On Aging

“I have arthritis” my mother said. “I need bed rest.” That was the cure for most of my mother’s aging ailments - complete rest - certainly no exercise. Indeed she was a a rather frail lady, but her generation did not usually believe in walking, fresh air and exercise as beneficial Now we are told by every media the importance of exercise in our healthy lives. With all this however obesity is a nation problem. In u both and my parents’ generation, there were no “fast foods” and most foods were enjoyed in season and there were fewer choices.

I find aging to be something of a struggle with attending physical problems and losses, but also strangely rewarding. One learns to appreciate what we have, even as our material possessions dwindle down and we adjust to smaller quarters. What we have are friends, family good meals, a cozy place to live, exercise for mind and body, and time to learn and reflect. We here at Pomperaug Woods are fortunate as opposed to many who must decide between food and medicine. Their tales of aging would be a different story.

I do wish I could take back some of the glib statements I made to my mother, for now I have a keener understanding of her aging problems. I also wish I had asked more questions and listened more closely to my parents in regard to their lives and the generations before. I know my mother used to say, “I may look like an old lady, but inside I’m still the young girl I was.”

I have a friend who is 101, lives by herself on Cape Cod and is quite well - mentally and physically. She has had consuming artistic interests and talents all her life. She said to me: “Pat, we’ve had the best of it.”

Yes, looking back, I think she is right. We’ve experienced so much - a safe and happy childhood, prosperity and then the Depression. During the crash banks closed in 40 states out of 48. It was a tragic time as was World War II. Then there was the landing on the moon - still unbelievable, and the rapid growth of technology. Through the 30s and 40s there were artistic talents and developments in music, theater, art and film. They enrich our memories today. Sadly, we live now in a world of fear with new disclosures every day. Technology is developing faster than ever, but is it always a good thing? I feel it might be further isolating people.

The computer is a wonderful tool, but there is a downside. Use of the cell phone, iPhone or smart phone have benefits but also have resulted in a certain coldness and loss of physical contact with family, friends and business associates. My son tells me it is important to always be available in business - nights, weekends, on vacation. Information is needed instantly. “The early bird gets the worm.”

I have learned that eating a leisurely meal with others is beneficial socially, and mentally. I find the rich experiences of others interesting and stimulating. In communal living I have found one develops patience, understanding, tolerance and cooperation, hopefully becoming less self-centered.

My grandmother lived with us until I went away to college. She was my dearest friend and the most rewarding influence of my life. I wish I had told her so. My advice to the next generation is to put down your cell phones, ask questions, and listen to what your peers and older people are really saying. One day you will be glad you did.

Pat Broman
Southbury, CT © 2014

Add your story to this page!

Comment on this Story

Add a New Comment

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License