Sunday, 19 September 2021

Growing old (dis)gracefully.

 Well of course one has little choice when it comes to it does one - grow old or don't grow old.   And even whether one does it disgracefully or otherwise is down to a few things - physical condition being  I suppose one of the main ones.   After lunch Priscilla and I will do our perambulate - how we could make it in any way disgraceful it is hard to see.   I suppose I could decorate her or perhaps wear a purple hat a la Jenny Joseph.   In perfect health (is anybody at 88?) maybe I could make a bit more effort.   As it is just the sheer effort of getting all the way round the circuit and arriving back home is enough.

A friend is 89 next weekend - five weeks before me, so I can always joke that I am not as old as she is - at least for those five weeks.   I do try to keep young in my head by keeping up to date with the news and things like that, and I do the Mind Games in the Times daily in an effort to keep brain gremlins at bay.   But when all is said and done one's life span and the way one approaches death is in the lap of the gods.   But one thing is for sure - I have had a much longer life than what I now have left.   So best to soldier on and live each day as it comes.

There is a lovely old lady, W, in our town who is 100.  She carries no excess weight and is reasonably  nimble on her feet.   Until Covid I used to collect her every  Sunday and four of us would lunch at the same restaurant.   I met her at the doctor's surgery last Monday.   Sadly she didn't recognise me but she said she recognised my voice.   Her mind is getting a little forgetful but she still lives alone but surrounded by her family.   She is totally content, which is lovely to see.

In yesterday's Times there is a photo of an old lady of 101 who has   been trapping lobsters since 1929.   Three mornings a week between May and November, she gets up at 3am and gets on her boat with her son, who is himself 78.   Her son sees to the boat and hauls in the traps, she measures the lobsters and throws back the small ones and then ties the claws of the ones they are keeping.   A few years ago a crab cut her finger and she had to have stitches.   The doctor was interested in why an old lady of her age was still doing such a job and when he asked her, her answer was "because I want to"!

Perhaps that is one of the secrets of a long and happy life.   Don't sit around waiting for death to arrive - "do precisely what you want to!"   It will arrive anyway when it wants to.

36 comments:

Anne Brew said...

Death will arrive when it wants to.
Very comforting words; in the meantime taking each days it comes, enjoying the weather, keeping in touch with friends and family, deciding what to eat and what to do each day.

CharlotteP said...

Do what you want to, and enjoy as much as you can. One thing's for sure, listening to the news won't keep you feeling young...haven't we been there before?!

Derek Faulkner said...

A great and thought provoking post Pat, I much enjoyed it. Life and health will take us in the directions that it wants to go and it won't pay lip service to a number on a birthday card, some people will succumb early and some, like the glorious lady of 101, will defy the odds. You are doing a great job of "rage, rage against the dying of the light" as Dylan Thomas put it and many of us hold you up as our candle in the dark.

Rachel Phillips said...

Forget about what other people think and just do it.

JayCee said...

I would quite like to grow old disgracefully. It soumds like a lot of fun.

Debby said...

A lot of wisdom here today.

Minigranny said...

Such good advice though it is sometimes difficult to 'just do what you want to ' as there are usually so many people wanting one to do other things!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post. I think you're wonderful and I couldn't agree more with everyone's comments!
Best wishes, Elsie

Terra said...

We are on the same page, sometimes I somewhat laughingly say I want to age disgracefully. Especially if that means following my heart. I like the 101 year old lady who helps her son catch lobsters, and I like you too!

thelma said...

Enjoying life that is all that matters.

the veg artist said...

Being able to do something we enjoy each day makes all the difference.

Heather said...

What an amazing lady - to be helping her son fish for lobsters at 101! I am certainly not made of such stuff even if my own mother lived until 102. However, I don't think she was entirely happy during her last two years but she didn't really have anything that she really wanted to do. So important.

Joan (Devon) said...

Growing old disgracefully is a lovely thought and I wish I had the opportunity, but (and it's a big but), like me I expect you were brought up not to cause scenes or make a spectacle of yourself, so going against the grain is a big change in our character. But it's wonderful to think about what I would do to be disgraceful.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Derek your reply reminds me of one of the sisters in law of my first marriage. My first husband had seven sisters and the last one to die lived in sheltered accommodation. She didn't arrive for breakfast one morning and when the warden went to see where she was she found her - she had died in her chair and that Dylan Thomas poem lay open on her knee.

Librarian said...

Like the others here have said, this is a great post and food for thought. I was thinking about doing what I want to do a lot this year; first during the 6 weeks that I was unable to work because of my eye operation, and then once I was back working and dealing with a situation at work that had been bothering me for a long time.
In the end I won't regret NOT having done this presentation or that document for a client, but other things that I always postponed because of work!
Speaking of graceful, you are a model for all of us, Pat! I've said it before and I'll say it again.

Derek Faulkner said...

I suppose that if you wanted to behave disgracefully in old age you could walk Priscilla round the block wearing no knickers. No one would know, but you might feel a tad rebellious for a while.

Bovey Belle said...

Food for thought indeed. Derek has a great idea! though it might be a bit draughty :) When my late ma-in-law was married, she and her husband honeymooned in Blackpool. After booking into the hotel, they changed from their wedding finery into more casual clothing and went for a walk along the Prom. THEN ma-in-law (to her horror and her husband's hilarity) realized she'd forgotten to put her knickers on!!! Knowing my straight-laced m-in-law, she would have been mortified.

I think we can only take life a day at a time, and live it to the full. My husband is struggling with his health at the moment, finding walking very very difficult, but we still go to Antique Fairs and he says if he didn't do that, he would just sit down and wait to die.

Anonymous said...

I found this depressing. Quite often these days you make comments on your mortality.

You're 88, if you live to be 100 you have another twelve years to live. That's a long time to still be able to appreciate the dawn of a new morning, birdsong, good food, chats with friends or family, a good book, beautiful music. Try to appreciate the things you can still do and enjoy instead of dwelling on the things you can't do. There are many things I now can't do but I do try to appreciate all the little things in my life.

I know that if I start thinking about my demise or how long I've got left it makes me feel down then I make others feel depressed.

When you wake in the morning be grateful for a new day, many people won't have that.

Chris said...

Just do as you're doing Weaver, keeping as active as you can both mind and body.. I laughed at Derek's comment about no knickers because when I broke me arm I didn't wear any for 3 years, because I couldn't push them off and I couldn't pull them on! It's only in the last 3 years I've been able to manage them. My arm never healed, so there are women who walk around knickerless, I never even felt cold, I suppose I got used to it. I didn't walk today, gave in and had an after dinner nap!

Anonymous said...

To anonymous
What a useless moralising piece of work you are. Best if you keep away from Weavers blog if you don't like what she writes. All her friends on here are more than happy to share all her thoughts and writings. Hopefully you might be able to understand things a bit more when you reach her age. The rest of us on here hold her in MUCH respect so clear off with your unwanted opinion.
From nicer Anonymous

Bonnie said...

Thank you for this very special post and for all of your posts. And thank you especially for teaching me how to grow old. I am 69 and the examples you set and words you share are wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post, I think you are wise. I've just lost my dear godmother last wednesday, quite unexpectedly, she was 74, and your words resonated with me. Life is now, definitely.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Anonymous - I can't help it if you read my post as you do. I am definitely aware of my own mortality and I havb every right to be - I want to leave my affairs in order so that there is as little trouble as possible when I do finally pop my clogs. All I can say really is that if you don't like what you read then don't read it.. You are under no obligation ever to read my posts.

Derek - dare I say that there ave been hot days when I have done just that.

Of course I have days when I feel 101 but I also have days when I feel 71 so in the end it evens out.

Thanks you dear friends - keep blogging! And BB Send my good wishes to your husband and tell him I hope his walking soon improves - I know just how frustrating it can be.

John Going Gently said...

You have always been my friend and inspiration
You get on with things
I think I’ll never reach 89 but if I did , I’d be u

Ellen D. said...

Good advice for us, Weave!

Anonymous said...

Your blog gives me inspiration and comfort.
I appreciate that you write so candidly of your daily life.

Elsie

Anonymous said...

I so agree with Elsie.
Wendy (Wales)

Tom Stephenson said...

Catching crabs at 89 is something to boast about.

Joanne Noragon said...

Amen.

Susan said...

Living life as you choose sounds perfect to me. A friend living in Marblehead, Massachusetts every morning (Spring, Summer and Fall) rows his wooden boat along the coastline and sketches scenes along the way. He's 82 and robust with no plans to stop rowing and sketching.

Red said...

We can live a long active happy life but at the end we have to accept our upcoming loss. We grieve for our own loss.

Cro Magnon said...

I am slowly but surely beginning to feel the effects of age. My hips hurt, my legs get tired easily, and occasionally I prefer to sit down and do nothing rather than get on with tasks. I'm fighting it.

Sue in Suffolk said...

I think you do well - hope I can be like you if I get to 89.
Just realised thats 23 years away - which is exactly the time we had at the smallholding - need to make sure to enjoy every day as the years go quickly now

wherethejourneytakesme2 said...

Your title made me smile Pat and the bit about decorating your walker. You could always hand a multitude of bags on the walker and then be known as the local 'bag lady'!! My mum who is now 95 and can hardly walk even with her walker is facing many hard life changes and is finding it difficult to accept that after a very active life is now almost captive in her little flat. She has always been a fighter and will carry on to the bitter end but this old age thing is not something you can 'get on top of' or reverse and she is finding this hard to come to terms with which is making her a little bit bitter and argumentative with everyone. We do what we can to help but we cannot rejuvenate her.
I wish you well and all I can say is to keep going with the walker and any exercise you can do even though it is an effort as it keeps the muscles from wasting as quickly...oh and like you say enjoy every day.

Anonymous said...

Two funny stories were told to me Pat. I wasn't there so don't know if they're true. An elderly friend's mother died, telling a joke, so she tells me. Sitting there holding court, getting to the punch-line, then lights out! Everyone always wondered what the end of the joke was, so the story goes. Another eccentric acquaintance told me how she resigned from teaching. Fed up with the principal, she told him in no uncertain terms that she was leaving, and was more than happy to do so, the happiness expressed in a couple of joyous cartwheels in front of him, not wearing knickers she said. That was about twenty years ago. Now you'd be had up for all sorts of indecencies I guess. She certainly was an eccentric character. but a bit too full on for most I'd think! Pam, Australia.

The Weaver of Grass said...

You lot are my inspiration - many many thanks to you all.