Almost ten years ago, Christine Purves, one of so many ElderChicks who has inspired me, wrote the following toward the end of a well-lived life:

I am quite different from the person who last wrote. Then I was still climbing trees. Now I am 95 years old and live in a retirement home called FRIEDA House. But it is very comfortable. We have our own bathroom! And we never have to move. We are permitted to die here. Now that is a comforting thought for me. No kidding.

I still belong to a community book club. We just read “The Buddha in the Attic” and next will be “The Roundhouse.” I hope to interest them in “Refuge” by Terry Tempest Williams.

We Mennonites have a church bus that gets me and a man with Lou Gehrig’s disease in our wheelchairs plus 10 or so walking members – canes, walkers and so on- to church Sunday mornings. A friend takes me to the home games of our Bluffton University basketball games. Fun.

My eyes work much better than my ears – I feel fortunate that ANYTHING works – so enough for now. – love to you readers.

I’ve been asked to speak about “Growing Old vs Being Old.”  What do you think?  Does everyone who lives out one’s natural length of years become Old?  What does that mean?  To you?  To others you observe?  To our elected and appointed government officials?  

Please click here and tell us!

I think of “getting old” as a physiological process, “being old” as a chronological state. My challenge is not to fall into the condition of acting old but to keep myself focused on the present, learn new things (such as different applications on the computer) and be as physically active as i can be. Fortunately, I can still be and that makes me lucky.

Aging is a mindset. I know I am 75 but I do NOT feel 75. How we FEEL is what fuels us. Yes, I look in the mirror with a grandmother looking back and,at times, I think of puffing up those lips, but it has not happened. My stamina is not 100%, but I blame it on my newly diabetic diagnosis, rather then the fact COVID has left an imprint on my couch. I have awakened to the fact I have become a slouch! A couch potato! I have begun to take early morning walks to wind me back up. My friend and I have been on numerous shopping trips to furnish her new house and years back, after shopping. I would be out dancing. Now I totally konk out.

Aging politicians…75. No. Biden is the perfect example. Today I am going to buy a bike and pedal around the park, which reminds me of a hamster on a wheel, but, after COVID and now diabetes, I need to pump myself back up and lose excess pounds.
So, aging for me, is just another chapter that I am enjoying, with all the ups and downs. At any age, there are those ups and downs, and there have been a lot of downs, yet I am thankful for every tomorrow.

My mind is youthful and vigorous; my body has other realities… When I was 65 I was given a death sentence of sorts, an incurable lung disease from having taken phen fen. One is considered a long term survivor of pulmonary hypertension after 10 years, and there aren’t that many. But, here I am, 23 years later, making long term plans for me and my family. I am grateful.

I decided to move to a senior community in NE PHilly, where the medical care is excellent, the food is well prepared and adequate. I am grateful not to have to stand on my feet to cook my food; I have no complaints. The main reason I moved here was to be closer to my family: daughter and married granddaughter. It was a good choice, and I’m glad I made it for myself. I am grateful for so much: my memory is good, my problem solving skills are kept sharp, I have made a new friend who feels like a long-lost sister to me here: life is good.  

I’ve wanted to go to the International Spy Museum in Washington DC for more than 10 years, and last week that dream was a reality: my 22 year old grandson also wanted a break from his heavy schoolwork load, and we enjoyed a three day adventure together.  

I am grateful for so much. I have retained my optimistic outlook and self confidence; I am getting older, yes, but I do not feel old. I am open to growth of spirit and random acts of kindness; I appreciate the thoughtful acts of others. Life is good.

Mindset by Wendy

What an important post. Being Old vs. Growing Old. To me, being old is a mindset and it sounds like your friend, Christine Purves, had a mindset of Being Alive. 

Very much like retirement means, withdrawl, I think being old is a way of living small and slow and tired. Sure, as we grow older, we do slow down, and we do get tired more easily. Accepting that as normal, in my opinion, helps us grow old gracefully while living life.

I like the idea of Being Alive. My father used to wear a pendant that said ALIVE. In the last months of his life, he had kidney failure and COPD. He went into hospice care in December of 2008, at home. But he still wanted to live. We would take him to parks nearby so he could put his little dog into his walker and take short walks. He liked taking the little dog to Lowe’s and visit with the people there. He was still working on a play he was writing about Irving Berlin that he hoped to produce at the retirement community where he lived. My Mom completed that work for him after he passed.

I think of my Dad as Being Alive as he was Growing Old.

Thank you again for this post.