(A lil' blog on a dotty hill somewhere)

Wednesday, January 27

Ageing... with finesse & style!

Original photo taken by Monte Stevens | © Copyright 2015

I've mentioned Bettie to you before. She will be 80 this year and is anything but “old!” Her mind is sharp, her wit smart, quick and contagious, and her body lean yet strong. In fact, she is a lot fitter than I. She even laughs with that certain twinkle in her eye when telling us that we wouldn't be able to keep up with her in her core work outs at the senior centre each week! Too funny. I don't mind at all. She has every right to feel good about how well she's taken care of herself, not just physically but mentally too.

Not only does she walk an average of 5-6 miles a day, if you were to ever stop by her simple, sparse yet airy 400 sq. ft. flat, you might find her studying another World Atlas, or perhaps listening to one of the university lecture series CD's she recently found at her local library. Another past time? Dancing away by herself to music cranked up on her little boom box. How thrilling to be so alive, active and curious at her age and really, quite different to the older folk around her in her building too. (Actually, many of them would no doubt dismiss her as rather mad!) Then again, she has always been progressive, far earlier than when that word ever became fashionable as it is with some today. She was vegetarian, exercising, doing yoga, and TV-less while adopting a life of decluttering and simplicity long, long before society ever found any of those things trendy.

And now, while still able to be fully engaged, she finds this phase of her life the happiest by far. She may not have much materially (very little in fact), but has found how to make life productive and good around her and in the process, as she likes to say, show her children how to age. That is something I had never considered before but, oh how I like that! I love her maverick ways.

That is not to say, Alex and I agree with her on everything but we don't feel the need to either. I find a freedom of fascination in our differences, much like my father and I, actually. Her world view is a fair bit more liberal, politically, and Eastern, philosophically (atheist Buddhist* to be precise). Nevertheless, we often see much of the joys of simple life the same, and with it, the things to avoid too that can so easily beckon us to follow along with the masses, culturally speaking.

Assuming we have our wits about us, while we can all choose to age gracefully, that doesn't necessarily mean as our culture might dictate. Setting that example of how to grow older begins today. While none of us know just how long we might have, we can still find things in the spectrum of life around us that can engage us, keeping us learning and wanting to do... more. It goes beyond mindlessly flipping on the tellie just because it's there, beyond automatically supporting our local sports team because it is just that, beyond defaulting to a night out at another obligatory bar, beyond base, coarse language that has become rote, and even beyond the ingrained need to be "cool" simply for that transitory sake.

Ageing and maturing well beckons us out of just sitting there, whether that has been remaining apathetic at home or attending to some religious or social expectation perhaps only out of a misplaced sense of duty. These are all just ideas to stimulate your own imagination. I certainly have my bias but how your distinction looks to you is something only you can answer. As we're all different, one would hope our own blend is varied too for each of us, considering how our life might otherwise be if we kept it in automatic. And that is rather the point, isn't it? It comes down to be being truly alive, being fully conscious in our routine decisions, not just adopting whatever is the norm of the day. As such, it often necessitates having to choose to live different.**

At any regard, it's easy to embrace the cultural norms of our peer groups, whatever the age, yet the Betties of this world are out there, showing us that you don't have to give in to predictable normalcy. You can start living more today! I don't know about you, but I find that very invigorating indeed. :)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Yes, one can actually be both — embracing the concepts of detachment, Karmic consequence, etc., while yet not ascribing to that endless cycle of reincarnation, for example.
** It likely goes without saying that no one here is somehow advocating giving in to a kind of reckless abandon where your life is thrown into peril or where those under your care are put unnecessarily at negligent risk. Of course not. That would be fruitless for all. It's more about finding that balance that leads to a healthier life, let alone how to age in style!
SHARE:

20 comments

  1. Just looking at Bettie's photograph it is obvious why you are so fond of her. She radiates happiness, joy, love of life, and is obviously fun to be around.
    What an 80 year old inspiration she is.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Inspiration is the right word, Rosemary. Thanks for your comment. I can only hope I am as engaged with life when I get closer to that decade! I have a road map of how to be then though, right?

      Delete
  2. Oh my! I found this post absolutely enthralling.

    Yesterday, I stumbled on Jeff Goldblum's take on "aging in reverse" (amazing that he is so full of life AND is a first-time father to an infant son at the age of 63!) and just a few days ago I was reading about the importance of mindfulness in various aspects of our lives -- a very key piece to the "aging gracefully" puzzle, it seems. I know that for Richard and I, it can be far too easy to come home after a long day at work and "just watch TV" because when we're wiped out. Often, it really does take complete mindfulness to overcome this stagnation.

    Bettie sounds like a marvelous woman -- here's to many more happy and vivacious years!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cassie, funny you mention Goldblum-- my wife, Alex, loves him! She will find that very interesting!

      Yes, sure, who hasn't jsut watched TV mindlessly when exhausted. It IS and can be very relaxing -- one sort of just switches off. I don't think there is anything at all wrong with that. Rather, I suggest that doing that all the time would not be a picture of being engaged with life nd mixing things up, more so a pic of life as we would expect it, and not jsut for old people! lol.

      Believe me, when you are sooo sleep deprived with new baby in town, NO ONE is going to expect otherwise. I recall Bettie saying just how hard raising kids was during that time. He time is more her own now so she can find perhaps a bit more mental peace and energy, but no doubt she has always been energetic!

      You two do what you need to do to be there for your newborn. Exciting times ahead! Thank you for finding the time even to leave a comment. VERY appreciated, let me tell you.

      Delete
  3. I think I would adore knowing Ms. Bettie - she's definitely the type of woman I like to be with, along with my younger friends - each blessing me with different views on life. I enjoy exchanging thoughts over a nice mug of coffee or cup (china of course!) of tea, one on one. I've never really been a 'groupie' type person (just realizing this), perhaps that's a Scorpio trait?
    I see my beautiful, creative granddaughter Cassie has left you a comment - now she's a great gal to sit and talk with - and she and Richard will make amazing parents!

    Tell Ms. Bettie to keep on doing what she's doing - it must be working from the radiance emanating from her lovely face - and she shares your curls by look of it - you lucky devils with curly hair!!!!

    Hugs - Mary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We will see her Saturday at the bakeshop and I will be sure to have her read this post and the comments so thank you! (Bettie doesn't do computers, btw and only has a flip phone as that is all she cares for, she notes.)

      Yes, CAssie seems very much a chip off the (old) block, as it were! I see her finesse comes from you and maybe her parent who is the child of you too? Is she a son's or daughters?

      Thank you for your lovely supportive comment, Mary.

      Delete
    2. Oh and YES, not sure if you read that first post about when I first met Bettie but it actually all was simply b/c of an admiration for her marvelous hair! Usually she has it with a silk scarf wrapped around her head. As it is, she has far thicker hair than I. I am rather jealous myself...although I;d like to keep my brown for a while longer yet. :)

      Delete
  4. She seems like such a down to earth individual, with great wisdom and love. Best wishes to her and greetings to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will tel her on Saturday, dear "Blogi." Thank you!

      Delete
  5. Bettie is inspiring, a wonderful tribute to the senior life as well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ye, I think so too! thank you , as always, Christine!

      Delete
  6. This is the face of joy. It simply radiates from Bettie's smile. Walking 5-6 miles a day is fabulous. Oh, I feel inspired, Michael! Thank you for sharing her story and her lovely photo. Warmest regards ~ Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And that is not exaggeration. She told me herself and wanted to make sure she got it right! She is not one to be cooped up too long, even loves to walk in the cold in thick snow. Bettie is far more a winter person than a summer type. Much like me there actually too. And there is no way this woman is retiring ever to Florida! Haha. Good for her. Again, going against the tide here as well. Too funny.

      Thank you, Nancy, so much for visiting and leaving that comment, I quite agree about her radiance here. She doesn't terribly like having photos taken but this one really captures that sparkle in her eye. I love how she smiles and does that when touching on something quite entertaining, or eve preposterous, if you will. We all crack up.

      Delete
  7. A wonderful inspiring piece for a wonderful inspiring lady! I am so glad that you complimented her on her hair that first time you met, as she must have subsequently enriched and inspired your own life a little. Her face just radiates warmth and love and she has now touched the hearts of all your bloggy readers. So glad that you have written about her again Michael.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So thankful for your comment, Linda. I can't wait for Bettie to read these. Oh yes, she inspires us and definitely enriches our lives with our weekly banter. RE: the hair--me too. I still am envious of it! haha.

      Delete
  8. Please tell Bettie she has a beautiful smile. Bettie is a lot like my mom who is just under 80 and my dad, soon-to-be 84 are both extremely active. I can't keep up. LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We will tell her Saturday morning, Tracy. Good for your own mother--you have many bright years ahead then. My mother is not so active or alert these days, sorry to say. thank you for your comment!

      Delete
  9. It's so wonderful that we can embrace and show love and interest to those we to not agree with on everything. She looks delightful, and I can relate to much of her life, apart from her theolog, I think we would be good friends. Thanks for sharing, Michael. I somehow didnt' have you blog on my side bar and have missed way too much of your wonderful posts. Going to put you on right now!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wanda, I think Bettie would enjoy the fact you remain active and engaged, for sure! :)

      Yes, I noticed you've never left a comment on some of the other posts earlier but thanks for reading them now whenever you get a chance, or not, as the case may be! :)

      Delete
  10. Love, love, love, her smile. She glows from within and that is something wonderful, at any age.

    ReplyDelete

Blogger Template Created by pipdig