slip sliding away, or a rumination on age

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I have always celebrated my age, never more than when I turned the age of fifty a couple, few, years ago. I have revelled in being a fifty something woman. My children are grown, and are people I am both in awe of, and so proud of that I can’t believe that I gave birth to them. Maybe they really were switched at birth after all! I now have an exquisite grand daughter that is the love of our lives. I am able to combine my passion for reading, books and information into something that helps the world become a better place, and that is being a teacher librarian. My husband and I made a tree change just over a little more than a year ago, and invited a puppy into our lives, our first, who has grown into a forty kilo bundle of unending love. All sounds pretty fantastic doesn’t it? It is.

However, in a month or two I will be turning fifty-six. 56. The reality has slowly been gnawing away at corners of my thoughts and it is not always my most comforting companion. If the average life expectancy for an Australian woman is 84.54 years then even my poor maths skills can calculate that I can optimistically anticipate another 28.54 years of life; quality unknown. Putting it into numerical terms, black and white at that, drives home just how little time is left.

Twenty-eight years ago, I was the mother of three children, aged one, five and seven. We have lived in three different houses since then. I hadn’t started my tertiary studies in anyway, and did not even really have any plans to either. My father was alive, as was my grandmother. I was yet to brush up against with cancer.

My mother in law said to me on more than one occasion that she never had an issue with any birthday, except for her sixtieth birthday. She never said why, and now I wonder so many whys about her statement. Is it the slipping over into being a “senior”citizen? Qualifying for a seniors care might get you discounts at the movies and in cafes, but it also makes one into a card carrying senior. “I am ageing”.

I smile when I read, or hear, others lamenting turning 30, 40, or 50. How silly, I scoff, age doesn’t matter. And it doesn’t. not really, except I am finding, when it is placed end to end and the finite end is ever closer and there are still things to do, places to see. Perhaps the nagging thoughts are a prod not to be complacent, not to waste the time there is and to make it all quality, pure quality.

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14 thoughts on “slip sliding away, or a rumination on age

  1. Being 16 years ahead of you, I share that fear of having more things I want to do than time to do them, and I dislike this body that argues with me about doing what I want it to.

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  2. Great post. As I get older I have a nagging need to impart my worldly wisdom to the young. And, I have learned so much from my academic studies that I feel It will all be lost when I am gone. Hence, my two blogs. But, I have found that few want or expect to learn anything of cultural importance. The most readership I’ve gotten is from those trite and indulgent rhyming verses (I shiver to think anyone believes that is poetry) that I have done in support of another blog. I’m faced with the thought that all my years of learning will be but ashes in an urn. Well, that’s a frigging depressing message on Valentine’s Day. Chin up. Have a better day, each and every day. Lucy

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    • I understand, we spend a lifetime accumulating knowledge, information, experience, and it all becomes finite. As a history teacher also, I witness how the lives of previous generations become lost in time. I mean, I know so little about the daily life of my own grandmothers. Sad.

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  3. I’m turning 50 next week and I was thinking about this as well for a while. Sure I can see how great it all is to be this age but I’ve lived for longer than I’m going to live and it freaked me out for a while. But who knows – I might only have 6 months left to live or I might have another 50 – I might get so plastered today at my party that I fall down the back stairs and break my neck (note to self – wear flat boots) so it’s one of those thoughts I think you have to let pass through your mind, consider but then just let it keep travelling by. I think once you’ve watched/helped a parent go through illness and death it makes you realise just how scary old age can be and it’s something I don’t want to dwell on at all.

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    • It worries me that both my parents developed dementia, in two very different ways. I fear that in more ways than illness. Also the passing of BIL last year, and the nine weeks from his diagnosis to death…Not that we can control any of it, but it does shadow my thoughts more now.

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  4. This rings so many bells for me. 56 sounds a bit arbitrary but it reflects the general feeling of getting on and the sense of the finite nature of our lives. Landmark birthdays like mine are a time for reflection but we should be thinking, like you, about the quality of our lives while we still can and not just allowing the years to dribble by.

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    • It is not as though I feel the need to make a bucket list and tick things off. I don’t feel as though I have undone things, but I do think about becoming less independent, more of a burden. Loss of control, loss of dignity, becoming invisible.

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  5. There is a story in Hindu mythology.
    A king does something bad and is cursed that he will die in 10 days. As he laments about it, his teacher tells him “you are so lucky, you know you are going to be alive for 10 days and can plan the ten days carefully. The rest of us don’t know that and hence don’t plan”.
    You’ve had a wonderful life so far, and there is no reason that the future would not be just as great.

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  6. I’m so happy I found your blog… I love this post… I am looking forward to read more from you and your wonderful take on life… Have a great weekend!

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