WHEN YOU ARE OLD


English Garden(00012)A small corner of the garden

I hate to say that Sophia Loren taught me how to be old, but it’s the truth. Sophia has that certain something that makes you wonder how she does it. Is it her impossibly thick flowing locks, or her perfect posture? She is no spring chicken, yet she still emanates sexuality.

Years ago I read an interview with her in which she told how she prepares for the part of an older person. I realized I knew people who fit the unpleasant image of old age, including the thick ankles, the sad face with turned down mouth, the shoulders tight and raised, cramping the chest so that a deep breath is impossible. This of course without saying a word.

In a matter of seconds she became an old woman slumping gratefully into a chair with a loud sigh of relief. You could feel the aching back, the tired feet and the resignation.

We can’t help growing older, in fact we should be grateful to have lived a full life, but we don’t need to advertise the fact by frowning, slumping, groaning and otherwise making ourselves smaller. No wonder the young sometimes don’t see the old. Why should they? Did we? I have a young African-American man who clerks at our local grocery store, who never fails to stop what he is doing and give me a hug & say “Hi Ma! How’re you doing today?” I smile and it helps make my day.

According to a friend of mine, he is handing out “peanuts”, or a cheerful thought. I heard another man say goodbye to someone the other day by saying “Have a nice day, it’s the only one you got”. I was reminded of that all the way through the store. It really WAS the only one I had.

I try to think of Sophia every time I catch myself humping over the computer or otherwise giving in to the ravages of time.

As many of my more long time readers may remember, I still meet my high school girl friends once a month at a favorite restaurant in our hometown. We celebrated two birthday this week of newly arrived 89 year old beauties. As one friend, a former San Francisco ballerina, put it, we are “high performing seniors”. She regularly receives e-mails from a male classmate who was a well known ball player. Nothing to get excited about, but it kind of assures all of us that we can still attract the opposite sex. I took a younger friend from our town to join the group, and I think she was pleased to find that we are not awash in the past, but are interested in what is going on right now.

So Sophia, now that I have figured out the slumping and sighing, I would really appreciate knowing how you, at the age of 81, have kept those thick flowing locks?

Author: kaytisweetlandrasmussen83

I am a retired fine arts teacher, sculptor/painter, writer, and a native Californian. I love my family,dogs, horses, movies, reading and music, probably in that order. I have been married forever to a very nice man who is nice to old ladies, dogs and children.

16 thoughts on “WHEN YOU ARE OLD”

  1. This post I find so relevant. I have been trying to makr sure that I hold my shoulders back and stick my chest out. Why do so many seniors slump? Gravity. Their cores are weak as are their backs, so their heavy heads lean forward. The young have the muscular structures to stand erect without thinking about it.

    Like

    1. People need to realize that it even makes you feel better to hold your shoulders back. I try to make myself walk into a room as if I owned it. Using a walker if needed is no excuse to bend over it. It’s there to help you stand up straight. The other age-related habit for some is shuffling instead of stepping. Working my way back from these two surgeries I found myself shuffling off to Buffalo for a short time, which I have now overcome.

      Like

  2. Love your blogs. They are always so positive. Oddly enough, today I was thinking “I don’t feel like an old person.” I don’t know what age I feel, but I certainly don’t feel 68! Of course, 68 is not old these days, and I do what I can to take care of myself. I have discovered arthritis in my knee and in my thumbs — but that’s an irritation, not a problem. When I go up the stairs, sometimes it hurts a bit, but I’ve decided to say to myself each time, “Thank God I can still climb stairs easily.” I keep up with all my health maintenance, and I do yoga, to keep away that slump and round shoulders (which I think to a certain extent is hereditary). Maintaining good posture for me is work — and I do work at it. But I’m thankful for the freedom of thought and action growing older brings, and I’m grateful for the health and well-being I enjoy. I can tell you do, too, making the most of each day.

    Like

    1. Thank you Val. You’re a winner in my book. When I was a girl, I was put into “posture class” for some reason. It made an impression. I did yoga for years beginning before it became fashionable–in the 1950’s. When my daughter went to school one morning her teacher asked how her mother (me) was, and she answered that I was standing on my head when she left for school. Now I do Tai Chi,and will resume a walking program when my leg surgeries recovery are complete.

      Arthritis is painful and a big annoyance. Exercise certainly helps, but unfortunately, they don’t have a magic wand. My husband, 90, had his first bout with it a few months ago, but with special exercises he has been able to keep it under control. Good luck to you.

      Like

  3. I completely agree that you don’t have to slump and sigh, just because you are old! I am constantly reminding myself to stand and sit up straight—and for those who think it’s being vain, it’s not about that—it’s about feeling good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is certainly the truth. My grandmother was short (like me) but she carried herself like a queen . She was fond of reminding me to “hold up your head, you’re better than that!” Try slumping and holding your head up. It doesn’t work!

      Like

  4. I do slump but compensate by, once a day, climb the stairs two steps at a time. I will try and keep this up. At 77 I should walk erect , especially if a nice lady is looking at me. Meeting Sophia Loren would probably be too much for my posture and make me giddy or worse, I could faint.

    Like

  5. From reading this interesting post and its comments, I now have a Sohia rule: no slumping, no sighing, no shuffling. I have to work at not slumping because as a tall teenager, I developed the habit of slumping to the level of friends. As a young adult, I corrected my posture with the help of a physical therapist, but still, at odd moments, I’ll catch myself slumping over the keyboard and self-correct. And the moment I do, I feel so much better.

    Like

  6. I had an old friend who was still out backpacking at 87. I took him on a 100 K trip through the Sierra Nevada mountains up near Lake Tahoe. We can’t all do that but I am convinced that the best thing we can do for ourselves is to continue to walk. I am with you. Exercising and taking a lively interest in the would around us keep us younger. Yes we are aging. Yes it does slow us down. But none of that means we can’t enjoy whatever time we have to the best of our ability. Good blog. Thanks. –Curt

    Like

    1. Good for your 87 year old friend. A friend took her 94 year old mother to Yoshi’s night club last night to listen to old Glenn Miler music. They asked if there were any WWII vets in the audience and my friend’s mother stood up as a former Navy nurse. She got a standing ovation and instant celebrity. The important thing was that she was there nodding to the music. Keep on “ballin'” Curt!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Every time I hear an advertisement meant for “Seniors over 55” on the radio, I laugh myself silly. I need to walk more, and I need to work on not slumping, but flexible? Oh, my. The work I do ensures that, and a certain degree of strength, too.

    While the physical aspects of self-preservation (and improvement!) are important, the mental and emotional count for a good bit. There’s nothing more boring than a negative person. Of course we all have struggles, and life experiences to cope with, but, honestly? After listening to negative blather for ten minutes, I’m ready to move on. Like you and your group, it’s the present that counts for me, and perhaps the very near future. And the medium future. Long term, I’m not so worried about any more!

    Like

    1. I’m glad. There’s no sense in worrying about what the future may or may not bring. Likewise, there’s not much sense in looking over your shoulder. A fellow who lives in the neighborhood says he doesn’t think back before 1944. That may work for him, but we have to do what works for us. Personally I like looking back. I have found that the people who have the most to complain about, don’t.

      Like

Thanks for reading. Please leave a comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.