The Beauty of the Aging Mind

Aging Is Inevitable

When we contemplate getting older, we often find our thoughts drifting to the dark side of aging, where we fear we may cast anchor in the troubled waters of knowing we will have to live with a deteriorating body and mind. Despite adhering to a healthy lifestyle, maintaining a positive attitude, nurturing an active mind, and even despite electing cosmetic surgery, we will never outrun the aging process. The legendary fountain of youth is just that: a legend.

The Legendary Fountain of Youth

Lucas Cranach the Elder, Der Jungbrunnen, 1546.
Lucas Cranach the Elder, Der Jungbrunnen, 1546. | Source

As there is no darkness without light, so there is no fear without hope, no ugliness without beauty. Although Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and senility may accompany the aging mind, there may be much beauty that gathers there as well.

Athena - Temple of Wisdom

Source

Wisdom

With age come experience, knowledge, and sound judgment, three defining characteristics of wisdom. Barring disease, injury, or environmental deprivation, it stands to reason that the older mind is more experienced and knowledgeable than the younger, simply by virtue of years lived, but what accounts for sound or good judgment?

Dr. Dilip Jeste, University of California at San Diego, reporting on the results of a study of 3,000 brain scans of those between ages 60 and 100, found that dopamine levels in the older brain are lower than in the younger, resulting in slower responses but better, more considered decisions. "Older people are…less likely to respond thoughtlessly to negative emotional stimuli because their brains have slowed down…This, in fact is what we call wisdom." *

I am left to wonder if there can be wisdom without age.

"When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years." ~Often attributed to Mark Twain

An Introspective View of Wisdom and Aging

Scientists may give us an objective, physical explanation of how the mind may become wise through aging, but poets and philosophers take a different approach. Sharyn's Slant's With Aging Comes a DEEPER UNDERSTANDING is a deeply personal poetic expression of the journey through age toward a place that may be called "wisdom."

Humor

What older people think is humorous is not always what tickles the funny bones of younger people, nor is it necessarily what seniors themselves thought was funny when they were younger.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis speculate that the cognitive decline accompanying aging negatively affects the ability to comprehend humor. ** In other words, older folks sometimes just don’t get it. But is that the whole picture?

A few years ago an independent researcher created an internet survey to investigate age-related changes in humor preference. *** His results indicated, in part, that older folks find more humor in situations that involve their need to nurture offspring than they do in situations that involve protecting the resources they need to survive day-to-day life, and that adults in the 26-35 year range find situations involving sex and social relationships much funnier than either younger or older people do. There seems to be evidence for our sense of humor to change as we age.

For decades, my mother has had a magnet on her refrigerator showing a glamorous older woman holding a phone receiver saying, “Age is a number. Mine’s unlisted!” It wasn’t until a few years ago that I could belly-laugh about this as my mother does.

Golden Confidence

Daedeluas and Icarus, his son. The father, with confidence, made wings to fly. But the son, with false confidence, flew too near the sun.
Daedeluas and Icarus, his son. The father, with confidence, made wings to fly. But the son, with false confidence, flew too near the sun. | Source

Confidence

I’m fond of saying, “You can’t tell an eight-year-old girl anything, and you can’t tell an 80-year-old woman anything more.” Pre-pubescent girls and 80-year-old women have a lot in common, strange as that may seem. Before a girl reaches sexual maturity, she is all about herself. Maybe she’s a tomboy, maybe she’s a Smart Alec, but for sure, she has no reservation about using her confidence to go where she wants to go. The same potential is there for women who have traveled past the physiology of the childbearing years.

The years between puberty and post-menopause are conditioned both sociologically and physiologically to compel the bearing of children, and so young girls succumb to the cultural influences around them by doing all they can to attract a mate. The eight-year-old finds herself changing to emphasize her feminine traits, and in the process, puts her earlier self-assertiveness on hold.

What Happens to the Body and Mind as Women Pass from Childhood into Maturity

Once the reproductive years are over, a woman is free to become the girl she used to be, and many do. This is an enormous change of mindset, where the behaviors of the child bearing decades can sail into the horizon to be replaced by a new, or rediscovered, confidence. "Margaret Mead called this stage of life 'postmenopausal zest.'" Think of Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Golda Meir, and the women who fought to give American women the right to vote, to name just a few who rose to leadership not as young women, but as women in their older years. ****

The Mysterious Aura of Age

I consider it a privilege to watch my mother age. She is coming into a certain beauty that challenges description. There was always an aura about her which attracted people of all ages, but this aspect of her seems to be intensifying as she grows older. While I can speak easily of wisdom, humor, and confidence, putting words to this aura eludes me.

I do know this aura has much to do, perhaps all to do, with the beauty that is blooming in her aging mind. She is more tolerant of differences, more accepting of the eventual end, and more peaceful, seeming to let the inner conflicts that plagued her as a younger woman go to rest. I believe this aura can belong to men as well.

The Beauty of the Mind

The Brain, American Museum of Natural History.
The Brain, American Museum of Natural History. | Source

A few weeks ago, while I was shopping in the food market, an elderly man approached me as I sorted through bananas looking for a few that were neither too ripe nor too raw. This gentle man told me he always adds a banana to the food he cooks for his dinner, because it adds a little sweetness. Soon, our dialogue, which became his monologue, took a path to the past, to the Philippines during World War II. His story was so engaging that I had a hard time parting ways. There was just something about him. He invited me into his history through gentle, engaging words while he gazed into my eyes with softness, sometimes as though he were looking clear through me. He revealed the landscape of a past that he, my long-gone father, and so many other men had shared. He had that aura.

Perhaps this aura can be called grace. I hope that’s where you and I are growing, where we’re sailing.

References

* Hope, J. (2010, June 25). With age really DOES come wisdom: Scientists prove older people are less impulsive. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk.

** Iverson, J. (2007, August 8). Generation gap? Seniors don’t always get the joke , study shows. Retrieved from http://news.wustl.edu.

*** Kadri, Faisal L. (2009, February 18). New Survey Confirms Link between Humor Preference and Age-Personality. http://www.artificialpsychology.com/TechNotes/NS_AgeLink.htm.

**** Love, S. (2003). Dr. Susan Love’s Menopause and Hormone Book: Making Informed Choices. Three Rivers Press.

© 2011 Sally's Trove. All rights reserved.

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Comments 123 comments

Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 5 years ago from India

What a beautiful take on aging! We can only hope to get there with grace! :)


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

What a refreshing, positive take on aging and beauty as related to wisdom, confidence, aura and the mind. It was awesome the way you described watching your mother age with grace and beauty.

Am voting this hub up, useful, awesome and beautiful.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

Loved the hub and have voted it up and beautiful. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

FP, I've never known a lovely orange kitty who didn't age gracefully. :)


kimh039 profile image

kimh039 5 years ago

up and beautiful here too, Sally's Trove. I had a similar experience with an old woman when I was Christmas shopping one year. She was very engaging.... and I hated to leave, but had to. I too hope for grace because I have seen some very nasty old people too who apparently hadn't gained much wisdom or impulse control.... and maybe even lost what little they had to begin with.


robie2 profile image

robie2 5 years ago from Central New Jersey

delightful and right on the money as always, ST-- Both ends of the generational spectrum have so much to learn from each other and it is so sad that they interact so little. When I was a child I loved the stories my grandmother told me of her youth and now that I am tip toeing towards my own old age, I love the young who keep me engaged in what's happening now and looking forward not back

I feel sad for the kind of " hey you kids get off my lawn" old folks who talk about the good old days and complain about " kids today......" but I feel sadder still for the young folks who don't understand that the old are not stupid and have much wisdom to pass on. Your story of the man in the supermarket is a good example. When my ex neighbor went into assisted living at the age of 89 a few years ago, she found a young high school volunteer who came once a week and taught her how to use email so she could stay in touch with her far flung children, grand children and great grandchildren........ my hat is still off to her for that:-)


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Happyboomernurse and Denise, thanks so much for all your good words and the generous votes, too!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

kimh039, I'm glad you, too, have had that experience of becoming drawn in by an older mind. It's not even so much what's said, but the way it's said...partly in dialogue to get the ball rolling, but then the speaker really brings you out of the here and now and into another place and time, as if you've stepped through a magic door.

I don't think you have to worry too much about grace in your older years...I see it's there, now. :)


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Robie, you are so right. Things are different now, families are different, and there's not as much, I guess I'd call it, continuity of shared experience among the generations.

I can't help but think that is the kids today who spend time with, love, and respect older folks who are going to be the grace-filled older folks of the future. Conversely, those older folks today who scream at kids to get off the lawn perhaps never had that kind of grandmother figure you and I did.

What comes around, goes around, and we, as the older generation, had the opportunity to teach our kids respect for age. If we did, we can sleep well at night; if we didn't, then we shouldn't be surprised if we get no respect.

As always, thank you so much for your rich and insightful comments.


bellawritter23 profile image

bellawritter23 5 years ago from California

Sally this was great. The fear of knowing one day I am going to be wrinkled but then like you say it is a privileged to watch the life cycle in effect. I have watched my grandmother age and I still see her as beautiful as when she was younger and I think even more so now. Her heart is of gold. Thank you for sharing these facts and points of growing with age.

bella


Pamela Sarzana profile image

Pamela Sarzana 5 years ago from northern Indiana

Very informative, easy to read, interesting, and flowing. Enjoyable!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Bella, your comment is so beautiful, so illuminating of both the fear and the love that exist side-by-side in a person's heart. That you view your grandmother as you do bodes well for your future and serves as a lesson to all of us.

You, as I, are privileged to watch the aging process evolve, in a beautiful way, in someone we love. This gives us courage to face the future...with grace.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Glad you enjoyed, Pamela. :)


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California

Smooth and expert writing delivered in a touching graceful manner. Nice work here Sally--hope to be slowly sailing in the direction of which you speak, as a graceful aura sounds divine...

Voting way up

K9


Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 5 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

I can't believe I hadn't read this until now. Beautifully said.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Well done, Sally. And as one who is IN that time, I can concur. In about 6 months I'll have completed my 80th year, and will be embarking on the 81st - and on to 100 or more! (You realize that the birthday celebrates the end of that year, rather than the beginning, just as our 1st birthday marked the end of our first year and start of the 2nd! :-) So when I become 80 it just means it's done and I'm into 81. There is something delightful about that.

I remember when I had my 5th birthday. I asked Mother, (quite logically) "Yesterday I was 4, today I'm 5. Will I be 6 tomorrow?" So much for those calendar years! ;->

Tell your mother I like her already!


sabu singh profile image

sabu singh 5 years ago

It is always a delight to read your Hubs, ST. Well-crafted and full of meaning. I doubt whether Shakespeare could have put it better.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon

There are many positives to aging - I'm trying to remember them right now....hmmmm...seriously folks, it is not like we have a choice so make the best of it. I find humor is the medicine that cures most things and if some folks don't get my old lady humor, I just shrug and move on to the next person....what was your name again?


billy sidhu profile image

billy sidhu 5 years ago

oh i do,do,do hope we grow old gracefully- lovely beautifully written hub- your fan- as always


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

K9, thanks so much for the good words and the up vote. I think the voyage to grace is completely possible.

@UW, I thought you'd like this. :)


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Nellianna, so glad you found this and left one of your always thoughtful and rich comments.

I love what you have to say about marking the years we travel. I couldn't help but think that, as the five-year-old wonders if she'll be six tomorrow, so we, as we age, compress time as well. How did we get here so fast???? Weren't we just 50, or 40, like, as in, yesterday?

Maybe that magical thinking of ours is something like that magical thinking of yours when you celebrated your fifth birthday...and so, the woman becomes the child again. This is a lovely thought.

I have told my mother about you, as you and I have engaged here on HP from time to time. I will tell her you asked about her. I just wish she would be online like you!


Mrs. Menagerie profile image

Mrs. Menagerie 5 years ago from The Zoo

Very well put Sally! UP


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Sabu, you are too, too gracious. Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts...I have to wonder...did Shakespeare ever have a daughter? ;)


METPRP 5 years ago

Great writing! A chance to peek over the sholder and get a wonderful perspecitve on aging.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Audry, you bring up a good point about humor. Although older folks take not-so-kind hits from younger generations about memory loss, it's perfectly acceptable for us to crack memory jokes about ourselves! You've also pointed out to me that changes in memory can be beautiful things...I believe I have a section to add here. Thank you!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

billy, so happy to see you...it's been a while. Thanks for the lovely words!

TY, Mrs. M. :)

METPRP, always happy to have you peek over my shoulder. :) Thank you so much for the complimentary words.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

A wonderful way of looking at getting old. Great hub.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

H,h, thank you so much for reading and leaving the good words. I always enjoy hearing from you. :)


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 5 years ago

Love this! Even though I am now a woman of mature years, it leaves me with mixed emotions. For instance, I wonder why it is that the older I get the faster time seems to go. In contrast, why, when I was a late teen I couldn't wait to grow up and wondered then why it felt so slow in coming. Brings to my mind, be careful what you wish for :)

I so love the elderly! I know it's because I so loved both my grandmothers who were so loving and kind. They each spent hours and hours with me and I cherished every moment. They were my favorite people to visit. From the one set of grandparents, I was taught how to be helpful, and as a young child, I so aimed to please. I learned of flowers, vegetables, baking, church and hand-holding walks.

From my other grandmother, I was fed the most amazing meals, in particular, I loved her breakfasts. Eggs, home-made biscuits, gravy, and fresh milk. She taught me how to quilt, something I wish I pursued. Since my visits to her were infrequent as she lived in OK, there wasn't a lot of time for me to fully learn the technique.

As a relatively young woman, several years after my husband died, I volunteered for the animal shelter's Pet Therapy Program. I would go there once a month, pick up a kitten and puppy, and bring them to the nursing home they assigned me to. I did that for a year, and loved every minute of it. Those wonderful folks' faces would light up when I came in, as they knew it was pet day. They shared their wonderful stories and photos of their own departed pets. It was all I could do to keep from crying. What a joy that whole experience was. I too was captivated by their humor and wonderful stories of days gone by.

Lovely hub, and I'm so glad you wrote it. I love the photo of the Fountain of Youth. Should we take a trip in search of it? Or, go off into the sunset like Thelma and Louise? :)


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

OMG, Trish, you've left me speechless. I got so wrapped up in your wonderful words about your grandmothers and the seniors, and then you hit me with Thelma and Louise.

Well, let's see if I can get some words back...far as I'm concerned, the Fountain of Youth is not an option, because there's isn't such a thing. But as for T & L...we've both been rebels, and in some ways still are. I guess it just depends how much trouble we continue to get ourselves into and how tightly backed against a wall. I'm thinking, thank goodness we both managed to raise such wonderful children. I think they are going to keep us around for a long time.

Thanks for a super, super comment, my dearest friend. LOLOLOL!


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 5 years ago

My dear friend,

Who says the Fountain of Youth doesn't exist? We, at our age, can believe whatever we like :) I say let's go in search of it, and when we find it, we can keep it to ourselves, like we did with discoveries we made as children, or we could share it with the world at large and become rich and famous. We'd write and video our adventures along the way, and our children could then publish it and they too can become rich and famous. Either that, or scratch their collective heads and say, WTF? LOL

Just being silly, but I sure do like the idea of adventures to experience, without the ending thank you :)


Scribenet profile image

Scribenet 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

A great Hub on aging...we always hear the negative effects; this illustrates the positive and that certainly needs more awareness! Bookmarked and voted up,awesome and beautiful!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

I agree that the negative aspects of aging are too often in the forefront of the minds of both the older and the younger. Along with those negatives comes a focus on turning age back, namely, by seeking to appear younger. Although there's nothing particularly wrong with that, it can keep us from seeing and appreciating the beauty inherent in the aging process.

Thank you, Scribenet, for the good words and the welcomed votes.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

Goodness gracious- I'm rather looking forward to aging now! Fabulous Hub.


Husky1970 5 years ago

Great hub. Your words definitely contain some of the wisdom you mention. Thanks for recognizing some of the beautiful things about the aging mind.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

TY, Husky1970, for reading and commenting with your good words.

Likewise, Simone.


Dardia profile image

Dardia 5 years ago from Michigan

I may have to link this to my new hub Creeping Up On A Half A Century. This is a wonderful hub. Are you sure you weren't talking about my mother? Lol!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Dardia, what a blessing that your mother has this beauty. This bodes so well for you down the road! Thank you so much for reading and leaving such a lovely comment.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, this is a wonderful look at the different stages of age, I also think that older people do have a good sense of humour, have you ever gone on a coach trip for the day, with the older generation? it is great! they laugh constantly, sing at the top of their voices, and chatter away to everybody! I enjoyed the coach trip as much as the day out! lol cheers nell


quester.ltd profile image

quester.ltd 5 years ago

up and beautiful

Thank you for this lovely view

q


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Nell, I love your comment. Seniors are a thing unto themselves, and when we have the opportunity to be in their collective presence, there's nothing like it!

If you haven't read this, I think you'll like it:

http://hubpages.com/travel/The-Great-American-Road...

Part of it is about my mother teaching my daughter Polish on a road trip...they had me laughing so hard, well, I just about p**d my, you know.

God bless 'em...I want to be that feisty when I get there.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

quester, Thank YOU for reading and enjoying.


mikeq107 5 years ago

HeY Sally Person :0)

When I was a lad I Thought as a lad..I know sounds familiar :0)

However I used to hang out with older lads in their 60`s / 80`s because they had good stories, talked at a slower pace that I could understand.

So My conclusion after reading your wonderfully aged hub is this my dear Sally :0)

we are like wine the older we get the better the taste and more valuable we become...so the nectar from your Mom must be amourous :)))

Mike ;0)


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Mike, I loved your comment. It gave me another insight when you said the older lads talked at a slower pace. This must be a magical trick of the aging mind...older people do talk more slowly, for the most part, and that makes younger folks have to slow down their minds and pay attention. For some younger people, that's uncomfortable, and they wind up in impatience.

I also hear you about that's the pace you could understand. The same for me. Adults were always more of a part of my life than people my own age. I learned to listen, by listening to them.

As for my mom's nectar, you betcha! I'm not allowed to tell you how old she is, but she still gets hit on!

Thanks for your awesome comment.


SilentReed profile image

SilentReed 5 years ago from Philippines

Some people age better than others.They continue to pursue the things that give meaning to life...love,friendship,compassion and devotion to others.Although old age tend to slow down physical activities,our mind can be as active and creative as that of a younger person.After all it has been proven that we only use a fraction of what the mind is capable of.Information unless put to use is nothing but a collection of facts.It becomes knowledge as a result of perception,reasoning and the learning process.But wisdom comes only through understanding and insight, through experience which older people have.There are a lot of people who where considered "failures" in their younger days but became successful when they were in their "Old age". "You can't help getting older,but you don't have to get old"~ George Burns


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, SilentReed.

Probably one of the best known people who became successful in their "old age" was Grandma Moses. She is indeed a role model.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

What a beautiful hub! I had the great pleasure of growing up knowing my maternal grandparents and fraternal grandmother plus great aunts and uncles. They were an important part of our lives always. I still miss my mother. She lived with us the last years of her life. Enjoy your mother to the fullest extent possible. Soon all you will have is her memory like you have of your father. Voted up, beautiful and useful.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Peggy, you and I are indeed lucky to have these amazing folks in our lives as we grew, and even more fortunate when our children can experience this continuity. This gift, sadly, is not so abundant for all.

Thank you for the beautiful words about enjoying my mother; I see you enjoyed your mother and learned from her until the day she passed. This will be the same for me. :)


Deni Edwards profile image

Deni Edwards 5 years ago from california

I have to tell you thank you for writing this--it's a beautiful piece, really. Wow!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Thank you so much, Deni. I hope the beauty inherent in this piece reaches many. Older folks are around us always, but not always appreciated. All we have to do to appreciate them is to take a look in the mirror of the future and ask ourselves what we will become. :)


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 5 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

This is a great combination of personal experience and good research - a pleasure to read :)


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Thank you, Paraglider. I enjoyed writing this piece, and I'm glad you enjoyed the read. :)


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

I love your take on aging, it makes it seem as though it's a gift rather than a burden. I like that you included the fountain of youth. I've always said I'd rather get old than the other alternativve. Up and interesting.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

TY, KKG. I do believe it's a gift, and something very much to look forward to.

Good grief! Why would any of us want to live forever (the fountain)? If we found it, without the company of our loved ones, then we would just be watching everyone we cared about die. We'd be left with such a hollowness.

Sadly, this does happen to our seniors, since they are living so much longer. But that's another topic. :)


2patricias profile image

2patricias 5 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

What a lovely hub! I've voted it up.

I think that one of the best things about growing older is that I have grown out of the awful feeling that everybody is looking at me. I still make an effort to look neat and tidy, but I mean I can wear lace up shoes with a skirt if I I will be on my feet all day and the weather is hot. I remember truly believing that everybody would laugh behind my back if I was wearing the wrong shoes (or whatever).


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

2patricias, I know what you mean. All that fashion stuff isn't nearly as important to me now as it was. Comfort first, and I don't care what anyone thinks! Thanks for the nice vote and comment. :)


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

The fountain of youth? Wasn't that what they found in the movie, "Cocoon"??? LOL

Seriously, though, you are right. I never gave it much thought before. My own mother died rather suddenly, (she was 76, and had been having some health problems, but I never realized it was that serious--mother was raised to hide discomforts). I see in retrospect that gentle softening beauty she did have. But I was in such shock at losing her without warning that I had not noticed it at all until I read your hub.

She used to be fond of the saying, "I refuse to grow old gracefully; I'm fighting every inch of the way." By that, she meant doing her best to stay active, not taking the route of plasitc alterations to her physical self.

Now that I am 60+, my own pet saying is, "Growing old is inevitable; growing up is optional." I still go out in the sun & play water balloons with the grandkids. I will still make mudpies or sand castles if the opportunity presents. And wisdom? I may yet lack the wisdom to attempt still to climb trees as I used to love to do. :-D

Voted up & awesome.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

MsLizzy, yours is such an awesome story. I am so glad this Hub had a special meaning for you that prompted you to share.

I am blessed with having a mother at this stage in my life...most of my contemporaries do not. If my mother had died at 76, as your and her mother did, I don't know if I would have come to the insights I have now, knowing my mother in these later years.

I understand your mother's spirit about fighting every inch of the way...that's the spirit my mother engages in to this day. It's not a fight against death, but a fight to keep the best of life.

I admire your ability to play. I have no grandkids right now, but when I do, I'll be out there in a bathing suit catching water balloons and introducing them to the ocean.

As for wisdom and climbing trees, well, that's a choice. If you think you can do it, then go for it!


jami l. pereira 5 years ago

I Guess your only as old as you think you feel , great hub !


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

I think that's true. It's a matter of mind. TY, jami, for your comment.


crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

Such a great hub on Aging!I can't believe i will come across such an informative Article until now.Vote up and interesting.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

TY,crystolite, for reading and commenting.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

A lovely hub, Sally. One of the best things about getting older is that I no longer feel compelled to wear high heels. Ha,ha. I read your hub about the road trip where your mother was teaching your daughter Polish - what a beautiful moment. After my dear mommy died, I began to notice how beautiful old women are, their soft skin, the white hair (can't wait for white hair), the feeling that there is so much more behind their eyes.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Dolores, thank you for leaving this beautiful and affirming comment. It reminded me of my Grandma Ellie, who had the most beautiful, soft skin. The rumor in our family was that she used lard on her skin like she used it in her fabulous baked goods, a rumor she never confirmed or denied. :) Interestingly, her hair turned pure white before she turned 30. By the time I knew her, it had been "blued" for many years!

There is so much more behind their eyes...sometimes we can tap into it, as in that episode with the gentle man in the market, and sometimes we can't. When I get there, I wonder how much I'll want to or even be able to share.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

There is so much mystery and wonder wrapped up in this hub that it's just awesome.

Less dopamine = slower = wiser! That's wild! It seems so contradictory that a slower moving brain could possibly be better!

No, I don't doubt you - it's just wild!

I suppose there are all sorts of other factors involved or at play at any given moment so far as what is best, better, etc - but in the end we just have what we have to work with, and that's it.

Intriguing picture you paint here!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

While reading your comment, a picture of a young bicycle rider careening out of control down a wet mountain road came to mind. Behind him, a much older cyclist followed, going slower and thus being very much in control and muttering under his breath, "Foolish young whippersnapper!"

Sometimes slower is better. :)

Thanks for commenting, Wes. I really enjoyed your thoughts.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

Brillaint hub and thank you for sharing.

Here's to many more to share.

Take care

Eiddwen.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

LOL! And in my mind was a younger bicycle rider named Todd Shaw - who had been riding while talking on a cell phone, and landed on his face. He still had the phone in hand though. . .

(having TWO hands on the steering end of the bicycle - is sort of important, I think. . . )


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Eiddwen, thank you for reading and leaving such a kind comment.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 5 years ago from India

Just when I was feeling old and tired, I had to chance upon your hub, ST :) We've got it all at our age, don't we? All we need to do is accept and love ourselves for what we are. And the aura of grace is something I could bask in!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Shalini, your words are so beautiful. It gives me great joy to know that this Hub sparked a thought counter to feeling tired and old. (But remember, compared to my mother and the gentle man in the market, we are still spring chickens!)

Thank you for sharing your insight about self-acceptance and self-love. Maybe that's partly where the aura of grace originates.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

LOL, Todd. It's a miracle that so many young people survive into older age considering how their impulsiveness reigns over considered thought. I like your image very much...the defining mistake was making the cell phone more important than having two hands on the steering end. Some cartoonist could have a lot of fun with this!


quester.ltd profile image

quester.ltd 5 years ago

Beautiful thoughts and beautifully written. Thank you Sally for showing that just being older does not mean broken

all up and all positive!

q


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Quester, thank you so much for the lovely comment. And of course, for the votes! :)


ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image

ROBERTHEWETTSR 5 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

Your article made me think of my dad and his sayings. I am 78 now and I enjoyed your article very much. I will be posting somewhat similar thoughts on my hubpage now and then. My dad said a man is "Once a man and twice a boy". I am seeing that wisdom more clearly these days.

Robert


J Burgraff profile image

J Burgraff 5 years ago

Aging is a blessing. Being healthy as you age is a lot of hard work, but barring unforseen disease, not impossible. I actually feel like I can focus much more on activities at hand now that I am older. Maybe it's that wisdom thing.


Duchess OBlunt 5 years ago

What a delightful article! While I might not look forward to the part of aging that affects the health, but I will look at the crows feet and wrinkles with a little more "grace" :)


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Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

ROBERTHEWETTSR, what a beautiful comment. You speak from a place that I can only speculate about now (give me a few years, and I'll be in that place with you).

I love your dad's words...there is always the child within us who needs to have that voice in life, early on or later, and maybe many times in between. The same is so for women, and thus for all of us.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

J Burgraff, I think that is the wisdom thing. It's a matter, I think, of choosing our battles, as they say...and at this age, we should be able to do that. I think you are right on the money and setting a wonderful example for others to follow.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Duchess, I don't care too much about those crow's feet, although I do cream my face daily. LOL

It is what it is. You and I are at a point which is still far removed from the aging mind I wrote about. But for us, the six Ps are appropriate: Prior planning prevents piss-poor performance. Crows' feet and wrinkles are a sign of grace, when we are ready for them. :)


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 5 years ago from USA

Sherri this is beautiful. You are full of grace. I hope I am aiming at it. I am back on Hub pages very soon, Lynn is better and this hub I chose to read was my first one and I am so thrilled. I want to read it again and again. I feel better about the tomorrows ahead. Thank you for your gentle guiding hand as always. And, look at the comments your thoughts and musings and wisdom has generated! I'm so glad you're my friend.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Marisue, I thank you for your wonderful words. I know that you and Lynn are struggling through so many things, although I would never be able to say, "I know how you feel." If this Hub makes you feel even a tiny bit better about the days ahead, then that is so much more than I ever could have asked for.

Please come back to HP soon...your voice is missed here.

Your loving friend, Sherri.


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 5 years ago from USA

"As there is no darkness without light, so there is no fear without hope, no ugliness without beauty. Although Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and senility may accompany the aging mind, there may be much beauty that gathers there as well."

If that paragraph doesn't suck the reader in, they better check their breathing. :)


AllSuretyBonds profile image

AllSuretyBonds 5 years ago

I enjoyed this article. It made me think of my older loved ones. My grandma is the only grandparent I have left and there is so much to learn from her. I do not think we will ever regret the times we shared with them talking and learning wisdom and grace.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

AllSuretyBonds, you are so lucky to have your grandma. So many have no one left. Enjoy her, learn from her...you are the nut that fell from her tree. :)


CloudExplorer profile image

CloudExplorer 5 years ago from New York City

Nicely put, I no longer think of growing older, ever since I began learning about the importance of the unseen, which is things that aren't visible to the naked eye. As years fly by people tend to grip closer to things they love, or have loved in fear of losing them.

I on the other hand have the ability to let go of things including loved ones, because whats to come is far more powerful an experience than the physical realm can hold or contain, I have eternity to look forward too, & old age is just another phase to me. I'm 36 years old today, but 125 years old at heart. Awesome Hub!!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

TY, CloudExplorer, for your thoughtful comment. It makes me think in many directions, too many to develop in this comment to yours.

Let me just say that there is another reality that we can't comprehend because we have no comfortable senses to recognize it (senses like being able to hear sounds above or below the thresholds of our ears or to see light that can't register in our eyes). And that of course brings up the questions of anti-matter and parallel universes.

I would very much like to hear from you again in 10 years, 20, and then 50 (of course, I won't be around after the 50, at least not on this plane!).


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

Well I miss having my mother. After she died, I attached myself to another old lady, a teeny little neighbor who was a heroic woman. Long story. But we became very close, we both needed one another. I learned so much from her - she had a reputation as a slightly obnoxious trouble maker, said whatever popped into her head, a totally honest person. She had troubles a plenty, but maintained her humor and personality to the end. Trips to the doctor were fun with her, she found humor everywhere.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Dolores, what a thought-provoking comment. I hope I grow into the shoes of this special older lady...being there for someone younger, being at least slightly obnoxious, and maintaining my humor. Thank you for sharing this poignant story.


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

Sometimes I wish I could take a dip in the fountain of youth, but looking back, I do appreciate the wisdom that I've gained through the years. I was lucky to have some wonderful older women in my life who were role models. Now I guess it's my turn to remember that I can be a role model for some of the younger women in my life!


Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

You sure make me feel better about coming of age! This is a well-researched and well-written hub, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks for the great read! Voted up, beautiful and interesting.


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

I love this hub. My mom aged beautifully and so much wisdom. You are right she had a wonderful aura about her too. She is gone now. but she lingers on to this day.

Thank you for such an awesome hub. Debbie


Peanutritious profile image

Peanutritious 4 years ago from Cheshire, UK

How refreshing to see such an optimistic and thoughtful response to aging. I love to listen to older people talk about their lives. I love their humour and charm too. They often have great manners that sadly many youngsters do not. They have so much to teach us and should be respected and cherished.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

@Stephanie, I also have had wonderful women in my life who were powerful role models. I think you and I have been very lucky in that regard. I have no doubt you will be "paying it forward," as I will strive to do.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

@Marcy, thank you so much for your good words. I must say, it is my mother who makes me feel good about coming of age. She is quite remarkable...if she can be this positive influence among the people with whom she engages, then I can follow in her footsteps. :)

@Debbie, I love what you say about your mom...she lingers on, and she always will. There's something about that aura in older people...once it's there in life, it will be there forever.


Shahid Bukhari profile image

Shahid Bukhari 4 years ago from My Awareness in Being.

There is a certain confusion in Secular "minds" ... when they Confuse, the Immortal Mind with the Physical, Brain ...

The Mind, per se never Ages ... its the Familiars Ageing or the coming of Age ... of the Unfamiliars.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

@Peanutritious, thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. I agree with what you say about manners. Unfortunately, etiquette is not what it used to be, and I think the lack of it makes for a much less interesting world. Our older folks are great repositories of all sorts of information, and I wish the younger ones would expend more effort in tapping the richness.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Shahid Bukhari, thank you for reminding us of the spiritual dimensions of the mind.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

this is terribly interesting, Sally. well researched. I'm 31 but I've always been drawn to and enjoyed the company of the elderly. I've always enjoyed their wisdom and sense of peace... there are very few angry old people. That's for sharing! UP and SHARING


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

PDX, thank you for your insightful comment. Folks of your age don't usually get that beauty. You are exceptional. You will pass this appreciation along to the younger people in your life, and that will be a blessing for everyone. However, if I may add a word of caution, there are plenty of angry old people. Anger can intensify through age, but that just means we have to look a little more deeply to see the beauty underneath.


sonia05 profile image

sonia05 4 years ago from india

Quite an interesting issue and wonderfully written! Aging is a natural process and it all depends on one's own attitude towards life. Being more wise and experienced and obviously seen various shades of life, the elderly are a mine of knowledge in worldly affairs. I am reminded of my granny who loved us like anything and shared so many stories of her childhood,youth and others indirectly educating us on various facets of life. I have a distant uncle,on the other hand, who is a cynic and is angry with everyone and everything. Old age is certainly different for different people. However, I have always believed that the elderly if surrounded by love of their family, will always look forward to life and even old age!

thanks for sharing a great hub!!

voted up!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

TY, sonia05 for sharing your thoughts here. I love the story of your granny and applaud you for telling it in counterpoint to your uncle's story. Not all of us will age gracefully. But I agree with you that if surrounded by love, anyone and everyone can look forward to life. :)


Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 4 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

Hi Sherri ~ I am so glad you pointed this piece out. I love your writing style. This was beautiful. I am finally at a place in life where I understand the "beauty of aging." For me currently, it has to do with the overwhelming feeling of having wisdom that I want to share with others. Of course, I wish I could go back in time for some reasons, but I like that feeling of "getting it." Thank you for the link. I would love to link this piece as well.

Sharyn


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

When we are young, we believe our heart. When we are old, we believe our mind. In our young age we are guided by emotions, as we grow old we become philosophical.

Your point of view is very interesting. I loved your work.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Sharyn, I'm so glad I found your poem and that we get to share our thoughts and feelings about aging and wisdom. Thank you for linking to here. :)


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Vinaya, thank you for your good words. I'm not sure the difference between young and old is the difference between emotions and philosophy. Perhaps, rather, it's the difference between acting on impulse and acting after consideration.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

sally, thanks. I do enjoy the company of old folks. Fortunately, in my family and circle of people I've only really met the pleasant elderly... though in can't wait to be old to tell kids to stay off my lawn.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

I read this again and found very inspiring. Everyday we age, and this is the truth we have to accept.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Amen to both you, Vinaya, and PDX. Aging is a natural and simple thing. The closer we get to the end of our lives, the more the possibility of understanding that things are what they are, no more, no less. If that means mustering the courage to tell kids to stay off the lawn, go for it! If it means a quiet and reflective time, then go for that as well. For me, aging is a time of kindness and acceptance. I did whatever I felt I had to do in earlier years. Right now, I need to sit back, observe, and reflect. If someone wants my opinion or guidance, I'm happy to do that, but only if asked. :)


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Oh this gets my complete endorsement and I'll be sharing it. I love life now at sixty-three. I'm not too fond of the changes in my body and the things I can no longer do physically, but emotionally I am in the best place of my life and I so love life now. Great read and insights!


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

Beautiful read...

I agree aging is inevitable and with age comes grace, humility and maturity.

voted up indeed!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Bill, I love your comment. I just got off the phone with my mother (who is a lot older than you and I), who was the inspiration for this hub. She's not fond of the changes in her body, but her spirit is in the best place in her life. I wish she had the net so that she could read your comment for herself and write back to you. She would say something like, "You rock!"


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

Ruchira, I'm so glad you enjoyed this read. Indeed, aging is inevitable and grace can come with it, something that doesn't happen for everyone. But maybe we younger folks, by reading comments such as yours and articles such as this, can find the promise of hope as we go through the aging process. TY so much for your comment.


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Sherri, what a fantastic hub. Read it from start to finish and it kept me intrigued and interested throughout - voted up and shared!


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

Beautiful Hub. I don't mind getting old as long as everything works OK. So far, I've been very fortunate.

I voted this Hub UP, etc.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

I simply loved this hub! And judging from the number of comments, so does everyone else!!! Just outstanding!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Sherri.....So glad I chose to do some cruising today in HubVille...I came upon this hub and it's absolutely wonderful....

Yes, aging is inevitable but does not have to be dreadful. What I'm sure of is, as long as I continually have to REMIND myself that I'm 64 and NO Spring Chick any longer....I am obviously doing many of the right things!! ..........Think I'm in denial? lol....maybe so, but who's gonna stop me? Great Grandma's can be fierce and feisty!! UP+++


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

@Julie, thank you!

@Mary, I know what you mean. So far, things are working well for me. But I've got a competitor, my 90-year-old mother. She's doing great, and if I live that long, I hope I'll be doing just as well.

@Audrey, thanks so much for your good words. :)


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

fpherj48, you are so right...if you are reminding yourself you are quite OK! We are the age we think we are. In a lot of ways, that's very good, it's positive. Yet and still today, when I look in the mirror I see myself as 16. There's a bit of denial in that (pointed out dramatically by a camera that doesn't lie), but that's how I feel. Thanks for your awesome comment.


CR Rookwood profile image

CR Rookwood 3 years ago from Moonlight Maine

This is so good. I've been thinking about this so much lately--how old age is pathologized these days in so many ways. Those dumb 'low-T' commercials for instance.

I can so relate to the part about how eight and eighty year olds have a lot in common. I was (other people said) an attractive woman when I was younger and that is going away. You know what? It's GREAT. That never got me much of any use, and it attracted lots of bad. Also when I was younger, I was trying to hard to live up to other people's expectations and to achieve something or the other. Now, not at all.

I feel like I'm getting to know who I actually am for the first time in my life. It's wonderful. I remember when the year my maternal grandmother died. Just before her death she seemed to 'bloom', that is, she practically glowed and everyone noticed it. Then she was gone, like a flower. If only we could look at life and women that way. Awesome essay, thank you.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 3 years ago from US

I like this hub. It is a wonderful experience, it is part of the beauty of life. :-)

Beautiful and well researched hub!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 3 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

CR Rookwood, I think your words speak for so many. You've gifted those who feel as you (and I) do but find it difficult to express their thoughts and feelings on this all-important aspect of life's passage--aging--from the perspective not only of reaching that time yourself but recognizing the specialness of it in someone older whom you love. This is a precious time, a time to be held to the heart.

About the 8 and the 80...those years in between are exactly as you describe: a time of spending more energy on living up to others' expectations than focusing on and nurturing ourselves.

Thanks for your awesome comment. I hope it rings the same bell in others as it rings in me.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 3 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania Author

prettydarkhorse, thank you so much for reading and commenting. I am always glad to "see" you. :)

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