Greeting The Angel Of Aging

Dear Friends,

I use the word “greet” with purposeful intent versus applying terms such as “fighting, tackling or confronting aging”.  I’ve also decided to take the phrase “anti-aging” out of my vocabulary. I know where my bread is buttered and who has the upper hand here, and it is not MOI.  The one who holds the advantage is that all powerful force called aging, and no one escapes it.  I have too much respect for the aging process, and so I tread carefully. I greet her with a smile and prayerful hands, utilizing courtesy and a humble approach as if that might sway my friend — whom I now consecrate with the title Angel Of Aging.

She visits me every night and morning, never letting me forget that she is close at hand and reminding me that when the day is over, it is gone, consumed in a puff of smoke, never to return. And when I wake, I feel fortunate to be gifted with another day and I am counseled inwardly  to not waste it, because it, too, is going to zoom by, no doubt faster than the previous day. It must be a new law of physics known to many but not formally recognized in scientific manuals and it is this very obvious fact of life: the older one is, the faster the days and years whizz by. Time actually speeds up – at least that is how it appears to me.

I am deferential with her, because who wants to have the Angel Of Aging as an enemy – certainly not me! I have polite conversations and I let her know that I am trying my best to be the best person I can be, to respect the temple of my body and brain, taking care to not abuse them; so, I ask her to go a bit easy on me, and to please go easy on those I love, as a matter of fact. I apply the wisdom of accepting the things I can not change (pretty much the entire world and everyone in it) and changing the things I can (myself).  This gives me a much needed injection of serenity and does wonders for peace of mind – a most crucial ingredient for balanced, happy and healthy living.  If I play my cards right, the Angel has the power to bestow remarkable gifts such as wisdom, mellowness and inner equanimity, and that suits me just fine!

I struck up a conversation recently with a man at a desert golf range who was chipping in his bare feet. He had grown up in Southern California and walked all his life barefoot on beaches and everywhere he could. He had the callouses to prove it. I commented that I heard it was really good to walk barefoot and absorb the healing energies of the earth  and I ended with the proclamation that he might live to be 120. He said “Woah, I don’t want to live that long!” Along these same lines, I shared a new morning routine with a gym friend that I do nutrition wise (see below for the secret ingredient). It turns out she is doing a very similar thing and we marveled at the synchronicity.  She remarked, “We are going to live to be 200” and I wanted to respond (like the man at the golf range), “woah… not so fast!” Although I love and seize life, I’m not sure I want to live to be 120 or 200 either!

Of course, many of us (if not most of us) silently or not so silently wish that aging did not come with so many ill side effects.  As a former business colleague intoned, “the golden years ain’t so golden!”  Many of us do our darnedest to thwart aging (I will add the word “thwart” to the list of words I will not use vis-a-vis the Angel, ha ha) and despite our best efforts, we inevitably reach a point where we hear the body creaking and cracking, new aches appear daily and we can’t get up as quickly as we used to!  I did not acutely feel the vicissitudes of aging until I reached my sixth decade, and then reality smacked me in the face.  In my case,  arthritis erupted from out of the blue and caught me by surprise.  My Father quit golf at the age of 78 because of painful arthritis. Knowing this, my husband recently came home happy to announce that he had stumbled upon a new recipe to treat arthritis. He had been chatting it up with a stranger while they both waited at a tire center.  The conversation moved in the direction of golf and arthritis (these are the topics of discussion, naturally, for retirees in the California desert! 😂). The stranger revealed that thanks to a miracle concoction, his arthritis had been arrested and he was back to playing golf again!  Of course, my follow-up question was, “What is this miracle cure?”  My husband replied with all seriousness, “It’s called terminex.”

I gently informed him that what he thought was a cure for arthritis was actually a poison!🤣  Thank goodness for web search engines, because I plugged in “miracle drink for arthritis” and I had to do it a couple of times to get any kind of hit that might resemble the word terminex!  And voila, it finally popped up:  Turmeric!  I showed my husband the discovery, and he said, quite proudly, that’s it!

So I’ve been making a turmeric based drink each morning and I have to say that the pain in my hands has lessened.  I use organic powdered turmeric and pair it with orange juice, coconut water, liquid organic ginger, cherry juice concentrate for a light libation (the bitterness of turmeric needs to be offset by ginger, cherry or honey); and if I want more of a meal, I add other ingredients that strike my fancy: collagen protein, blueberries, spinach, amazing greens, and a dab of organic coconut oil… and I am ready to take on the world.

I eat my wild salmon, almonds, walnuts, grass-fed butter, olive oil, dark leafy greens, fruits and vegetables, drink water laced with sliced lemons and limes and then I cross my fingers big time!  For nothing is guaranteed, as we know.  I am personally not an angel so I have lots of cheat days! Despite a very healthy diet and lifestyle, my beloved Father succumbed to cancer.  And then there is the lady I know who has done “everything wrong” according to the experts:  worry, drink alcohol in excess, obsess and stress.  And yet she has been most fortunate to reach her late 80s! Despite this exception, it is my guess that a serene mental landscape can be a helpful factor in living a long and healthy life.  I wasn’t always so good at maintaining a steady, unruffled and quiet mind, one devoid of worry, angst, mania, or chatter.  But as I’ve gotten older,  I try to not sweat the small stuff and I ask, “How important is it?”  If I stop to pause, I realize that much of it is stuff that can be ignored, discarded, set aside.  My kids may attest to the fact that I struggle some days to maintain a semblance of serenity (that ol’ Irish temperament likes to blow off steam from time to time, hee hee), but they will also tell you that I try like heck to be a better human being.

I also don’t hold any illusion of having control over chaos and drama that is part of the external world, and I know that I do have choices!  Personally, I make a choice to limit exposure to TV, news, screeching music, and toxic people.  I simply follow the guidance of my instincts and intuition; All I know is what I feel inside and it is often a state of inner wonderment and contentment that has no connection to the outside world.  Maybe I’ve latched onto something and if it’s due to the fact that I detach from worldly madness, then so be it.  “I can detach and still love, still feel. I can learn to take care of my own business while allowing others to tend to theirs. Today I can detach without losing compassion.”   (from the book Courage to Change, p. 187)          

In addition to limiting exposure to bedlam, I endeavor to also limit focus on regrets and shame.  It’s not easy for a person who’s hard on herself and who has a long list of regrets, and this is where Alanon 12 Step work has helped me to arrive at a state of greater self acceptance, and encouraged me to learn from the past, but not stare at it for hours!

My Father had a favorite song that he would sing whenever something threatened to make him feel regretful:

“And I could cry for the time I’ve wasted

But that’s a waste of time and tears,

And I know just what I’d change

If I went back in time somehow

But there’s nothing I can do about it now”

Thanks Willie Nelson, and thanks Dad!  Every time I hear that song, I can’t help but smile and think about what a peaceful man my father was.  He had latched onto something!

I opened a fortune cookie the other night and here is what it revealed:

You see the beautiful in the ordinary. Appreciate this gift.”

I am so grateful and indeed appreciative for the ordinary for truly it hides the extraordinary.  My father sang that Willie Nelson song quite often on a family cross-country trip about 15 years ago, so much so that I got annoyed. I believe I might have griped, “If I hear that song one more time, I am going to scream!”  How I wish I could have a re-do, go back in time and say, “sing it again!”  But that would be a regret, wouldn’t it?  My Dad’s singing was an ordinary moment in time –  but boy did those moments of his therapeutic singing hold something extraordinary, so much so that this song still moves me to this day and makes me smile and feel quite nostalgic. I will love and cherish that song until I take my last breath – it is a harmonic, spiritual connection to my Father.

Discussion of music and parents reminds me that I serenaded my Mom earlier in the year on her 87th birthday with an out-of-tune rendition of “Moon River” as I strummed my ukulele.  It’s one of her favorite songs and I grew up on it, so I surprised her and offered it up as a gift from my spirit to hers. We sat side by side, singing at too high of a key and laughing, and unbeknownst to her, a few tears pooled in my eyes. It was an ordinary moment but it stands out in my mind as such a poignant experience. I went through a lot of ups and downs with my Mother, but here I was, her elder daughter, snuggling next to her and experiencing healing through music, laughter, forgiveness, and mutual acceptance.

A recent glimpse in Lake Tahoe of bright yellowed leaves on Birch trees swaying and glistening in the sunshine like a painting aglow with fire; Dad singing the Willie Nelson song, “There’s nothing I can do about it now!” in a hotel hallway; sitting with Mom on a San Francisco park bench on a Sunday afternoon while friends gather around to chit chat and dogs beg for treats. All ordinary moments but ones that strike a flame in my soul. How sweet life is, and how tragically short.  Next time you get annoyed with a singing relative, savor it my friend, savor it.

The Angel of Aging has us all in her scope, so savor those extraordinary, ordinary moments of each day.  And don’t forget the terminex… oops I mean, turmeric! 😉

With love,

S.G.

27 thoughts on “Greeting The Angel Of Aging

    • Dear Pat,
      I look back to my time at U of O and your friendship made all the difference to little ol’ lonely me. Let’s have some golf time as soon as you can. Thank you for your sweet comment.

      Love,
      S.G.

      Like

  1. Se beautiful and so true thanks for verbalizing for all of us! There is definitely a sense of what’s next as we get older ,looking back with gratitude ,at the beautiful moments is the best way to approach the unknown . thanks Susan for sharing ,looking forward to many more blogs of wisdom and grace 🧘🏽‍♀️🙏🏽🌷💋😘

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Celia,

      You continue to inspire me with your enthusiasm, love and shining light. That is something so natural to you and no one and nothing can take it away. I am blessed to know you! As is everyone who comes into your circle. I know more adventures await both of us!

      Love,
      S.G.

      Like

  2. Love this Susie Q! The depth, reflection, humor, stories of dad and mom, all so tender and sweet. 💖
    I wish I’d heard dad sing that song!
    Can’t wait to try me some terminex. Lol. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear M.R.,

      Your support, comment and love are deeply appreciated. I feel so bad about getting annoyed with Dad but he keeps singing in my ear “don’t worry about it, nothing you can do about it now!” He is so missed but I know he’s pleased that we are one big happy family ~ for the most part! 😉 😉

      Love ya Sis,
      S.G..

      Like

  3. Really, really loved this post; to the moon river and back; fed my spirit and soul. Thank you for this literary gem, Susan. A wonderful reminder
    to seize the precious moments and not to “sweat the small stuff”.
    Thank you for sharing this.
    Love,
    Gail

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Gail,
      Love your comment! You and I have traveled such a similar road and it warms my soul to know that my writing touched your heart. My Dad used to tell me that I would get more with honey than vinegar; I didn’t figure that one out for a long long time, and I wish my Dad could see the version of me that I have become, but I really believe that he sees all this from Heaven’s house.

      Love
      S.G.

      Like

    • Thanks Mr. Ryan for reading and commenting – it means the world to me. Yes, your grandfather was a very special man. He is so missed – we had so many good times and so many good memories. One of my favorite memories is Pa Rubel arriving on the golf coursed armed and ready with some blonde jokes just to pull my chain. I loved it! In fact, right before he passed away I came to his bedside armed with blonde jokes myself just to cheer us all up. We will see him again, one day. Family is everything, as you know.

      Love,
      S.G. (Mom)

      Like

  4. Oh, Sue, as always, inspirational and informative. I had to laugh since there is a HUGE difference between Terminix and tumeric! Good thing you were around to correct Danny, or he might be swilling roach killer. (That’s why studies show married men live longer…LOL!) Thanks for sharing your recipes as well. I love your opening paragraph about being so mindful of how we approach aging. Not “tackling” not defying it, not being anti-aging, but embracing it lovingly, indeed as an “old” friend. We’re all going there, we might as well make friends! I don’t want to live to be 120 or even 100 as relationships and mobility are high on my own priority list and I can’t imagine life as not having both. You’re a big part of that, my very dear friend. Keep writing. I’m always reading you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Suzette,

    Aah, I always love getting a comment from you. You are so wise, intuitive, intelligent and insightful. Why, one would think that you were an angel on earth! Well, you are, and I am so lucky and blessed to call you friend. Thank you for reading!

    Love,
    S.G.

    Like

  6. Wow! I was definitely meant to find this blog. This is beautifully written and contains numerous gems of wisdom. There are so many ordinary moments that I previously ignored or rushed through that I now miss beyond words. Savor the ‘extraordinary ordinary moments’ is very wise advice indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Donna,

      How kind of you to read and comment, and how wonderful to have met you and find out we have so many common areas of interest, including blogging in our retirement phase. Your joy for life and adventure is contagious and I am inspired by you! Your feedback is dearly appreciated!

      See you on the yoga or aerobics floor, hee hee. Health and vitality after 60 here we come 👏

      Love
      S. G.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Another masterpiece Susan! The extraordinariness of the ordinary. The eternal things that last forever, not like the temporary, that melt away eventually. Very uplifting and fun to read. Maybe I will try some turmeric. Ha ha. My sister is always talking that up!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dear SH,

    Thank you for reading and your kind support. The turmeric is helping, I am so pleased to report. If my words that are inspired from the heart help another person, then I am beyond happy. I try to go beyond the surface in how I approach and live life and as you write, that’s where the mystery and beauty lie.

    Love
    S. G.

    Like

  9. Donna at Retirement Reflections sent me this way via her current post.

    I adore your Angel of Aging. The idea of meeting her is delightful and dare I say hopeful? As in, I hope that if I treat her with respect, she’ll do the same for me. Turmeric helps joint pain, you say? I must look into that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Ally,

      Welcome aboard the grace train where we endeavor to coast through the mountains and valleys of life, detaching from chaos and division, cultivating inner peace and serenity to the best of our ability in order that we may better serve others and serve ourselves as well!

      As to the turmeric, it seems to be working for me. I use a brand from Starwest Botanicals (organic turmeric root powder) available from Vitacost. If you search “the miracle drink that treats arthritis, relieves pain and inflammation”, you may find more information as to how to use turmeric and in what doses. I started out sparingly because one needs to get used to it as it can be a bit overpowering.

      Perhaps, just perhaps the Angel of Aging was watching over me and created a chance encounter (my husband’s random conversation with a stranger) whereby I would find this natural treatment for arthritis. I think angels might work that way, behind the scenes 😉 I am always grateful for a boon here and there.

      May you have a beautiful evening,

      S.G.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Found your blog through Donna’s Retirement Reflections, Susan, and enjoyed your take on the Angel of Aging. Much better than fighting it! And I am so put off by people who do plastic surgery and look like freaks. Your turmeric discovery via terminex made me laugh! Also discovered we have a mutual friend – Suzette Standring. Isn’t she fabulous?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Molly,

      A hardy and hearty welcome to you! Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I just found out that my angel of aging blog inspired an 80 year old friend to rethink her purple dyed hair and her artificial nails. It’s too much work, she’s telling me. She wants freedom from the constant upkeep of the purple hues and long artificial nails preventing her from texting me! I can’t say I stay from away the hairdresser and the tin foils that put blonde streaks in my hair (yet I have gone au naturel in the past and plan to do so at a future date) And… aging is always, always going to win out no matter how many times one visits the plastic surgeon. In my sixth decade, I’m looking instead for inner freedom, peace of mind, kindness, mellowness, an authentic life, not how I can look 20 or even 30 or even 40. Yikes! BUT, I might take 50 again, hee hee.

      And yes, Suzette! I’ve known her for 50 years. Can you believe it. I wrote about my trip to see her in a blog I posted on July 31 (Travel Meditations: When Heart to speaks to Heart). Speaking of hearts, Suzette has a big one. So glad you know her.

      May you have a beautiful day and be well,
      S.G.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love your goals for your sixth decade, Susan. Since I’m 65 I missed that window but these are still applicable to me in my 7th decade. I do color my hair and add highlights and have declared I’ll do this until I can’t drag myself to the hairdresser! This is my one concession to denial of my aging process. Haha! I met Suzette in 2016 at the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop. We shared an Uber at 4 am to the airport, had breakfast together and couldn’t stop talking. I knew she was the real deal and have seen her twice since at the annual NSNC conference. The most recent one in June she further showed her compassion and kindness to me when I had an accident the first day I was in Cincinnati. I fell on an uneven sidewalk and sustained a bump on the head/concussion/two black eyes. She was so helpful to me and even reimbursed me the registration fee since I had to return home and missed the entire conference. I will delve into your blog and read about your travels meditations. Lovely to meet you!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lovely to meet you, too, Molly! The world needs more humor and light heartedness, wouldn’t you say? And you and Suzette do your very best to supply that to the world in spades! Great to hear from you again!

        ❤️❤️❤️
        S.G.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Hello Susan. I also found your blog through Donna’s Retirement Reflections. Thank you for these words of wisdom, stated so beautifully in a way that entertained as well as informed. I have noticed time moving faster. Each night when I go to bed, I find myself thinking, “we’re here again already!” Each morning, when the alarm goes off at an ungodly hour, I remind myselfI how lucky I am to have another day and I repeat, “I am full of gratitude and love for another day on this earth.” The Angel of Aging is leaving her mark, so I do my best to take care of my body, mind, and soul, and accept the inevitable signs of aging with grace. Enjoy your day!
    ~Christie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Christie,

      Lovely to hear from you and receive your most beautiful, wise comment. You sound like a soul sister! I resonate with every line you wrote!

      May your evening be blessed,
      S.G.

      Like

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