Friday, 23 February 2018

Another by-product of growing old.

Following on from yesterday's mention of growing old, there is another aspect of which I am very conscious.   Maybe it is just me - in fact I would love to know whether anyone else experiences the same feeling - but the older I get the more I find I have to stop myself losing my confidence.

I married young and had a very happy first marriage, bringing up one son and playing in an enthusiastic early music group - several of whom were professional musicians - and in addition holding down a responsible, fairly high up role in secondary education.   At the same time I managed to do a couple of degrees in my 'spare time', went off on music courses and generally filled every minute.

Then I had two years as a widow after nursing my first husband through cancer.   Meeting and marrying the farmer was more than I had ever expected to happen.   We had retired and moved to the countryside before my first husband died.   Now, suddenly, I was a farmer's wife - a completely different life, so different that there really was no point of comparison.   I had twenty three years of another very happy marriage - I now realise just how lucky it was that this could happen twice.

Now alone again - a son nearby - lots of wonderful friends - lots of interests - still able to drive - why should my confidence begin to waver?   I can only put it down to age (and I have met others who feel the same).   Perhaps it is the fading of physical strength, or hearing, or a general slowing down.   I don't know.   As I said yesterday - I am no Luddite.   I do keep abreast of current affairs.   But increasingly I need to remind myself who I am and what I am capable of 'off my own bat' lest I fall by the wayside.

Do others feel the same?   Yes, I know we all begin to age from the moment we are born, but eighty is a bit of a milestone whatever anyone might tell you about eighty being the new sixty.
Perhaps I need to snap out of it and buy myself one of the new 'must have' jump suits.   Might even do that if someone can tell me how one can go to the loo quickly if one is taken short (another side effect of getting older!)

 

 

20 comments:

Rachel Phillips said...

Yes, I feel it even at my age Weave, and I fight it. Doubts about things I would not have given a second thought to a few years ago come into my head. I hate it.

Derek Faulkner said...

It could be not so much a case of getting older Pat, more a case of not having a partner to rebound your thoughts and worries off of. The two very successful partnerships that have dominated most of your adult life are a lot to lose and must leave you feeling a tad less confident on your own.

Granny Sue said...

I have not yet reached the stage of losing confidence, although I can see how it can happen and will probably be there in a few years. But at 66, I see some changes: for one, I take a longer view, remembering and being able to bring my life experience to current events. I also see that my point of view is often discounted because my hair is gray. I struggle to keep up technology and believe I've almost given up the fight--I learn what I have to but don't go after every new thing.

One thing I find most odd is that my sons don't really see that I am aging and expect me to be able to do and go as much as I ever did. These days pain is my constant companion, waking or sleeping, and moving gets harder every day. At the same time, my moderately liberal views are shifting to become more liberal as I age, and politically I am more engaged and active than I have ever been.

Librarian said...

I can see the loss of confidence in my Dad, who turned 76 in January. He has several age-related (and some of them smoking-induced) ailments which slow him down considerably. He is still completely and totally "there", but his physical strength is nothing like it used to be, and he can only shuffle instead of walk properly. It is sad to see, especially as he was such an outdoors person with a love of all wildlife and woodland. Everything I know about nature I learned from him.
This slowing down and not being able to do all that he used to do makes him lose confidence, and sometimes he says "I'm just an old fart" (of course the equivalent in German - excuse the language, but that is how he sees himself). As I said, it saddens me, and we as a family try to make him see the beautiful aspects of life even at his condition. Good job he still has his humour!!

By the way, I am happy for you, knowing there are still people out there who experience happy marriages once or even twice in their lives. My first marriage ended in divorce, the second with the death of my husband. I would love to marry again, but who knows...

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Rather thoughtful and poignant post

Joanne Noragon said...

Weave, I wore jump suits in the seventies. I looked good and I knew it. Small price to pay for having to shrug out of the top in order to take a pee. Don't buy one; you'll lose confidence.

Carol said...

I fight the confidence battle every day. My favorite weapon is learning new skills. Instead of focusing on what I used to be able to do and now can't, I challenge myself with new things that require less physical strength and more strength of will. It doesn't always work ( I asked my son to go with me yesterday to Motor Vehicles to register my new convertible), but then I remember that I bought a convertible--at my age that counts as a confidence-builder.

Moira said...

JUST DO IT Nike logo my boss used to have it on his computer I think it is a good saying four akk of us

Sue said...

I started to lose my confidence when my hearing failed and since I retired I have become more and more dependent on my husband Paul. It is not a good place to be but I just don't like leaving my comfort zone. I know I'm still capable of doing crazy things though.

Heather said...

I think that loss of confidence can sometimes follow a bereavement. Suddenly finding oneself solo after being one half of a couple can be quite a knock, and needs a bit of time to get used to.

jinxxxygirl said...

Well Pat i have never had much self confidence to speak of.... so if your telling as i age i will have even less.. well thats rather depressing news.. :( Hugs! deb

Ruth said...

I'm two years behind you, Pat, and you could run rings around me! Reading about your daily activities gives me encouragement, as I find it so hard to leave the house. I still drive, but cautiously and not very far. My hobbies are of the sedentary type, so I'm always happily occupied indoors by myself. I really need someone to shove me out the door! I think you're doing marvelously in every way - those little old age things must be universal. I can't believe that as punctual and organized as I always was, I now sometimes misread dates and times for appointments and embarrass myself. And sometimes buy the wrong thing at the grocery store because I've misread a label. Hearing loss is another problem to deal with. It's so frustrating to have someone repeat themselves and still not be able to hear what they've said.
I guess nobody's alone in this!

Tom Stephenson said...

I know exactly what you mean Weave. I am a bit younger than you but my car crash has stopped me from thinking I am the best driver in the world (even though it was not my fault), as most men perceive themselves to be. Also I am losing my balance through a combination of all sorts of stuff, including and because of diminishing strength. For men, reading Rudyard Kipling's 'Kim' helps, but women have more complicated things going on. I admire strong women, and I see you as one. Don't worry, be happy.

Virginia said...

l am fully 15 years younger than you Pat, but I have recently developed an auto-immune condition that has caused me to loose muscle tone and so I need to grab hold of things as I move around, AND I'm seriously deaf. Both of those things have led to a huge loss of self confidence, and I suspect - added to loosing your Beloved Farmer - they may both be affecting you too.

I try to take each day as it comes, and 'look on the bright side'

I find your blogs inspiring - they encourage me to get out and take the walks I need to keep my strength up. You manage three a day - I'm trying for two, and parking the car further and further from the supermarket door! Baby steps here!

Red said...

You've been fortunate and had some very strong support in your life. You have achievements to be proud of. Yes, it's hard to accept aging. You're doing the right thing...keep active.

Robin Mac said...

I think you are inspirational Pat with what you manage to achieve. I am regaining some of my confidence again after losing most of my sight overnight three and a half years ago. I am now legally blind and had to give up my craft work and of course driving, so i am no longer independent. I think I try to ignore this fact as much as possible and get out as often as I can. I am five years younger than you, but I am not sure I could do half the activities you do even if I could still see. I think losing two husbands and being on your own must really test your confidence. Good for you for keeping on.

thelma said...

I must admit I have also lost my confidence, mostly in driving I have to steel myself against all the things I imagine might happen. You have had a very meaningful and happy life, and this last blow of the farmer's death has left you questioning - take the positive and drop the negative.
And yes I think several of us should come and visit you and argue the toss, we are probably totally different people to what you would expect. X

liparifam said...

Even at 55 I feel this. I've always been fiercely independent, even during my long marriage (I married at 19!), but an unexpected divorce after 28+ years definitely affected my confidence and trust levels and made me question my judgement. In addition, I am starting to feel the subtle physical effects of aging - declining eyesight and balance (I fell and sprained an ankle badly), minor aches and pains - that also subliminally effect my confidence level. I work hard on maintaining it by making myself continue to travel alone, go to the movies and other events alone, etc. - but I feel it. Next month I have to go buy a new car by myself - really looking forward to that, lol!

Frugal in Essex Tania said...

Can you recall if it was something to make you fell this way? or do you really feel its an age thing? I may not like doing certain things: driving to new areas etc but I do it.

Hildred said...

Oh to be eighty again, Pat!!!! I look back on those early 80's years with fondness, - how much energy and enthusiasm I had then. Like you I am conscious of that lack of confidence that comes with age, but try to overcome it and keep busy, although not so much in the community any more. I struggle with arthritis in the knee I damaged water-skiing many many years ago, and am reduced to using a cane, (although I still keep Charles' walker tucked away out of sight!!!) Sometimes I don't hear what people are saying but at such times I try to lose myself in plans for a new warp on the loom, and my success there gives me some confidence so I don't look totally vacant!!!!! My children keep telling me of people who live to be 105, 107, or sometimes even older, and I still have lots of things I want to do, but it's not my ambition to live to that age!!!!!