not quite rage against the machine but still a pretty good effort I think

Eva Girl said...

I hope to keep my feet going and my hands busy all my life - a kind word, a thoughtful gift - the people in my life that keep on in spite of growing slower or dealing with aches and pains, those are the people who are living life well. They can't do all the things they used to do, but they're not giving up! They'll do the best they can and give the best they can to those around them - to me, that is growing old gracefully : )

Roxanne said...

Weenie--That's awesome! Can I send all of our pics to him, too? That is such a time-consuming job.

My MIL wouldn't get near the computer, but my mom is working on learning how to use it.

Roxanne said...

Eva Girl--You are so right. Thinking of others rather than always focusing on ourselves makes a huge difference at any age.

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