Growing Old Gracefully
- POSTED ON: Jun 28, 2016


 

We start out young. 
If we stay alive long enough, we get old. 
Then we die.
This is the inescapable truth about Life.


When I think of growing old gracefully, the image of Aunt Bee of Mayberry comes to mind.  Aunt Bee’s common and comfortable look was similar to most of the older ladies in my 1950’s childhood world.  And I don't know anyone who doesn't love the warm and caring character portrayed as Aunt Bee.



During past times, it seemed to be common knowledge that it was appropriate for young people to look fresh and trim, and for older people to be comfortable in their own plump skin, wrinkles and all.

But, Nowadays….

The article below says it really wel
l.


Growing Old Gracefully?
         by Patricia Brozinsky

What does it mean to "grow old gracefully?"  I recently saw a television commercial which gave me the idea for this article.

In the commercial a dermatologist and his wife, a psychotherapist, emphasize that they want to "grow old gracefully" thus explaining the reason they each swallow 25 supplements per day.

I don't believe swallowing pills will make us graceful, which is defined as “lithe, agile, dainty, pretty, delicate, handsome and trim”. Thus, their meaning of "growing old gracefully" eluded me.

Unless we die young most of us will eventually look old. And, people who look old …. gray haired and wrinkled, gnarled arthritic fingers and toes, bent over from osteoporosis, and because of age-related-slow-metabolism or water retention have gained weight …. are regrettably not considered among the in-group who are "growing old gracefully." These poor folks are rarely portrayed in the commercials.

So, does "growing old gracefully" really mean to "look good," and "to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye”?

Let's never forget the precious message of the fox from, Antoine de Saint-Exupery's children's book, The Little Prince. The fox said, "What is essential is invisible to the eye."

Being lithe, agile, dainty, pretty, delicate, handsome and trim are qualities usually no longer available to the elderly among us. Let's face it even some younger members of society will never possess these qualities.

So, maybe now is a good time for us to reconsider what's important in life. Suddenly my mind fills with an the images of: being gracious; accepting conditions; being charitable; acting kindly; caring; having compassion; behaving lovingly; and being generous. These are but a few of the many ways to express "grace". Then the phrase "growing old gracefully" would metamorphose into "growing old with grace".

The implication from advertisements is that to "grow old gracefully"  you must have few if any wrinkles (you've had a face-lift, Botox or collagen injections), your hair has color (because you dye it- highlights and low-lights), you're thin (probably had liposuction, diet fanatically, and spend all your time at the gym), you have great physical prowess (good for you - for now), your body is well proportioned (you work out and diet excessively or you've had implants), and you swallow upwards of 25 supplements per day (hey, someone has to fund the industry).

"Growing old with grace" means knowing your limitations and shifting your activities when your aging body cries out "enough!" as it begs you to change from the strenuous sport your ego loves, to an activity it can more easily tolerate.

And, more importantly, grace would mean that you would finally accept your new limitations.

Maybe "growing old with tolerance" would be an even more accurate way to describe what our society craves. This would mean that we would grow old and become broadminded, open-minded, lenient, accepting and patient.

According to Erik Erikson, the German psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on human social development, our lifetime spans eight stages.  Stage 8 involves age 65 to death - Integrity vs. Despair, where the optimal potential solution is "Wisdom," which, among other things, is the acceptance of one's life.

“Wisdom” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “knowledge, insight and judgment”. I do do not believe that swallowing supplements would ever provide any of us with the quality of  "wisdom".

Nowadays, when people say they want to "grow old gracefully" they really mean that as the years pass and their birthdays tell the story of their timeline, that they will do anything to look young and convince others to believe that they are young.

In the 2010s, age is unfortunately seen as a curse.
And, the greater evil is that we do not venerate our elderly.


Is there anything graceful about desperately clinging to youth - causing us to swallow 25 pills per day, subjecting our bodies to cosmetic surgery, obsessively exercising, fanatically dieting, sometimes binging and purging, wearing clothes designed for adolescents, and even mimicking the verbal expressions, facial and hand gestures of the youth - the very generation born to replace us?

So what does 'growing old gracefully' really mean? 

Examine your reasons for dieting and exercising until you're a size one for an aging woman and a 32 waist for an aging man;
Examine why you would subject your body to a myriad of cosmetic surgical procedures;
Examine why you would purchase all kinds of anti-wrinkle creams; 
Examine why you would wear tight low-cut Capri-pants that expose your belly, along with midriff tops that expose your upper "six-pack" abdomen.

Are you really 'growing old gracefully'?

Or, as the years pass, which they do for everyone
(if you're lucky), and the adding machine calculates (which it does) is your psyche really denying the meaning behind all this?

...That no matter how desperately you cling to youth, you will die.

...We all die.


'What does 'growing old gracefully' mean to you? And, what do you suppose it means to others who are aging as you are aging?


Does the mirror, mirror on the wall really tell it all?

Are you really "growing old gracefully" at sixty years old, when WHAT you see in the mirror looking back at you is "yourself at forty"?

Whom have you really deceived - are you really still forty?

Or, when you lie in your coffin will you merely be masquerading as a forty year old?
And, those who attend your wake, waiting their turn, whisper among themselves how well-preserved you are!


There’s an old saying:  "A rose is a rose is a rose." I believe that our chronological age ........ despite our body's appearance, despite the sums of money we spend, the amount of exercise we do, or amount of self-denial we engage in, ........... remains our chronological age.

In other words, "Your age is your age is your age."
And, no matter what you do, you can't fool Mother Nature!


Patricia Brozinsky, Ph.D. is a New York psychotherapist. She co-authored along with James A. Gibson, "Eat or Be Eaten: The Truth About Our Species, the Marriage of Darwin and Machiavelli," a book about human behavior.
 


Resolve the Problem: Get a Larger Pet Door.
- POSTED ON: Jun 27, 2016

I Love Fat Cats.
Wish I could
love my own fat
that same way.

 


Similar, but Different
- POSTED ON: Jun 25, 2016


Concerned About Your Fat-Loved-One's Health?
- POSTED ON: Jun 23, 2016


I totally agree with the
great article below.
I wish everyone could read & understand this.

 

If You’re Concerned About
Your Fat-Loved-One’s Health

                 by Ragen Chastain,
                     @ danceswithfat


This is a question I get a lot, and I got it five times yesterday so it seems like it’s time to blog about it. It goes something like this:


“We love our fat [loved one], but we’re concerned about their health.
We think they need to lose
[insert number of pounds.]  
How do we tell them that we love them as they are,
but we are afraid for their health,
and we want them to be around for a long time?”


I know that people dealing with this have the best of intentions, and I know that they are living in a society that encourages them to do this. Still, I think it’s something to think over very, very carefully.

First, consider that there is not a single study of any weight loss method where more than a tiny fraction of people actually lose weight, and the weight they lose is typically a few pounds.

The odds of actually losing a lot of weight and maintaining that are basically lottery odds, gaining back the weight is a near certainty, and a majority of people gain back more than they lost,
so if you’re worried about the person’s weight now, suggesting that they attempt weight loss might actually be the worst possible advice that you can give.


To take that a step farther, I would suggest that everyone who wants to be involved in this intervention ask themselves the following:

"Why do I think that this adult isn’t capable of making decisions for their own health?  Have they asked that folks comment on their body size/health/choices? Do I think they haven’t heard the (highly questionable) messages that thinner is better? Do I feel that I have some accurate expert information that they haven’t heard before?"

Hint:  The answer to this last question is almost certainly “no.”
And, If you’re planning to quote Dr. Oz, you’re making a horrible mistake.


How are you going to bring this up?  Say your intended script out loud – have someone say it to you.

I think you’ll find that there is really no way to say We think you’re going to die if you don’t do something that nobody has proven is possible, for a reason that nobody has proven is valid, and that would really be a bummer for us that isn’t offensive or hurtful.

If you are still thinking about speaking with with this person, I would think long and hard about what information/options you think you can actually offer that they haven’t already heard, and if  your unsolicited advice in this matter is really likely to do anything other than rack them with guilt and shame that may be with them for the rest of their lives, or lead them to do something truly dangerous (and possibly deadly) like drugs, stomach amputation surgery, or medical contraptions, or worse. If your discussion drives this person to dangerous or self-harming behaviors, how will you feel about that?

Are you really prepared to accept the consequences, and your responsibility for them? Remember that you can’t take this conversation back.

Once you tell someone that you have a problem with their size (even if it’s “just about their health”), you’ve let them know that you are judging them for the body they live in 100% of the time, and for what you perceive their habits, behaviors, and health to be
.

It’s possible that, no matter how good your intentions, this may drive a wedge between you as they now assume that every time they see you,  you are judging their body/health/behaviors, and it may create a situation where they are no longer comfortable being around you. That’s a completely valid response on their part to you choosing to share your judgment, unsolicited opinions, and inexpert advice with them.

Be aware that you may ruin your relationship with this person, and if that happens it’s on you, for busting out the unsolicited, unwanted judgment and advice.  

From a personal perspective, I am “Type 3 – Super Obese” It’s as fat as you can get on the BMI chart, a category above “Morbidly Obese” and if my family members came at me to tell me that they had made up a number of pounds they thought I needed to lose to be healthy, so I didn’t bum them out by dying, suggesting the same things that I’ve heard and tried already, I would be pissed off, and it might ruin those relationships completely.

Basically, I assume that if someone actually wants my opinion about their size, health, habits, or anything else, I will be among the very first people to know. Until them, I don’t make it my business.



No amount of time is ever guaranteed with any loved one. 
I would recommend enjoying the time you have with someone,
and not jeopardizing your relationship for a conversation
that’s not likely to have any benefit,
and could do some serious harm.


I Am On My Way
- POSTED ON: Jun 21, 2016


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