The Cat Box

You’ll always find something of interest in the Cat Box

The Life In Your Years — March 7, 2013

The Life In Your Years

I just read a posting on a sort of “senior” website asking what do you see when you pass a 76-year-old woman on the street. The answer they were looking for was “nothing,” you don’t notice her at all. To that I say “so what?”

When I walk down the street I don’t notice anyone who is representative of any age; unless they stand out for some odd reason. Most of the time a person stands out is because their “difference” is apparent, and may I say appreciated by this girl. People’s more extreme individual traits do catch my eye.

Aside from some ageism in the workplace (and the degree of that varies between occupations) I believe that there has never been a better time for ageing in this country. And the Baby Boom that occurred in those years from 1946 to 1964 here in the US could have had something to do with that. There is power in numbers and the Baby Boomers are 76 million strong.

We Boomers benefit from the availablity of modern drugs to keep us going. Happily, some of us also spend time exercising and enjoying a healthy diet.

In 1900, life expectancy for much of the industrialized world was under 50. Now one hundred and some years later we are living well into our 70s and 80s and our ageing accomplishments are twofold. First we are living longer. I don’t know this, but I bet at the beginning of our living longer we were simply living longer. These days we live longer with substantially improved quality of life for those additional years.

Abraham Lincoln said it a long time ago, “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” It is my crusade to put more life into each day, and if I can inspire anyone else to join me, I invite you to come along. Let’s get moving.

Reaching Our Peak — August 23, 2012

Reaching Our Peak

My sister Barbara told me on my 40th birthday that after 40, life is just one small procedure after another till the big one that takes you out. I am hoping that is not true.

Actually I am 57 and still hanging (in some places lower than others) in there. I probably shouldn’t have said that out loud, but maybe writing something is not like saying it out loud and it won’t happen just because I wrote that it hadn’t happened. Convoluted maybe, but I am sure you get it.

Birthdays like 40, 50 and 60 traditionally bring to you all of those over-the-hill cards and comments about being past your prime. Personally though, I’m not buying it. First of all because it is personal and I refuse to spend the rest of the time I have here looking down the wrong side of said hill. I also dislike the word “over.” Think of how that sounds; over the hill. Well get over it because I am here to tell you that it ain’t over till it’s over and I haven’t even reached my peak yet!

But tradition is tradition and you know how something becomes tradition; by thoughts, beliefs, and actions that are held over a long period of time. Traditional thoughts and beliefs become traditional just by maintaining themselves for a long time and have very little to do with truth or untruth, right or wrong – except for an idea becoming “truth” by having everybody in a culture believing it. Having said this made me think of this old saying:

Be careful what you think, for your thoughts become your words.
Be careful what you say, for your words become your actions.
Be careful what you do, for your actions become your habits.
Be careful what becomes habitual, for your habits become your destiny.

Okinowan, Kiich Sakugawa, 96, with his wife

In western culture we believe it is good to young and not so good to be old. But there are cultures in the world where people age with vitality, strength and grace, and are respected and revered. What are we missing here? Why don’t we get it?

Maybe if we were to change our thoughts about aging we could change what we say about aging. Maybe if we change the way we talk about it, we would change the way we age. Maybe if we change the way we age, we would change the way we think about it. Maybe if we change the way we think about it, we would change the way we talk about age. Maybe if we change the way we talk about it we would change what we believe. Maybe if we all start to believe what we are thinking and saying and doing, we would develop a new traditional thought about aging.

What do you think?