The Journey - Chapter 1
A Look At Aging
It's a special journey which began with our birth, now taking us into our "Golden Years". In all our times, we're different, individuals, - each bringing along a distillate of the preceding years, each with rich experiences and loves, families and others whose lives were touched, with lessons learned and wisdom attained which the years bestowed. Let us share some of it with you now and here, in our questions and their answers which will follow.
This is Chapter 1 of 16 Chapters written by 16 hub authors. A new Chapter was published by a participating author, through Chapter 16 and are linked to each other at the bottom of each hub.
I was chosen to kick off this fascinating series on Aging because, at 80 and quick-stepping forward, I am the most - er - mature member of the team. So I hereby claim the privilege of my antique immunity for anything I say or place here on my kickoff hub or in my answers to the others' questions!
At any age!
______© Nellieanna H. Hay
Seeing darkly - gone.
I see face to face.
The soul glows brightly
All about the dream
Whilst light's stream
Does dimness replace
As I move along
My golden journey's pace.
______© Nellieanna H. Hay
What have you expected of life so far and how do you expect it to continue?
My answer: Expectation played scant role when I was young. At the ranch every June till September, I joined in timeless existence, days’ beginnings marked by roosters crowing and coffeepot brewing on wood cook stove, where a pot of frijoles simmered on another burner. Days' endings were marked by sounds of livestock and people settling in, kerosene lamps lit by which to eat frijoles and cornbread before retiring. Times of intense expectation were when Daddy was to come from town. If he didn't arrive when expected, it was unbearable. That happened if Devil's River flooded and the highway bridge was washed away. As I grew, projects and semesters begun and completed measured time. During WWII, I lived in expectation of my brother’s return from duty.
I hoped to be heard by elder siblings occasionally, but - unlikely; I didn't hold my breath. I proceeded with my own projects and plans; that way, I was assured of outcomes. Growing up, challenges brought more to expect, but I'd internalized an internal serenity which focused on the now, doing what could be DONE rather than expecting something other than good outcomes. Often, they came.
It's likely to continue for my next 20 or so years!
His answer: My expectations of life are, that I as a human being can and will do whatever I can to help others and to do what I can to help guide the world toward a better future. Further, I expect that not only myself, but every person should strive to do the same. This is not realistic in every case, but it is valuable and I hope in some small way that it comes to fruition.
Mark Weller (Curiad)
His answer: When I was a younger man I didn’t expect my life would improve from the hand I was dealt. However once I met my mentor at 15 my whole world changed and he opened up doors for me that I thought were permanently closed. I expected so much as my teacher taught and I listened and absorbed his scholarly wisdom. He was a senior at the time just turning sixty and here I am now turning into a senior as well. I expect my life will continue on the learning curve, as I am so dedicated to staying healthy and an active senior thirsting for each new day. For me it all starts with attitude, as a senior if I want to wallow in depression I can do that easily enough. But knowing that father time is ticking away and I am on the other side of the mountain watching the sunset, I want to live a life of helping younger people achieve some of their goals from the many lessons taught to me by my teachers in life. Let’s all as seniors keep a healthy attitude and it will definitely pay us dividends.
Her answer: I began this journey with high hopes and dreams, convinced by my grandmother I was destined for something special. Then, Life happened; my pathway evolved through bumps, potholes, 45-degree turns and major detours.
Higher education was postponed for marriage and motherhood. The marriage ended, but produced my beloved children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
As a “displaced homemaker” in the ‘70s, I ventured to college and the workplace. Another crossroad: choosing a career path later than ‘norm’. For more than a quarter century that choice provided stability and fulfillment.
Then my journey morphed again—twice. I remarried…and divorced. A serious accident ended my career abruptly. Both events led me to appreciate “silver lining” theories. Marriage brought me to the right place to care for Mother in her dotage, an immeasurable blessing. Early retirement gave me time and opportunity to pursue creative writing.
What did I learn from these twists and turns? Informed decisions are best, but results are not guaranteed.
Flexibility is a trait I developed of necessity; it serves me well. I believe it will do so as long as I live. Pine trees sway in a strong wind without breaking; so do I.
So, thankfully, do I.
Her answer: The funny thing is, I've never expected anything from life. I think I've just looked at it as my life and what happens is what I deal with. Of course I'd like to be a millionaire, but that's not happening. I'd like to be healthy and for the most part I am. I want my family to be happy and healthy and so far they are.
I guess I don't have a lot of expectations. The main thing I want from life is the love I am surrounded with and the ability and health to enjoy it as long as I possibly can.
His answer: I have several times in life thought that the path ahead was clear and would be a matter of progressing along that path for the duration. For good or for ill, however, circumstances change, other people change, you change as you mature (which is a long process and another subject). Change is a fact of life. So, those earliest expectations were not met with success, and a Plan B evolved, interrupted by the draft and an unwanted but broadening experience in the U.S. Army for two years. I did not, early on, have the expectation of a college education, but started college at the age of 29, and finished in three years. I had a goal of teaching at the college level. Again, change came. Sometimes these life-altering experiences were instigated by me, others came as a surprise.
I had not expected to be a parent, yet became one at age 48, to a wonderful daughter. Then I was, overnight, a single parent 6 years later . I expected to be married once, for life. Married more than once, I now have a relationship that is loving and reciprocal.
Whether due to poor planning on my part or chance, reinvention seems to be a theme. I am again in that process now. Do I expect it to continue? Yes, I learn every day; I explore every day. I could have planned better, anyone can, but the winds of change blow from every direction.
His answer: As a child, I expected love and to be taken care of. My expectations were always met, though I didn't understand being scolded for climbing so high in trees. As a teenager, my expectations evolved a bit because I was given responsibilities like mowing the yard and other chores around the house. My expectations were marked with a price. The free ride was over.
I soon had my first real job working at a local Pepsi Cola bottling plant. I expected to keep that job forever at the time....but...I found I could make twice as much money in a compressor factory. I expected my new job to be wonderful and after the first night of work....I hated it! Three months later I took a job at another factory. I expected it to be better and it was but I still hated working in that type of environment. I simply began to accept my situation.
I worked through the weeks and chased girls on the weekends. In those days, Friday night to Sunday night was earmarked for party time. I expected to find lovers at and did. Finding love was a whole different search. I expected love to hit me like a bolt of lightning and it did, but it wasn't until I was 33 years old....it happened!
After falling head over heels, I expected the bliss of love's winds to sail us into the bright beautiful future. Somehow...too soon...I was back mowing the yard. It wasn't long before I was yelling at our children to get out of trees and having them mow the yard. I expected the same frowns that I had given my parents....our kids didn't let me down.
Now we have grandchildren and I smile when I see the same circle of life spinning in their lives. I've always expected love, work and enjoying the fruits of our labors. I expect it will continue because I care enough to have expectations.
Her answer: When I was very young, I found life to be amazing, mysterious, and powerful. What was this secret pulse that ran through my kitten, animating it in a way that could never happen to my doll? I came to the conclusion that it was more than just a gift; it was a rare and precious privilege to breathe and move and think. Try as I might, my crayons and scissors could create nothing in comparison. One day, as I watched my hand move a paintbrush across the paper to create something with colour, form and depth, I had a moment of realization. If such a simple thing as a paintbrush could work such wonders, if it could create the illusion of a three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional surface, just imagine what a living, breathing girl could do! There it was: the answer. Without me, the piano is silent. Without me, the canvas lies stark white. So my answer is, I expect nothing of life but I do expect if of myself. I am the paintbrush and the keyboard come alive. My life is a creation of joys and sorrows, sunlight and shadows, melodic runs and heart-wrenching minor keys. My days will continue as they will. My joy in life will continue as long as I will.
His answer: I have, as of late, stop expecting so much at this point of my life. When I was 35, I expected to retire from a noble profession with a title of being "the best," at something. I was not greedy. I didn't want all of the good things, just one: to be "the Best," at something so I could tell my grandkids how I achieved that goal. But now, with my physical obstacles, being "the Best," is out of reach. I am now just content to "be."
Her answer: I have always expected life to be basically good if you worked hard, made good choices, and trusted God to lead you in the right way. Pretty much that is the way it has worked out, with a few exceptions.
What has been surprising for me is to find out that you can do all those things, and bad things will still sometimes happen. There have always been some bumps along the road, but I never expected the road to lead over the edge of a cliff – and turns out – sometimes it does.
From this point on, I expect to be less surprised by the twists and turns in my road. And I’m now packing an emotional parachute for those unexpected cliffs. I don’t expect I’ve seen the last of those. But as the saying goes: Where God leads, He provides.
His answer: Honestly, my expectations have been few; I think this trend will continue throughout life’s duration. Although not expecting anything but death and taxes here, I’m filled with blessed hope: Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” My faith rests upon Christ’s promises; my confidence in Him provides courage and hope.
Courage gained from following Christ allows surviving and thriving on a planet lacking guarantees. A student of history, I’m aware that many people of antiquity set sites on lofty goals, only to get them shot down eventually, or saw expectations bear fruit, but surrendered temporal gains to the grave.
I believe two greatest causes of life’s disappointment are unrealistic and unfulfilled expectations; best to avoid them like Plague. Living by the “Golden Mean” and the “Golden Rule”, I don’t expect others to follow suit. Believing in a loving and all-powerful Creator, I don’t expect others to share my beliefs. Believing that to have a true friend one must be a true friend, I don’t expect others to agree.
Living many years, I’ve concluded that the safe presumptions are birth and death…further expectation is mere speculation, wishful thinking. It’s one reason I’ve set my sites on the hereafter, placing all my eggs in Christ’s basket. Although this world is rife with death, disease, evil, greed, hunger, sin, sickness, suffering, uncertainty and violence, I know God will fulfill His promises. I expect nothing less from Him.
Her answer: By twelve I was aware that my parents had lost a lot in life, so I expected my life to be hard, filled with obstacles and challenges. But my parents also had resilient personalities, strong moral character, and an abiding faith in God. So I expected to navigate the ups and downs of life; to have disloyal friends and friends who were closer than a brother, to be bitterly disappointed and to be amazingly blessed, to give up much and to receive much, to endure turbulence and to enjoy peace, to be bent low under the weight of great sorrow and to dance and sing with great joy. My life has not been easy, and often I was not happy. But I was content, determined, able to endure the bad long enough to see the coming of the good, and I experienced much joy. I expect the future will mirror the past; there will be hard times to endure and there will be contentment, friendship, the love of children, joy, beauty, language, music – there will be many good gifts.
His answer: For me, expectations are one of those evolving elements of maturity. As I've said to my children, it's not so much that we continue to acquire more knowledge as we age, but we just gain more perspective and understanding of distinctions. Dealing with expectations is one of those. When I was in my twenties, I expected certain things to be absolutes - that I'd always have solid relationships, that my career and life choices would come together, etc. and I was impatient waiting for it to "happen" as I grew older. In my thirties, I began thinking about the larger span of life and what I wanted to see happen - we had children, things started taking shape, etc. Then came the slap-in-the-face forties, where I began seeing some of the consequences of my earlier actions or inactions, and in many ways, it stopped me in my tracks. As I move closer to my fifties, I'm gaining a more peaceful perspective of the natural order of things, which I'm happy to say I'm looking forward to experiencing.
Greg (aka: Gerg)
His answer: Expectations lead to disappointments. From childhood through early adulthood, I was unaware that others’ expectations and the interconnected and interdependent world could be negative.
There are reasonable expectations. Boarding public transportation, I’ve essential trust in the vehicles’ operators being sober, competent, skillful and attentive necessary to protect my well-being throughout the journey, a reasonable expectation generally taken for granted.
Traveling life’s journey, we share reasonable expectations of others’ civility. Human nature’s exceptions to rules range from rude behavior to antisocial outbursts to criminal, psychopathic violence. We’ve reasonable expectation of law enforcement personnel’s protecting us from aberrant behavior outside society’s norms and government’s roles to secure public safety.
I entered marriage with unreasonable expectations. These expectations had roots in religious, cultural traditions which I’d accepted and personally adopted. Marital gender roles were narrowly defined in my family; not in hers. Divorce was an option in her family; not in mine. Mine was the first divorce recorded on our family tree. I expected my wife to tolerate any behavior of mine and remain in the marriage. I was wrong; expectations led to disappointment.
We may expect our ‘others’ to read minds, to know our wants, needs, struggles and boundaries without our expressing them. We’re disappointed when our needs are unmet or our boundaries violated. believing ‘they should know better’. They should not and cannot.
Since releasing unreasonable expectations, I’m rarely disappointed. I’m happier and intend to continue being happy whatever my circumstances.
His answer: I know that I've always wanted some sort of security, especially in such things as employment, health care, and personal freedom. I'm 76 now and retired and have had all these things, but can't recall that I expected them early on. I just kept breathing and the days passed by. I expect my pension income and health care to continue. More than anything else today is that I want to enjoy the love and caring that comes with having children. I was married quite young and helped raise four sons. They all share my love of the great outdoors and our great natural resources. I now have ten grandchildren and a great grandson. It's a good life.
His answer: I suppose my expectations have changed with the years. The idealism of my youth expected life to be fair. The years have taught me that life is anything but fair. Bad things happen to good people and I am left to reason why or to make lemonade, as they say, from lemons. It isn’t cynicism with which I walk the road ahead. It is in the knowledge that life owes me nothing. That leaves me with hope instead of expectation. Whatever I am left with in the end, is made from ruin and rubble, put back together with a refusal to surrender and clothed in the love of those around me. I expect that life will fall, with equal measure, both in rain and in glorious sun upon my life. I’ve learned that sunlight is better reflected in people than in the collection of things. I’ve learned that the love around us is our umbrella when it rains and I’ve learned that umbrellas come in different sizes. Life isn’t fair, but, if you get a big umbrella, you don’t notice it as much!
Holding on to our dreams ~ and living them!
I add this music in my George's memory. At 70+, he's wearing his Hay tartan cap, given him at retirement, 'swooshing' a sip of margarita, cruising San Antonio's Riverwalk one pleasant October day. He lived to 86; never lost his zest for LIFE, - - a full and golden journey!
Though he'd have preferred it to have continued, he lived it fully, departed it courageously.
The 16 participants who compose this Journey, each with his or her own hub for each of its Chapters, have 2 things in common: 1) all are fellow Hubber-writers and 2) all are 'of an age' to qualify to speak first-hand on the subject of AGING.
No stereotypes link us; no prerequisite viewpoints, backgrounds or beliefs, no predictable circumstances unite us. Each expresses his or her honest, real perceptions gleaned and garnered from his or her unique experience called LIFE so far. We aren't all at the same stage in the Journey - the aging process. We range from AARP-eligible age (50s) to the eldest (80s). So there is no single type of question posed nor 'politically correct' answer given them. They arise from our hearts.
Yet, though not of one mind, we have demonstrated a deep human kindred spirit as we've risen to the envisioned idea of our Alan Berry (aka: arb) to lovingly collaborate on a project with lofty goals, to be brought to light and forefront by a true cross-section of real people willing to share moments of our lives' highlights with each other and with YOU, 'paying it foreword' and leaving tracks, for whatever value and enjoyment to be derived from them,
I promise, you won't be disappointed! By following-up with each LINK as the Chapters are being added day by day during most of July, you'll find a treasure-trove of thought and authenticity spread before you! So, - please return to open the NEXT Chapter on or following its publish date; and so on through the series!
Some chapters no longer exist. Just skip to the next one that does.
Table of Contents: THE JOURNEY ~ A Look At Aging
- The Journey - Chapter 1 What have you expected of life so far and how do you expect it to continue?
- The Journey - Chapter 2 Based upon your years lived, what message would you share with those that follow?
- The Journey - Chapter 3 What have we learned in aging, which could extend the years remaining?
- The Journey - Chapter 4 At this point in our lives, can we reverse damage already done by poor health choices we made along the way, or are we to suffer the consequences as we age?
- The Journey - Chapter 5 What is this thing called aging. Does it come with benefits?
- The Journey - Chapter 6 Is anything fore-ordained, is it destiny or is everything random?
- The Journey - Chapter 7 Assuming that we can be partly measured by how many people we have loved in our lives, including those we have lost, have the number of those you really love, Increased or decreased and why?
- The Journey - Chapter 8 Knowing what you know now, if you could return to your twenties, would you make the same choices or would you do things differently?
- The Journey - Chapter 9 In life we meet all kinds of people. Some seem to have it all together, never sad and always happy. New things and challenges seem just another trophy for them. Do you ever feel, in looking back, confused or if you missed something in your life?
- The Journey - Chapter 10 Our children following behind face choices we once confronted, become adults, less dependent; our relationships change. What works for you to help them? How has it affected present relationships?
- The Journey - Chapter 11 If you could write a script that described your life, what was its driving force or the principle which gave you direction. Is it what you want to be remembered for?
- The Journey - Chapter 12 Growing older involves diminishment or compromise in physical abilities or eventually will. We must consider that our lives won't stretch out endlessly. How do these realities affect how you live yours?
- The Journey - Chapter 13 What was your most important, fork - n - the road - moment? With the wisdom that comes with experience, would you make the same choice? Why or why not?
- The Journey - Chapter 14 Does your belief system include an afterlife or reincarnation which provides you hope that your spirit will survive the passing of your body?
- The Journey - Chapter 15 Eventually we reach a place or an age & know time is not the friend it used to be; we're faced with what may remain of gradually decreasing physical abilities. What will you do to prepare for this eventuality?
- The Journey - Chapter 16 If I were granted something to keep from youth and something to keep from age, what two things would I keep and why?
© 2012 Nellieanna Hay