Great take on getting older

As  I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself, and  less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world, too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with  aging.

Whose business is it, if I choose to read, or play, on the computer, until 4 AM,  or sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 50, 60 & 70’s,  and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a  lost love, I will.

I will walk the beach,  in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves, with abandon, if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set.
They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And, I eventually remember the  important things.

Sure, over the years,  my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break, when you lose a loved one, or when a  child suffers, or even when somebody’s beloved pet gets hit by a car? But, broken hearts are what give us strength, and understanding, and  compassion. A heart never broken, is pristine, and sterile, and will never know the joy of  being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray,  and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched  into deep grooves on my face. So many have never  laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it  is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself  anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be  wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the  person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like  it).

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Cranky old man

This story is doing the rounds on the internet and whether true or not I think it opens our eyes to how we might be treating people we see.

Next time you meet an older person, wait for them to climb slowly into the lift, count out change slowly at the checkout in front of you or simply ask you to pass something they have dropped.

They were young and vibrant like you…

Cranky Old Man…..
What do you see nurses? . . .. . .What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food .. . … . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . .’I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice . . .the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . .. . . A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . … lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . .The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking?. .Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse .you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, .. . . . as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .. . . .. . who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen . . . .. with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . .. . . a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . ..my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now . . . . .I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . .. . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . .. With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .. …Babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me . . . . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future … . . . . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .. . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man . . . . . . .. and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . . . . .. . I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living . . . . . . . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few . . .. gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.
Not a cranky old man .
Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME!!

Share the love

You know what always makes me sad?

That we need a tragic event to make us appreciate and realize how much someone meant to us. Why do we need to be jolted out of our seats to get us to look at all that we should appreciate? Are we that lost in our lives, our thoughts, ourselves?

Share the love today

It’s in your hands!

Lets make a conscious decision today to let people know how much they mean to us. Don’t wait for their eulogy to tell them about the positive impact that they had on your life – it’s no good then, they are gone. Reach out and let them know that they are special, I am sure you will make a difference in their lives and perhaps start a ripple of positivity!

“Give each clarity and meaning, each the weight of thine awareness, each its true and due fulfillment.”

Travelling!

Travel your dreams!

While travelling recently I was having a quiet evening relaxing in my hotel room when a thought came to me- why do we travel?
Seems simple enough!

But first let me qualify my terminology- to go on holiday for me means to go to one place and simply relax. Be it a beach, a spa, perhaps even a mountain chalet where you stare out at the view and sip red wine in front of the fire. No where to go and no where to be.
Travelling on the other hand is a packed trip, sights to see, museums to visit and a culture to explore.
Basically you need a holiday to get over your travelling!

So why do you travel? Is it to see as many sights as possible? Perhaps you like to immerse yourself in the culture and stay in B&B’s or people’s houses; buying food from local markets and living as they do. Or do you prefer the view from your 5 star balcony with guided tours by day?

For me it’s a question of timing and funds.
Gone are the days where back packing around Asia, moving from hostel to hostel and eating from street markets is a viable option.  I have that t-shirt.
I prefer a slightly more planned approach now. Sitting down on the computer beforehand and researching reasonable hotels, points of interest or even unusual spots off the beaten track is where the fun begins. I like to know what might be down that little ally before I venture down to find only a deserted warehouse – I clearly do not have the ‘legs’ I used to!

Exploring is one of the great pleasures of  my life, it may be half way around the world or just the next village. There is always an adventure to be had.
I hope to share a few of these trips as I go.

Spectator or participant, either way the parade of life is moving down the boulevard

Life is a paradeI know we all have a million ‘if’s and buts’ BUT either way it is a conscious decision.

Get involved in the ‘parade’ which may mean getting wet in the rain, breaking a nail, having a wardrobe malfunction or you could stand on the pavement and watch it all go right past you. Sadly, you will be in the same place watching the used balloons bop aimlessly pass you.

Of course, by joining in, the risk of something going wrong is much higher, but is it not worth it? So weigh it up.

Do you want to be safe sitting in your foldable chair on the pavement never having a story to tell, or do you want to get involved and have some fun, perhaps you will fall down, but then you will learn how to get back up again.

Of course there is nothing wrong with your choice should you want to sit on the pavement, but how about you give it a go? Grab your bag and head out on an adventure, at least then you will have a story to tell, perhaps a new friend or two or maybe you will have learnt something new!

A Letter from a Mother to a Daughter

Everyday is Mothers Day.

My darling girl, the day you see I am getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through.

If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don’t interrupt to say: “You said the same thing a minute ago”… Just listen, please. Try to remember the times when you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep.

When I do not want to take a bath, don’t be mad and don’t embarrass me. Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a bath when you were just a young girl?

And when my old, tired legs don’t let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand the same way that I offered mine to you when you first learnt to walk and when you where nervous on your first day at school.

When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don’t look at me that way… remember my angel that I patiently taught you how to do many things like eating properly, getting dressed each morning, combing your hair and dealing with life’s issues every day.

On that day you realise I am getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through.

If I occasionally lose track of what we’re talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I cannot, do not be nervous, impatient or maybe arrogant. Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you.

When those days come, do not feel sad, just be with me, and most importantly understand me while I get to the end of my life with love. I will cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared.

With a big smile and the huge love I have always had for you, I just want to say, I love you my darling daughter.

xxx

Benjamin Franklin- Continual Inspiration

We have all read about great leaders but one springs to mind and that is Benjamin Franklin. He was undoubtedly a man of action who seemed to have insatiable curiosity: A writer, diplomat, inventor and President of the United States.
I was in need of inspiration recently and found the following quotes that got the spring back in my step:

“Well done is better than well said.”

“Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.”

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”

“All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.”

“Never confuse motion with action.”

“Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.”

“To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.”

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.”

“Diligence is the mother of good luck.”

“There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.”

Who had deceived thee so often as thyself?”

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

“Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.”

I hope these will get you thinking and make sure you make the most out of every new day!

Pension age increase

So there you are with your eye on the prize… and it gets moved out of view! You check your glasses prescription, still the same. You check your date of birth, still the same. You look around at your colleagues and see them snickering… You have been duped!

I feel bad enough for the youth, but being at the start of their career or only 10 years in, you have not set your sights on the finish line. Promotions, family, many changes in job and career stand between you and retirement. But I feel for those who are 10/15 years out, it must be soul destroying.

It seems Tesco is leading the way, there always has to be a pioneer! Unions are in negotiation with the supermarket giant but it seems they are unlikely to succeed in reversing the two year increase in its retirement age. This will affect the 172,000 active staff at Tesco. Two years does not sound a lot but at 65, it certainly feels like more.

I know we are much healthier than we were before, better medical support and therefore living longer but that does not help the tired bones to get going in the morning.

The other issue is the increase in unemployment across all age groups. We are told to keep working but what if we do not have a job due to redundancy. It’s much harder to get a job at 55/60 than in your twenties.

What’s the answer? I just don’t know! But more so than ever we need to enjoy our everyday lives and not live for retirement, take the holidays you can and spend time with the children as well as grandchildren – Do not wait for retirement.

Retirement planning

A question that pops into our minds often enough is, ‘Should I spend my money now while I am still able to enjoy it, or will I regret it if I live longer than anticipated?’

‘Rather than pushing large sums into my pension plan I’m tempted to enjoy the money now. I love to walk and travel. Do I spend it now while healthy, living more frugally later? Or the other way round? Do you really need that much money when older? What’s your experience?’

This was a question posed on the Guardian website and it got me thinking…

I am tempted to say blow it now given the appalling record of pension funds. But being old and poor is a horrible thought and you might live for another 35+ years, then what?

I think the answer depends on a few factors. Do you already have a pension plan? How long will you want or be able to work for? What other assets do you have that you could draw on in old age – for example, a house that could be downsized? Portfolios sold?

Could you have planned all these wonderful things for retirement and be hit by a train a day before retirement? A case of ‘Would have, could have, should have.’

If you have the answer or some thoughts met me know. I think I will come down on the side of moderation for now, enjoy some travel but also save, I never was much of a gambler!

7 Top reasons to keep fit – important at every age

1. Increasing bone density and limiting osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is the disease that makes your bones weak and brittle. Exercise will increase your bone strength. The best kinds of exercise to make bones stronger are weight-bearing exercises like walking and resistance exercises such as lifting weights. But you don’t need to become a competitive walker or body builder. Just living an active lifestyle will help your bones stay strong. Remember you also need Vitamin D and calcium for good bone health.

2. Helps you stay independent.

The point of being active is to maintain your ability to function. Studies show that people who exercise over their lifetimes can avoid being disabled at the end of their lives. Those who don’t exercise are sure to experience more difficulty in movement later in life.

3. It increases metabolism.

Metabolism measures how your body handles and uses nutrients. Strength training increases muscle mass, which in turn raises metabolism. One benefit is that your body uses more of the calories you take in because your resting metabolic rate increases. That leads to less body fat and makes it easier to control your weight.

4. It reduces your risk for falls.

There are two reasons for this. Firstly is that exercise lets you practice keeping your balance and reacting to things around you. The second is that exercise can help arrest a natural decline in muscle fitness. Exercise will keep your muscles fit and alert.

5. Flexible.

Putting your body through the full range of movement helps keep it flexible. These activities do not need to be structured; any kind of activity is going to produce results. Some examples include: walking instead of driving, or raking leaves instead of using a blower.

6. It is a reason to be sociable.

Exercise groups are a great way to meet people. Because one of the best strategies for increasing your activity is to do it in a group, exercise can lead to new friends. Check at the local community center or local health club for special exercise groups for seniors. Why not also ask your friends to join you.

7. It improves your mood.

Exercise is good for your mind. Studies show it reduces depression. It can also lift your self-esteem!

Always remember to consult your doctor before undertaking any new exercise.