B is for Brain Power

B is for Brain Power

My joints are stiff, my muscles suffer from atrophy and my brain is rusty. There is no doubt about it. It is called growing old, and the decline goes hand and hand with aging.

But is this true?

What if physical decline is not as heavily tied to aging as we think?

What if our brain is like a muscle that suffers when not used?

The expression grow old suggests a condition we developed. However, many ninety-year old’s have more energy and are less forgetful than peers in their seventies. Some of us become decrepit, some don’t and some maintain a quality of life well beyond their physical ailments. Why?

I thought of Christopher Columbus, not because he was old but because he disputed the belief that the world was flat and travelers would fall off. Yes! I know he didn’t set out to prove the world was round; the hope of profit from the spice trade made him set sail, but his frequent voyages proved the point. The world was round. People had been limiting their behavior based on a false belief.

Is aging a self-fulfilling prophecy? gb_magazine_fall20_cover-1161x1536-1-1

Growing Bolder, a movement to rebrand aging, thinks it doesn’t have to be so. There is a PBS television show, podcast and magazine and numerous resources to support the idea.

“To change the way we age, we have to change the narrative around aging. Growing Bolder is doing just that. Learn how to stop growing older and start Growing Bolder.”

. . . just saying

Check out their website https://www.growingbolder.com/stories/introducing-the-new-look-growing-bolder-magazine/

You don’t need a WordPress account to comment. Two ways; in the comment box below or above the picture and to the right of the title there is an icon that will change color. Click on and you can comment. Ignore request for a name or username and write your comment. Press post or save.

A Self Help Look

The Self Help Look

I’ve thought of writing a self-help series to help myself deal with life and aging. You know something along the lines of; tips on how to get out of a chair or remembering where you’ve parked, and planned to hit the ground running on New Years’ Day.

Today is the first day of the year and the first day of the rest of your life would be the break out sentence. It’s catchy enough don’t you think?

The next day, I woke up thinking; every day is the first day of the rest of your life and readers might be bored. So, I switched to Today is the first day of the end of your life. I thought this funny and was amused with myself. After all, as my golfer husband says, “We’re on the back nine headed to the 18th hole.”

Would readers enjoy my black humor? I needed help and more than likely, unable to help myself. So, I put the self-help series on hold.

Then I found a pair of lost earrings and felt lucky. Perhaps I would focus on a series about luck. The lucky feeling continued when Bernie Sander’s mitten picture was plastered across the news.

Aren’t we lucky to have people like him to lighten the mood?

Perhaps I can help myself. I could call it The Aging Alphabet Series; A is for Attitude, B is for Brain Power, C is for Constipation, D is for Dementia, etc.  

. . . just saying

You don’t need a WordPress account to comment. Two ways; in the comment box below or above the picture and to the right of the title there is an icon that will change color. Click on and you can comment. Ignore request for a name or username and write your comment. Press post or save.

What Are You Thinking?

 

Bings Landing, Hammock Florida

A friend phoned to invite me out today, I declined saying I was hoping to have a thought, something to write about, as Sunday is my day to post. I had not had one yet, and explained that these days I have to jumpstart my brain, and in addition, my sister had been visiting and we had been sightseeing. The pictures above were taken at Bings Landing where we had lunch at The Captains BBQ and enjoyed the view.  

The conversation caused me to think about thinking, or my failure to. I take that back, I think but not quickly and grab paper and pencil to write down my thoughts, so I do not forget. It didn’t used to be this way.

Before turning 70 years of age, I could keep a thought or idea in my head to be retrieved later. It occurred to me that maybe there is no more room in my head for new thoughts and perhaps the reason we keep thinking old thoughts, i.e., when I was young milk was 25 cents a gallon is because we have accumulated too many thoughts, many of which are dated.

Is there a way to get rid of old thoughts? Head concussions and strokes cause memory loss although these measures would be drastic. Perhaps we can delete or compress some thoughts to make space for new thoughts by viewing old thoughts from a new perspective. For example, can stale bread be made into bread pudding?

The Daytona Beach News-Journal article, ‘Luckiest guy in the world’ reported on the 100th Birthday celebration for Howard Turner a volunteer ambassador at Daytona Beach Airport. When asked about aging he said, “I’m lucky to be walking around. I don’t have a cane. I’m not in a wheelchair, I’m the luckiest guy in the world.” Who could argue with him. He did not talk about memory loss and says he looks to the future, perhaps that is his delete button.

We know the body slows down and the mind becomes stale with aging, but should we throw the loaf of bread out or make bread pudding?

I am thinking of standing on my head, it is just a thought.

What are you thinking?

. . . . just saying

 

The Ten Year Challenge

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

You would have to be living under a rock not to have heard about the “Ten-year Challenge” or like me, learned late in the game of the latest social media meme.

What is a meme you ask? Again, I am learning after the brou ha, ha. Merriam/Webster.com defines a meme as an element of a culture or system of behavior passed from one individual to another by non-genetic means, especially imitation. In other words, the latest craze or fad proliferated by social media.

Richard Dawkins, the British Scientist, first used the word in 1976 as “a unit of cultural transmission” to describe behavior. He was not talking about the flu.

The latest meme, the Ten Year Challenge, started on Facebook as a mindless past time; the craze took to Instagram and everyone jumped on the wagon, environmentalists reviewing how the past ten years have aged nature, and intellectual types, like John Dickerson of CBS News, talked about the benefits of aging on character, mind, and moral responsibility, although there was no mention of the President.

While celebrities are flaunting their good looks and comparing themselves in their twenties to their thirties, I wonder how I will look in ten years when eighty. Will I recognize myself?

The fun however, was short lived as suspicion arose that Facebook’s real purpose was for facial recognition, then lead to rumors they are colluding with Russia, and hint of a Muller investigation. The President did not comment on Twitter nor post before and after pictures on Instagram, while Sara Huckabee rolled her eyes and quietly said the rumors are unfounded and fake news.*

Investigations aside, facial recognition is becoming a scary issue for me. Life expectancy for a person my age is eighty and increases with age. My mom is ninety-five and still alive, factor in modern medicine and there is a good chance I will live another twenty-five years. Will I recognize myself?

Probably not, so I am working on a ten-year plan for Elderhood, you know like childhood when you wore diapers and had temper tantrums when told what to do.

The solution, I am going to lean in and embrace Elderhood; lose five lbs, travel more and write everyday.

 . . . . just saying.com

 

*Really fake news and not true, I made it up, unless proven otherwise

 

Make Your Bed Exercise

 

Double+Upholstered+Panel+Bed.jpg

 If we cannot change the behavior, can we change how we view the behavior?

One year ago, while struggling to make our Queen Size bed I questioned when did this bedspread become so heavy?

The task had become tedious, requiring walking around the bed about ten times to achieve a wrinkle free look, all the while complaining. I did not have the strength to flip the comforter across the bed.

I recalled working as a waitress/chambermaid at the Green Gables Hotel in Hensonville New York, how we would run upstairs after serving breakfast, to strip and remake beds, each bed taking approximately five minutes. We were back downstairs before the quest left the dining room. The year was 1964, and I was sixteen.

Bob, my husband, said, “Don’t make the bed. It’s only going to get messed up again.”

He is right, however I am a tidy person, an unmade bed was not an option. Call it a routine or habit started in childhood, you dressed and made your bed before breakfast.

I prefer the clean orderly picture a well-made bed creates and remember as a Mom of toddlers tripping over Lincoln Logs, Match Box cars, baby dolls, and diapers in the living room to find refuge in my bedroom and look at a tidy bed, knowing hospital corners were concealed under the spread.

Now, I was not only older, but weaker.

Consequently, I signed up at a gym, even hired a personal trainer, and started treating the task of making a bed a challenge.

The results were slow but steady, considering I wanted to avoid pain and think sweating is highly over rated.

However, in July, we traveled north to escape Florida’s heat for four weeks, and I was at risk of becoming a statistic, most people (80%) stop going to the gym after five months.

13ff6543-74a7-4938-811f-97e6d4c24c9a_1.db6bc136ad0b6ef50bc16d0a248f0d17Luckily, I discovered a PBS program, Classical Stretch. by instructor Miranda Esmonde-White.  Her exercise program is amazing. I even bought her book, “Aging Backwards.” my friends are sick and tired of hearing me talk about her so I have stopped.

However, just listening to her talk while she exercises gave me a new perspective on aging.

She says the notion that muscle atrophy is synonymous with aging is false. The breakdown of muscles, muscle atrophy, is not caused by aging but by lack of use, and can happen at any age, but happens more quickly as we age. She references research to support her exercise approach to counter the premises that muscle atrophy is a side effect of aging.

So making a bed is more difficult at seventy, than at sixteen years old, not because of aging, but because of less activity. Miranda says in layman’s words, muscles not being used are programed to die.

Which came first the chicken or the egg or in this case, aging or less active? It does not matter, the solution is to exercise, all six hundred and forty muscles.

Since doing Classical Stretch, a twenty-three minute program, five days a week I have stopped taking naps and can make the bed in less than five minutes.     

. . . . just saying

 

 

Gray Hair and Feeling Maudlin

pictures-with-quotes-96.jpg

Now that the Christmas tree is back in the box it came in, and the furniture in its proper place, I am excited to start the New Year. Our grand-kids will be visiting this week and my husband, Bob, and I plan to visit Italy in the Spring. The temperature today is sixty-five, and its sunny. Life seems good when Bob mumbles something from the living room.

After forty-seven years of marriage, I am not certain if the mumbling is to annoy me, or he has forgotten I cannot hear with the water running and question what he said, “Really? Alex Trebek is going off the air because he shaved his mustache?”

Bob is watching Jeopardy, and raises his voice to shout, “No I don’t like Alex Trebek with or without his mustache.”

There is something discerning about his tone. I turn off the water, grab a dishtowel, and join him on the couch. “I thought you liked Jeopardy.”

He continues grumbling that if the show had more categories about sports, he would know every answer, and that Alex Trebek is cheap, not giving every contestant all their earnings. I agree, second and third place contestants receive $2,000 and $1,000 respectively not their final Jeopardy winnings.

Understand, Bob can be grumpy. He sports a tattoo; one of Disney’s Seven Dwarfs, Grumpy, however this seems unusual, and I ask, “Are you feeling maudlin?”

He replies emphatically, “Yes! I just don’t know what else can go wrong!”

Surprised by his reaction, I am concerned and say, “Has something happened?”

Now, Bob has had numerous medical challenges and I joke, “He has no pancreas, no spleen, no gallbladder, no thyroid and no appendix but a full head of hair and all his own teeth.” He is a healthy man. So I ask again, “What is it?”

Hesitantly he says, “Today after golf, I showered, and like I always do, combed my hair, head down over the sink, but when I stood up the sink was full of gray hair. I am losing my hair! I can’t believe something else is wrong.”

No wonder he is feeling maudlin, the salt and pepper hair makes him look younger. However, I laugh and through uncontrollable chuckles explain the gray hair is mine, combed into the sink while cleaning my hairbrush that morning, and evidently forgot to wipe up.

“So I’m not losing my hair,” he says and relieved joins me in laughter.

I am reminded of a Betty Davis quote, “Old age is not for sissies.” She is right.

                                                                        . . . . just saying

If I Could Turn Back Time

honors_header_img

I  am not the only one getting older, I thought watching the Kennedy Center Honors program the day after Christmas. Many honorees are older, their achievements come over time. Cher looked fantastic at seventy-two years of age. In tribute to Cher, Cindi Lauper strutted her sixty-five year old body across the stage, singing “If I Could Turn Back Time”. Cindy appeared a little winded and I worried her wig would fall off but delivered a great performance that had the audience on their feet.

“You go girl!” I said out loud repeating the refrain If I Could Turn Back Time, and clapping along.

It is not possible to turn back time, really, but the program was a reminder that some people are better at aging. Is it possible to slow down the aging process and not become old people: frail, feeble and decrepit?

Take a  look at Nancy Pelosi, who sat in the balcony during the show, totally enjoying herself.

220px-Nancy_Pelosi_2012Politics aside, she looks marvelous at seventy-eight years of age and according to VeryWellHealth.Com her life expectancy is increasing.

Statistics indicate,  “If you make it to 75 your life expectancy increases to 86.8. You gain another 3.4 years. That means the average 75-year-old will live 9.3 years longer than the average child born in 2006. Go figure, you can increase life expency by living longer.

Nancy Pelosi is aging well. She probably has a fitness trainer and had “work” done., however, would never be called old.

So where does that leave the rest of us? Can we avoid becoming “old people”?

Aristotle said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act but a habit.”

I looked at the habits of old people and came up with seven.

Seven Habits of Old People

  1. They spend a minimum of five hours a day sitting
  2. When shopping, they park as close as possible to the store, shuffle in and lean on the shopping cart for upper body support.
  3. Stay home when it rains.
  4. Complain they can’t remember and don’t.
  5. Think getting mail, even junk mail, doctor appointments and garbage pickup are highlights in a day.
  6. They yell at other drivers, scream at computers and curse at their cell phones
  7. They talk mostly about medical issues, who died and what is wrong in the world.

If I have left something out, but you cannot remember what; type CRN (Can’t Remember Now) in the comment box which can be found below.

web1_7886253-5d7ed1924de6438784f985b5c5347722

                                           Just Saying . . . .  If we could turn back time?

 

Summer Time

sunset-sunrise-61-Beautiful-Free-Pictures.jpg

Summer Time

Today is Thursday, June 21st, the 172nd day of 2018, there are 193 days left in the year, officially it is summer and the song Summer Time, and its refrain, living is easy  repeatedly plays in my head.

I am remembering the time in my life when school was almost out and a Fourth of July Parade followed by fireworks signaled the start of endless summer days. Some mornings there were swimming lessons at one of the Levittown pools,  other mornings I would meet my friend, Vicki Love, under our weeping willow tree to play cards, search for a four-leaf clover or read Nancy Drew Mysteries.

It was not necessary to phone, text or email we made plans the night before as the streetlights went on signaling everyone to go home.

Lunch was either peanut butter and jelly, bologna or tuna fish on white mushy bread, then we walked once again to the pool for an afternoon swim. We may have watched cartoons before the Dinah Shore Show followed by dinner woven with family discussion. The girls did the dishes while the boys disposed of the trash.

We now live in Florida where the kids have been out of school and the days hot since the end of May. The sun is too strong, the humidity an albatross around my neck and I spend most of the day inside wearing a sweatshirt because air conditioning and I do not get along. We will head north to New Jersey in a couple of weeks to a cabin rental on Cozy Lake to visit family and friends and fend off mosquitoes.

I have a long list of books to read because I made a commitment to the Great American Read. So far, I read 1984, The Giver, neither of which was cheery, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland a story of nonsense I returned because it made no sense, and Invisible Man, feels like homework, I will let you know.

 In between, I am reading books by Alexander McCall Smith, a favorite author of mine known for the PBS series The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency.

The song, Summer Time is still rumbling around my head causing me to wonder why the living was easy and  I have concluded it was not because I was a kid and times were simpler as much as, kids were not allowed to watch TV and did not read the newspaper.

I have news fatigue, so without naming names, decided to dust off my Nancy Drew collection.

Its summer time and living needs to get easy.

.  .  .  . just saying

Next Door Neighbors

american-gothic-grant-wood-art-institute-of-chicago-244I keep thinking today is Thursday and it is only 6:30 in the morning. I started thinking today was Thursday in the middle of the night, do not know why because yesterday definitely felt like Tuesday which it was, consequently I should have a feeling today is Wednesday but do not. However, what difference does it make if today is Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday? I am retired!

Nevertheless, I am happy today is Wednesday, not Thursday, because that gives me an extra day between Wednesday and Friday which I need since I opened my big mouth and invited the neighbors over because, although everyone appears to be happy standing in driveways with the sun beating down on our heads pretending not to sweat while we chat, I envision something else.

Well actually, what happened is Mr. Wonderful* came back from getting the mail and announced that the Smith’s house was for sale. Surprised, I asked where were they moving to, his response  “No one is moving “Mary died, that’s why all the cars were parked there last week.”

Stunned I expressed how terrible it is we did not know, and asked about her husband and if he will move closer to family, Mr. Wonderful said, “No her husband died six months ago.”

When we moved here, I joined Nextdoor ,  a private social network that will help find your dog or a plumber so I would be in the know but could not remember my password and instead started knocking on doors.

So we are getting together in two days.

There really is not much to do, neighbors said they would bring what they like to drink and a dish to pass but I need to dust and make sure the toilet is flushing properly which it started not doing the day before yesterday. I need to find that password.

In the mean time bits and pieces from a Chinese passage about neighbors and community are creeping into my head, and search online to find this;

Let there be a small country with a few people

Though neighboring communities overlook one another and the crowing of cocks and barking dogs can be heard

Yet the people there may grow old and die without ever visiting one another

Oh, now I remember what difference it makes if today is Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday; Wednesday morning the trash gets picked up.

                               .  .  .  .  Just saying

Painting by Grant Wood

*Mr. Wonderful is my husband of 47 years

 

 

 

 

Grant Wood Pitch Fork

Just Another Day

bulow-creek-state-park

The Fairchild Oak

Just Another Day

Today is just another day but not really. It is a day not to be anywhere, do anything, or explain why I changed my mind about doing nothing and did something. I was awake at 2am listening to the rain, thunder, and cracks of lightning like special effects from an Alfred Hitchcock film flash outside the bedroom window until 4am, when I got out of bed.

I was not going back to sleep.

Sprinkling cinnamon and sugar on a toasted piece of wheat bread smothered with real butter, I watch the mixture ooze into its crevices’, and ponder whether to brew a cup of coffee to dip its crust in, or walk to the Fairchild Oak, less than a mile from here, but consider how muddy the venture would be, and instead make beef barley soup from left over steak, adding frozen green peas, the petite ones.  

Today is just another day but not really. After watching an interview on CBS Morning News about Tom Hanks collection of short stories, “Uncommon Type” (the title reflects his fondness for and use of old typewriters) I am reading the book and now in love with him.

He laughs at himself, and likes writing because he knows what the prize is inside the box, or so he says.th

The book jacket describes Hank’s first work of fiction as one “that dissects, with great affection, humor, and insight, the human condition and all its foibles.”

I hear Tom’s voice as I pretend he is reading to me and sip beef broth standing up.

Today is just another day but not really, it is the first day of the rest of my life.

.  .  .  .  just saying