Archives for posts with tag: aging

Busy Bee July 2015

Photo by K. Farwell

It is that time of year when everyone is taking a trip of some sort; after all, it is almost August.   I’ve spent several days now trying to figure out another kind of trip that for lack of a better word, I will call life review. I just happened to mention to a friend a couple of days ago that I’ve been having a series of dreams all about traveling through the different times of my life and meeting/dealing with people from my past. Surprisingly, she related she had been having similar dreams.

When I first retired, most of my dreams were about working. Now they seem to be about traveling—–always trying to get others as well as myself somewhere,  either to visit or to find a suitable place to live. Then, too, the setting is often in houses I’ve lived in before at different times in my life.  Sometimes, the setting is a hotel where I am staying for a conference only I never make it to any of the meetings because I am always interacting with  or trying to help others who are with me in the dream. Sometimes I am stuck with friends or family in an airport or on an airplane.

I just realized today all these settings have a common denominator—–and that is my interactions with the people in my dream. The people are mostly from my past, and I think the interactions I have with them is about working out conflicts I still have about those past relationships. For instance, last night I dreamed of being with both my mother and my father at different times in the dream. What stands out about my interaction with my mother is that I found myself hugging her tightly while I told her how much I loved her…..something I never did enough of in reality. My father is usually in the background but last night, he was enjoying a driving/touring trip with me and laughing and joking.

These activities seem simple enough, but my heart feels like I have gotten “closure” from those dream interactions I would not otherwise have gotten. Now I know my mother knows how much I love her, and I know I am beginning to come out of the grieving process I’ve been going through since my father died last October. Other interactions have been with previous spouses or roommates and friends from the past…..interacting with them as I now am rather than as  I was during the time I spent with them. These interactions are rather non-remarkable, and that in itself is a small miracle because in my past I would meet some of  those folks in my dreams and unload pent up angry feelings on them.

Perhaps Maslow was going through a similar aging phenomena late in his career  when he realized there was a stage beyond self-actualization—-the one of *self-transcendence where one transcends self and ego and focuses on serving others. “At the level of self-transcendence, the individual’s own needs are put aside, to a great extent, in favor of service to others and to some higher force or cause conceived as being outside the personal self.”

After reading about this little-known construct of Maslow’s this afternoon, I think these recurrent dreams are allowing me to re-visit past relationships and  life experiences within the context of my newly emerging  self-transcendent perspective.  This is work my soul needs to do. It is a final “cleansing of self” to support my  evolving transcendence . It doesn’t matter that I never ever get anywhere in my dreams, that I am never on time, or that I never seem to finish anything——it is all about the journey and helping one another. God bless and keep you.

* Mark E. Koltko-Rivera, “Rediscovering the Later Version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Self-Transcendence and Opportunities for Theory, Research, and Unification”, in: Review of General Psychology 10(2006)4, pp. 302-317; quote from pp. 306-7.  (http://academic.udayton.edu/jackbauer/Readings%20595/Koltko-Rivera%2006%20trans%20self-act%20copy.pdf)

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Wrinkles

Photo, “Wrinkles” by K. Farwell

Today has been quite a day! I learned something a new phrase, and  every time the phrase goes through my mind, I start giggling because it sounds like the perfect line and maybe even title for a country western song. It would start out, “My retinas have wrinkles….” but past that I can’t come up with a good lyric. I do, however, find myself  thinking “I must make amends” would work, but that was Janis and her friends back in the day.

Fortunately, my right eye had only one wrinkle and my left eye only several small ones. Why lucky? I was told that while having a few retinal wrinkles was “normal” having a lot meant serious eye surgery. While I was at the eye doctor’s we scheduled my cataracts surgeries. It was explained to me that I will have lenses put in my eyes that will allow me to see far, far away. Now, having never been able to do so, I really can’t imagine what it is going to be like. I will, the doctor explained, have to give up my close vision—–so gone will be my days of taking off my glasses to read or crochet. Instead I will put on reading glasses.

I may still need prescription glasses for far vision; there is no guarantee exactly how these surgeries will turn out. Sounds like a bit of a gamble, but any vision a new lens will give me has to be better than that given me by my own lenses without assistance. I think I could tolerate wearing “regular people” glasses rather than “coke bottle” glasses. And I am sure getting the prescription filled for those glasses wouldn’t cost the  usual $500-600 my almost annual new glasses do.

And, then, for a mere $999 I can get correction for my right eye’s astigmatism built into the lens they will put in that eye. That correction has to be paid for out of pocket because Medicare and all insurance companies consider such a correction a luxury. However, if you’ve never been able to “really focus” on something, spending almost a thousand dollars seems worth it.

I haven’t seen any commercials on television yet for “wrinkles on your retinas”—–but I am sure the day will come. They’ll probably invent some miracle eye drops that are guaranteed to smooth them out over night or your money back. Enough foolishness. I am a bit anxious and have been using inferior jokes to deal with my anxiety. When the doctor first told me about my “retina wrinkles” I asked him what caused them—–obviously, I told him, they weren’t caused by sleeping on them the “wrong way.” That little tidbit of humor was ignored or culturally incomprehensible. God bless and keep you.

February 8 2014 001

Photograph by K. Farwell

I got to try out my cleats this afternoon in a parking lot that was one solid sheet of ice…and, they worked! I took them off to go into the store, and stopped to replace them once I was outside and ready to work my way across the parking lot back to my car after I was through shopping. As I was replacing them, a man called out from the driver’s seat of his idling pickup, “Now that’s what I call a good idea!” I replied, “Yes, especially for clumsy folks like me….these are kind of like snow tires for ‘old ladies.'”

The surprise contained in that last paragraph is the way I implied I was an old lady; the phrase rolled off my lips without a moment’s hesitation. Back in the day,  any man that introduced me as his “old lady” was in for a stern reprimand from me. I did not consider myself “old,” and I was certain I did not belong to another human being. I had an even stronger negative reaction to being called “chick.”

Now that I’ll be 65 next week, I have had to accept that I am joining the “officially old” population in just a few days. I am viewing being “old” differently now; probably out of necessity. Now it is almost like an honor to have reached recognizable “elder hood.” Ah, in that term, lies the essence of my new found comfort. To me, being an elder means being a respected citizen venerated as a source of wisdom gained from having lived a full life. Turning 65 represents hitting a milestone—a time to celebrate all that I enjoyed  and survived along the way.  My comfort level with being an elder is based on the insight that real wisdom lies in my willingness to continue to evolve, learn, love and grow. Nothing has to stop—-except those things I have always needed to stop.

So, in a few days I will officially consider myself an elder. Yes, there will be “older moments”—-the kind I still don’t enjoy; most of those are an effect of physical aging. My human body is wearing out one day at a time. This thought makes me chuckle because I realize my body has been doing that one day at a time for my entire life. I am sure that even as a toddler and small child I had cells in my body that were wearing out and being replaced by new cells. This aging process is different though. It is not just about losing cells, it is about losing abilities, or at least partially doing so—-abilities that I have taken for granted up until now. I gratefully realize, however, that I have come out on the “winning side” of the bargain;  I have gained so much more than I could ever possibly lose in this experience called life. So what if I don’t move as fast or as gracefully as I once did? So what if I have periodic bouts of pain? My “lifetime of experience”  has certainly been worth the price. I even welcome the wrinkles that are becoming more pronounced on my face; to me they are mapping out the emotions I have experienced during my life time, and I am happy  most of my wrinkles are “smile wrinkles.”

Enough. I had no idea I’d end up writing today about my thoughts as I approach the age of 65. No telling where my mind will wander when I let it! Thanks for wandering with me. God bless and keep you.