Archive for January, 2013

The Problem With Getting Older

Posted on: January 29th, 2013 by Donna 1 Comment

In A Song in Every Silence I wrote about date rape, abortion, an unwed mother and adoption. With little knowledge of women of similar experiences, I told only my story. I never tire of sharing this story; it’s filled with hope and living examples of God’s grace. I’m thrilled if readers or audience members share their thoughts.

As a new author, I take advice seriously. Before the book came out, I established a web site and began a blog. I wrote about fun things. Occasionally I tackled a topic of some importance. I made mild suggestions, but I didn’t have the audacity to direct any readers. And then I learned a blog is advice or information offered by an expert in a particular field. Gadzooks! The only expertise I possessed was that of a mother, a wife, a nurse and a teller of stories.

This month Echo Garrett of My Orange Duffle Bag fame suggested I focus my blog; hence, the departure from my usual post to something almost everyone lives through, for a while at least. I’m committed to writing stories about aging, its challenges, and how to address some of them to avoid the dreaded Nursing Home. Although quite gray haired myself, I can hardly come forth as an expert, but this topic is close to my heart. In fact, it’s the center of my next book. The suggestions and observations I keep come from my experience as a daughter, a daughter-in-law, a nurse, and a certified assisted living administrator. There’s nothing quite like having one hundred and ten parents to teach you things few others share.

You’ve most likely heard the expression “You’re as young as you feel.” While researching this book I asked more than one hundred ladies and gentlemen with varying degrees of gray in their hair, “How old do you think of yourself as being?” The majority said they felt ten to fifteen years younger than their real age. Many felt more than twenty years younger, although they elbowed one another and laughed adding, “Until I tried to do something physical I used to do without thought.” Some would ruefully say it depended upon the weather, what they were doing at the time of the introspection, or if they were ill. Some remarked how glancing at themselves in a mirror caught them off guard. “Who’s that old (lady/geezer)?”

I don’t recall my mother ever lamenting getting old. She lived to be ninety-three, and even though bed-ridden the last four years of her life, she maintained her wit and a sense of wonder at each day. Caring for her during that time, I had many opportunities to tell her how much I loved her; how I’d miss her when she died. She answered, “I know. My mother told me when she was in her eighties that she still missed her mother.”

Mom loved to warn me, “Just you wait. When I was your age I’d go in to a room and wonder, ‘What did I come in here for?’” I told her I was doing that (on occasion) in my fifties. She’d nod and smile up at me, “Now I look around and ask, ‘What room is this?’”

I didn’t know then I had a treasury of research material in that bed, or that I’d become a writer, so I never asked her how old she felt. I’ll be a tad grayer, but I’ll let you in on more next month. Meanwhile, thanks for reading and sharing. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I’m feelin’ about forty today.