HOW OLD DO YOU FEEL? ARE YOU AN ADULT YET? – Marilyn Armstrong

Fandango’s Provocative Question #71

From Fandango:

“You’re probably familiar with the old expression, “You’re only as old as you feel.” Or maybe you’ve been told by someone at some point to “act your age.” Or perhaps you, yourself, when asked your age, have said, “Age is just a number.”

Well, that brings me to this week’s provocative question(s).”

Right now, I feel like at least 112, going on 150. Some days, I feel as young as 90.

Really, I’m 73 and this part is all about my body. I’ve had cancer twice and lost both breasts. I had ulcers and lost my stomach. Twice. I had my spine fused when I was 19 and since then, my S-1 (that’s the very bottom of your vertebrae on which the rest of your vertebrae purportedly rest) broke. The L3-4-5 vertebrae were fused and while the fusions are functional, they aren’t sturdy.

My DIL asked me what I was going to do about it. I had no answer. There isn’t anything to do. I’ve already had surgery. No quality surgeon will go near it. The entire spine, top to bottom is calcified. I’m not happy about the further breakage at the base because it has further limited movement.

I took Melanie’s advice and got a cane. It’s unnecessary in the house, but I think it might be useful outside, especially on uneven ground. Buying it was my version of optimism since we aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. I’m hoping it will keep me from falling but given my ability to entangle myself in things, it might make it worse. I guess I’ll (eventually) find out.

But that’s all physical stuff. My brain is a whole different department. Aside from forgetting every third word in a given sentence, I’m pretty sharp. Under any other circumstances — like living in a nation with a proper government — I would say my brain hasn’t passed 40 yet, but since Trumpy-Door took office, I feel a lot older. I feel mentally tired like I’ve run a marathon only to discover that I’ve got another to run.

This isn’t going to be a relaxed retirement. This isn’t going to be chilling out into old age, enjoying the little things and each other. Financial stressors, worries about Garry as his age begins to slow him down. And wondering how my son will manage as he ages.

I’m confused, too. I thought we’d begun to make progress as I was going from child to woman and from woman to crone.


The Ancient Crone

by Anya Silverman – “The Crones Counsel, Celebrating Wise Women”:

ancient-croneThe mythological Crone comes to us from the mists of ancient times in the part of the world we now know as the Middle East, Greece, and the Balkans. Many people now believe that in the Paleolithic era (c.30,000 – 10,000 BCE) the goddess was revered as one all-encompassing mother goddess who controlled birth, death, and rebirth. As patriarchy began to arise after c.7000 BCE, this concept began to change as women themselves became increasingly under the dominion of men. The one mother goddess image was split into three aspects reflecting the stages of women’s lives – maiden, mother, and crone. The crone goddess represented the older woman aspect of a woman’s life.”


GROWING UP

When I was in my 20s, we had friends who were in their fifties. I asked them how — and when — they knew they had grown up. They said they would let me know when they figured it out.

I don’t know when it happened, but sometime during the past 20 years, I grew up. I am adulterated.

What age am I? Old, cynical, skeptical, and sad. A crone with a negative attitude and just a hint of optimism, safely stored in a closet.

THERE’S ALWAYS MORE GROWTH AHEAD

I’m not done, butI’m slowing down. It’s hard to move, difficult to get up in the morning. or fall asleep at night. I’d love to be around long enough to see the world moving forward and fixing the things wrong with it, but I don’t know that I have enough time. This isn’t going to be an overnight fix.

There is so much that needs to be done. I would like to be a part of it.

16 thoughts on “HOW OLD DO YOU FEEL? ARE YOU AN ADULT YET? – Marilyn Armstrong

  1. That sentence: I feel mentally tired like I’ve run a marathon only to discover that I’ve got another to run….. I’m so gonna own that one – but although I feel the same many times a week, I also know that, not being the sportive type, I won’t be able to REALLY explain that I get you, as the very minute I’d utter above sentence, everybody will burst out in a laughing out loud moment…..
    I often wondered why I have so little understanding for the long-winded sentences of my dear husband – now I know. I already did ONE marathon not blowing a fuse during his ‘intro’ to the intro, knowing that I won’t be able to do a send marathon 😉
    So, I’ll try to say a bit less often: You tire me out before I can think fully about what you say…. and take maybe a deep, a VERY deep breath – instead!

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  2. I think that to some extent we’re emotionally “only as old as we allow ourselves to be.” Bodily frailties including of the brain), aside, as long as we continue to think, we have the ability to determine our mental age. Wisdom is also a part of the aging process — how we use the brain is important throughout life.

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    • Yes, that is true, but there does come a point when pain and inability to do things you used to do pile up and after a while, you have to give in and realize you aren’t going to do those things anymore. It’s not giving up, but it is giving in. To reality. I don’t believe that life is what you want it to be, dreams and wisdom notwithstanding. I think I use my brain surprisingly well and often. My body? That’s another issue.

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      • When I was 16, it was a very good year..and I longed to be an adult.

        Now I’m 78…in the autumn of my years…and wish I wuz 16 again.

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  3. When people would ask me how old I was, I would answer “Ageless.” Now, in my nineties, I feel the same. Part of me is still relives teenage years. Part of me is in my thirties and forties, and part of me is in the present. I enjoy them all. My friends are twenty and thirty and forty years younger than I so I’m pretty sure I won’t lose them. I live in a house built by my family that I love and with a daughter I love most of all.Yes, i have some more less serious health problems, but I’m not in pain and I consider myself lucky. I’ve seen a lot of history in my life span, but nothing as disturbing as the present administration or the coronavirus. These are difficult days, but we shall survive as a civilization. I believe love makes the world go around, and we need more and more of distributed daily in acts of kindness and generosity to one another.

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    • I got up this morning and took a look at the news. Although I have gotten used to bad news, I was astonished at HOW MUCH bad news was contained in one single article. I didn’t even get to the bottom. Every time I think there’s hope, it gets squashed. I don’t see a lot of love going around. I know everyone is talking about the heroes who went and cared for the ill, many of whom died for their efforts. But here? What I see are a lot of angry people who aren’t even sure why they are angry. We can’t even get groceries delivered. Or medicatioins. Nothing. No volunteers, no helping hands, not even a ride to a hospital. It doesn’t warm my heart. Love might make the world go round, but I’d need to see a little love first.

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  4. What great answers!! We can all use a bit of your attitude and sharpness of wit as we age. I’m fairly sure I won’t go ga-ga as I age – family history tells me that although my family (maternal) deteriorates physically, the brain keeps ticking right along. Except if we get incredibly old (to me) like my last surviving auntie on my mother’s side. She’s 99+ and she doesn’t know who or where she is most of the time. I’m not planning on sticking around to be that great age, so I doubt it will be a problem. I have long been fascinated with the maiden, the mother, and the crone idea. Such a great way of putting the cycle…. 🙂

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  5. I know I’m an adult because, when I look in the mirror, I see an old man looking back at me. But when I’m not looking in the mirror, aside from the physical aches and pains and limitations associated with getting older, I don’t feel much different than I did decades ago. Even in my dreams each night, I’m younger than I am am each morning when I wake up.

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