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Successful aging

By chance, I turned on TVO’s “the Agenda” with Steve Paikin tonight; I rarely watch though it’s always interesting – and it was about successful aging. His panel of experts told us that the curve of life satisfaction dips in the thirties and forties and then climbs again, to the happiest time of life in middle and old age. That is, of course, for those who are relatively healthy, not too isolated, not too poor. Who are curious, resilient, resourceful, connected.

I concur. They pointed out that we elders adjust expectations, we have perspective, we’ve achieved a kind of serenity and acceptance and compassion for others and ourselves, and it’s true. A younger self can’t imagine the kind of peace and wisdom possible later. The stress of the thirties and forties – when kids are growing up, parents are aging, you’re still wrestling with job stress and ambition and sexual needs – all subside, leaving someone who can relax into the smallest moment, grateful to be alive.

He interviewed Daniel Levitan, whose new book “Successful Aging” is now on my must-read list. They showed a quote from Jane Goodall, who, as Steve said, is 89 and “still kicking ass and taking names.” She said that as you age, because you have less time to make your mark, you need not to slow down but to speed up. Levitan spoke of his new hero, an American woman who took up competitive running at age 100 and at 103 is breaking records.

HOORAY! When I look back at my fraught years, I feel sorry for that poor overloaded distraught woman. But here she is. Tranquil at last.

Speaking of tranquillity – yesterday we smudged my house. My son has long felt that there’s something dark here, and recently a few strange things have happened. I don’t feel it myself, but I wanted to do this for him, and a friend of a friend whose husband was Indigenous and is “accredited” to smudge by an Ojibway elder came over with sage, cedar, and sweetgrass. She shredded it into a bowl, we spent some minutes meditating and/or praying, and then she lit the grass and we wafted it about. It was wonderful.

Until my smoke alarms went off, screeching sirens and blinking lights. We had to move the smoking bowl to the deck. Ah well. It was well worth it. My house is cleansed.

In other news: Okay, I was wrong about Billie Eilish, whom I dissed in the last post after she won innumerable Grammys – I just watched James Corden’s carpool karaoke with her, and she’s adorable, even if she does have a pet tarantula. She and her brother have been writing songs together since she was seven. Extraordinary.

Last night, went with my oldest friend Ron to the Canadian Music Centre, to see a modern composer’s concert and CD launch. I was particularly interested because one of his pieces was named something like, “What the wall sees as it watches Rob Ford in his office.” Sounded funny and interesting. He’s an exponent of “minimalist music,” and it was indeed minimalist – as Ron said, where’s the melody? There was a great video component that went with each piece, but half-way through, rather than waiting through a half hour intermission, my friend and I escaped. I’m very happy to know composers and videographers and musicians are out there doing their thing. Sometimes with greater success and sometimes, not so much.

There’s a problem with the gang in Florida: they don’t want to come home. After seeing the pictures, I don’t blame them. However, they need hugs from their loved ones, including Glamma, and they need to go back to school. So home it is, tomorrow night. Re-entry might be difficult. Here they are, still suffering, with Greta, my ex their grandfather’s daughter, so their … 9-year old aunt? Too complicated.



2 Responses to “Successful aging”

  1. theresa says:

    The aging stuff is interesting, for sure. I loved Daniel Levitan's book This is Your Brain on Music. It makes you want to listen to more music, to sing, to somehow engage the world that way. (No hardship in this house….)

  2. beth says:

    Isn't it wonderful to know that we're getting better? Wiser more grounded more compassionate dare I say more interesting?

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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