Friday, July 09, 2010


(A very special blogger, Pam Antonivich, who wrote at "Mind Trips" departed this life on April 4 this year. I stopped by her blog for a visit recently and was saddened to learn she would be writing there no longer. She successfully enjoyed life despite the effects of ALS. I had found her blog by randomly selecting it from the blog roll on "Time Goes By" and wrote my impressions on 12/11/07. She was a remarkable lady and artist adapting her talents as her functional skills changed over time.)


Many of us have probably recognized instances in which we've come to realize we have slipped into that group society now regards as "old." I think "old" is a relative term, depending on where we fall on the age continuum as to who we regard as "old." As a young grade school student, I thought high schoolers epitomized the peak of adulthood and everyone past their age was well on their way to being old, others even ancient.

Then, when I was in high school, those in their twenties, maybe thirties, too, were certainly the "older adults." People in their fifties, sixties, much less those in the following decades were either "getting old" or were "really old." Even when I was in my forties, fifties, entering my early sixties, those whose age was beyond my own were the ones occupying that "old" category which I had still not yet entered. This isn't to say I discounted all these "older" adults at my various ages. I had been taught to respect my elders, even if I might not agree with some of their tastes and viewpoints, especially if they seemed mired in the past.

I didn't associate getting older as a negative, either, unlike the revulsion or fear expressed by some of my contemporaries. Perhaps my experiences with "older" people had been more positive than those less tolerant. Maybe I had been more fortunate in the interactions with my grandmother (other "grands" were deceased,) most relatives and adult family friends.

When I think of "old" I'm often reminded of my Mom telling me about her friends and conversations they had about activities of other people in her senior citizen community. I was in my forties or fifties then. She and her friends ranged in age from seventy to eighty. Occasionally, she unsuccessfully tried to recall the name of someone she and her friends all knew, and to whom some interesting event had occurred that she wanted to relate to me. Exasperatedly, when the name didn't come to her, she would utter, "Oh, you know, that old man/woman that lives down next to Myrtle" or whoever. I knew who she meant, someone who, coincidentally, was also her contemporary. Interestingly, she didn't describe herself or her friends as old, nor did they -- just all those other people were "old." They weren't in age denial either, since they freely spoke of their actual age.

Aging in my family has simply been been a matter of fact happening that everyone experiences. I've never been quite able to understand fighting against this natural process, as I've tried to focus my energies on matters on which I have greater influence. This isn't to say I haven't considered the benefits of having the physical body, strength and endurance I had at younger ages. There are limits as to how much is within my control - despite what some of the "eternal youth," "turn back the clock," or "slow the process" marketers promote in the name of selling their various products.

So, here I am still traipsing around in the later decades of my life, and it's still all the people beyond my age that are "old." I experience the vagaries of life and aging. I still care about and am as interested in life as I ever was, but sometimes in different ways. I think people of all ages who maintain an underlying sense of hope toward life may experience more happiness than those who do not. I still have hopes, dreams for my future.


  1. I started calling myself old at 60 and didn't care if others saw it or not as it is a good place to me for accepting youth and mature years have gone behind and what awaits is more and more 'old'. It did bother me as 59 just seemed younger but age waits for no man or something like that.

    Now it's kind of fun or ironic depending on my day to have my granddaughter entering puberty, budding young womanhood and rather reluctant to do it, as she has enjoyed her childhood, while I am at the opposite end of the hormone spectrum and not real excited by less and less physical strength or looking older and older. But it's life, the cycle of life and I feel darned lucky to get here as so many I know did not.

    Like you, I never had elders that made me think it's a bad thing to be old. They called themselves old in their 50s!

  2. Funny you should mention that. I find myself talking out loud (to no one) when I am driving and get behind a gray-haired person.....I say get out of my way old man!
    And then I realize that the person behind me is probably thinking the same thing.

  3. I got the hint that I was no longer a 'spring chicken on my 50th birthday when I got a letter from AARP asking me to join. LOL

    Now some days I feel every second of my 63 years; you know -- the days when everything hurts and what doesn't hurt aches. Other days I feel like a kid -- like when Jeff and I were "beachcombing" in Florida. Either way, I'm okay with it.

  4. I have a hard time thinking of myself as an older person; but I really think I started to feel 'older' in the last couple of years when I noticed that I've slowed up in general. I still act like a kid, but my body is telling me a much different story....and unfortunately, I've had to listen. Of course we all know the key is in one's attitude about aging...and I'm still hoping to stay young in that regard. Nice post JoAnn... ~Joy

  5. Lots of good observations to ponder in this post. I have a hard time some days looking in the mirror at this old guy. I don't feel like him.

  6. I believe you have it right on when you say the underlying hope that you start each day with is what keeps you going at whatever age. My parents are 78 and have a calendar of social activities that tires me just to read! Slowing down a bit physically but every day my dad brings coffee and the paper into bed with mom to start their day together. And they are going strong although someone may call them "old"...keep smiling...

  7. Perhaps someone is 'old' when you find that person is 10 years older than yourself. I refer to that gauge when hearing others talk about someone who is 'old'.

    In the '80s we, my wife (now deceased)and 3 kids would visit my parents in Zerphyrhills the summertime no less. We lived in the Detroit area. My uncle Wilbur lived a short walk from my parents. One day I found myself talking to my uncle and 2 of his neighbors. They were all about my uncle's age, 73, while I was about 38 at the time. These guys were talking the old 'codgers' in St.Petersburg Fl(about 50 miles south). When I asked how old they were the response was "In their 80s". I stifled a hardy laugh. Now I often wonder what those younger than my 75 years must think of me.

    There are times I just don't feel that old, much younger in fact, and than other times I feel every day of my age. When I was a boy my Mother use to tell me "Think positive thoughts, Bobby". Advice I often put into practice. Not easy but I give it a try.