Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Aging is an Extreme Sport

Two Thoughts for Tuesday

In November, while on my little hiatus from blogging, I decided to take some road trips.  When I am not inspired to whine to all my bloggee friends, I try to channel my energy into other things.   So, I took myself to Arkansas to visit my 100 year old grandmother.   I don't do this nearly often enough and she reminds me on a regular basis that she isn't getting any younger. 

The real "bite in the butt" about visiting my grandma is I have a freakish resemblance to her.  The story goes that my mother, upon the event of my birth, started crying.  Uncontrollable, inconsolable, crying...when asked why, she said to my dad "She looks just like your mother".  She didn't mean it as a compliment but I suspect my mother wasn't my grandma's biggest fan.

Alas, in November when I walked into the living room to visit Grandma,  at least 3 family members just felt compelled to say, "Gosh, you two look alike."   Thanks a heap, family!!! Are you saying that I look like I am approaching my 101st birthday.  (Although, to be fair, my grandma doesn't look a day over 85)

Trying to look at the more positive aspects of having a grandma that will celebrate 101 is that I could honestly  claim that  I was middle aged when I had my 50th birthday.  I will also, concede that it  is gratifying to hope that I will be as funny and articulate at 100 as my Grandma is.  I would like to think that  I will still be living at home and making funny jokes and following them up with a really cute laugh as she does.    Time will tell.  What is not particularly fun is seeing what another 41 years looks like on my face.  I suspect that her face indeed will be my face in that time of my life. 

Thought #1

Why is it that as people go over the 50 mark,  there is an enormous bias (let's be honest...bigotry) dealing with aging? The only upside to this is that usually when people get into their 90's and 100's everyone thinks they are adorable. (and they are,  nine times out of ten)

Aging in America is difficult. We live in culture where youth is more than admired..... it is required.  Getting older is very much frowned upon in today's America.  (Be ever so mindful of the frown lines that would ensue by all those frowns)

 No more are the days of all the glorious quotes that equate longevity with wisdom and grace. 

The years teach much which the days never knew. 
 ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk. 
 ~Doug Larson

Age  is the acceptance of a term of years. But maturity is the glory of years.
-- Martha Graham

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.
-- Eleanor Roosevelt

Thought #2

Not long ago I went to a luncheon where  a couple of the Hallmark Card creators were  in attendance.  One of the glories of Kansas City, is in fact, it is the home of Hallmark.  A lot of creative types work and live here for that company.  Anyway, John Wagner was there.  He was on the program to do a little presentation about his cartoon "Maxine".  

Maxine is loosely based on his mother and aunt, I think he said.  Or maybe he told me it was based on his grandmother and mother.   I was so busy being amused that I no longer remember exactly what he said. He is a totally entertaining guy.  Go buy some of his Shoebox cards.

So my second thought is....Please don't let me be so negative (albeit funny) that people make comic strips out of my bitchy old self.   OR if they do, they need to fork over the profits to help pay for my long term care when I am committed.


If one were to do a cartoon about me, this might fit.

Speaking of aging... a little joke....

After being married 25 years, a man looked at his wife one day and said, "You know, 25 years ago we lived in a cheap apartment, drove a cheap car, had only a sofa bed and watched a 14" black and white television. BUT, every night I got to sleep with a hot 25 year old blonde."

"Now," he continued, "We have a nice house, a new car, a big flat-screen TV, but I have to sleep with a 50 year old woman. It doesn't seem fair."

His wife was a reasonable woman. She replied, "Well, why don't you go out and get yourself a hot 25 year old blonde? Then I'll make sure you will once again live in a cheap apartment, drive a cheap car, have only a sofa bed and watch a 14" black and white television."

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Nicky said...

Your Grandmother is funny and articulate at 100?! Damn. I'm inarticulate and sad and I'm only 43.

Oh, and I will definitely support your long term care by purchasing a Cheryl card. :-)

AngelBaby said...

Boy oh boy do I know what you mean .............. I say getting old is not for sissies! It is really hard to grow old gracefully. Right now I do not feel like being graceful anyway! I love the Maxine comics they are so funny and they do strike a cord with me. LOL!

It is so nice to see you back.
Here's your click.............

Love and Blessings,

Cheryl P. said...

I think aging isn't a graceful transition in most cases but when you are being bombarded with media driven hype extolling unrealistic models of what we should all look like it certainly makes it harder. Wouldn't it be fun to say whatever is on our mind as Maxine does and expect that people would laugh as opposed to punching us in the face.

Cheryl P. said...

Nicky you may be sad (although, I doubt it) but you certainly are NOT inarticulate. AHHH, 43 sounds so nice. I am envious.

Wolfbernz said...

Hi Cheryl,

How wonderful that your grandma is 100 years old! It's true, the older they get, the the cuter they are and the more they can get away with.

I think I'll skip the cheap apartment and the 25 year old blonde and the used car LOL

Clicks for you!

meleahrebeccah said...

OHMYWORD! Your Gramma is 100? That is amazing!

Well, I am only 37 and I am already overly concerned with aging. I smoke too much drink too much, and stay up way too late at night, all of which have contributed to me looking a lot older than I really am.

However, I am definitely NOT prepared to take any sort of drastic measures at this point.


OH SNAP!! You met John Wagner? *faints*

I LOVE MAXINE. I wanna be just like her!

PS: That joke was awesome.

oldereyes said...

Interestingly, I find people treat me pretty well but a certain amount of "old fart" kidding comes with it. I think it's easier to age as a man, partly because so many guys are jerks about women aging. I think it's fun to have a grumpy persona like Maxine or my Inner Curmudgeon that you can use to be funny. Muri loves Maxine (I think she's the alter ego Muri just can't be). You're joke gave me a good senior chuckle.

Bud aka Older Eyes

Cheryl P. said...

Good decision regarding the 25 year old blond.

My grandma is kind of a quite person so she doesn't spout off much but the fun of being 100 is eating whatever you want. She is in a phase of loving toast with jelly on it. Her doctor doesn't seem to think it will do her any harm.

Cheryl P. said...

Hi Meleah!!! I can't imagine you looking old. You look awesome. I tend to think a lot of how we age is genetic. My grandma has aged really well but my grandpa always looked old (from my perspective). I am hoping to take after my grandma.

John Wagner is so fun to listen to. Very dry sense of humor and very insightful. I agree it would be fun to be like Maxine. I wonder if we wouldn't get punched in the face from someone that didn't find us funny.

Cheryl P. said...

I do think there is a double standard about women vs. men aging. But not just perpetrated by men. Women are so judgemental about other women. The same group that sits around claiming that they wouldn't resort to plastic surgery are also the group that is quick to point out all the wrinkles, bags and gray they can find.

I think overall, men do physically age better. What looks rugged on a man looks "worn out" on a woman.

meleahrebeccah said...

HA! Well, Maxine can get away with it!

L.C. Griffith said...

Cheryl, when I saw the title of this one I had to run over and read it. Aging is something that happens to everyone, but nobody believes it will ever happen to them. I remember years ago when my mother was alive, she was looking in the mirror and pulling at the skin on her face in an attempt to see what she would look like with a face lift.
She said, "I wish I didn't have all these wrinkles." To which I replied, "I know."
Silly silly me. You see, what I was supposed to say was, "What wrinkles?" Anyway, she quickly turned and looked my way, giving me a full dose of stink eye, and said, "Don't worry, your turn will come."
She was right. Thanks Ma;)

This was a wonderful post my dear! Thanks for putting a big fat smile on my face this morning.

Cheryl P. said...

Isn't it the truth. We can run but we can't hide. I know that everyone on the planet says this but "how quickly it all went by". While I am hoping for another 41 years as my grandma has had, by today's standards I am OLD.

Occassionally somewhat makes an age related remark my way, I think the stink eye comes into near constant use after about the age of 55.

Bodaciousboomer said...

Getting old is not for sissies- not if you want to do it with sass anyway; and that's the only way I will do it.

I tried to get Doug to get a job at Hallmark just after we got together and he told me I was "good breeding stock". What a sweet talker.

Cheryl P. said...

Ha ha that is too funny about being breeding stock. I can see that romance was alive and well in your courtship days. Too bad he didn't take your advice. You and I could be down at Crown Center this morning having lattes and laughing our asses off. (while Doug was next door making money)

Liggybee said...

Aging doesn't bother me so much as my body aging. I always think of it as being two separate things because in my mind, I will always feel as young as I always feel. It's my body that I know won't be so cooperative. I see my mom and how much I actually resemble her that I don't want to admit it but I know I'm gonna look just like her when my body gets her age. In another light, I'd like to be just like my husband's 80-something year old grandma who's the most active senior citizen I have ever known. She's amazing! Although she's had her share of major health problems, she is very independent and as active as can be. What I find most amazing is that a lot of jobs she had in her younger years and the musical talents she has almost mirror my own. I hope I can be as energetic and active as she is when I get her age - hopefully, I do!

Cheryl P. said...

Your right about the distinction between body and mind in terms of aging. Most days, I don't feel particularly old as I don't have any ailments, no aches and pains. I work out like a fool and eat healthy so my body is fit but some things just show with the passage of time. Esp. facial features

Part of the problem with aging is there is a tipping point where you have to recognize that time is not on your side. As a realtor, I am always amazed when seniors buy a big new house and mortgage it for 30 years. Huh??? Who's got 30 years to be paying on a house at that point? Choices I would make in my 30s are off the table as I approach 60.