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Friday, October 26, 2012


For the sake of keeping a record, posting the images of grave sites in Missoula, MT of my maternal grandparents:

 Paul K. Flint  

 Hetty E. Wharton Flint 

and image of grave site of my paternal grandfather in Sandpoint, ID

Samuel Phillip Wagner
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Monday, September 20, 2010

She really does like her solitude and it’s okay.

Reassuring article, New York Times; Aging’s Misunderstood Virtues  explains that as we age our so do our tastes, preferences and what interested us at 45 or 50 may not be of interest in later years, as we mature so do our interests, we are continually evolving.    I have worried that my mother seems to spend more time alone than I think is healthy.  Perhaps not; quoting from the article;

“We develop and change; we mature,” he told me in a phone interview from his home in Uppsala, Sweden. “It’s a process that goes on all our lives, and it doesn’t ever end. The mistake we make in middle age is thinking that good aging means continuing to be the way we were at 50. Maybe it’s not.”

An increased need for solitude, and for the company of only a few intimates, is one of the traits Dr. Tornstam attributes to this continuing maturation. So that elderly mother isn’t deteriorating, necessarily — she’s evolving.

“People tell us they are different people at 80,” Dr. Tornstam explained. “They have new interests, and they have left some things behind.”

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Is the ‘Favorite’ child going to take care of Mom?

I know, I mom says it too, she doesn’t have favorites, she loves us all the same.   Actually, I have come to recognize that I don’t want to be loved ‘the same’ as my siblings, because somehow it denudes my specialness, and I am then just one of the brood.  My mother would never admit to having a favorite among her four children.  I like to believe that I don’t have a favorite among my three children.  Yet this article in the New York Times; Mom Always Like You Best (a well known routine from the Smothers Brothers) points out the significance of  who is going to care for mom and how that relates to mom’s sense of  her favorite child. 

Quoting from the article, and for more, read the article here.

Further studies revealed that middle-aged children often recognized that their parents felt closer to one child than another — but were off-base about who ranked highest. “They typically choose themselves,” Dr. Pillemer said, “and they’re typically wrong.”

One might file this under “Stuff I’d Just as Soon Not Know,” except that the care of the elderly falls mostly to their children and that one child usually shoulders the bulk of the responsibility. Mothers also express clear ideas about whom they want and expect to take on that role, it turns out, so their partiality has consequences.

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Stuff, Getting it, getting rid of it

It’s a strange cycle, all those years spent slowly acquiring ‘things’ only to reach this age and wish to be shed of most of them.  I’m reminded of the late George Carlin’s performance routine in which he talks about ‘stuff’.    Coming across an article in The New York Times; When Possessions Lead to Paralysis, I am reminded fondly of what George Carlin has to say about it.

We just saw our granddaughter off to college, spending that first Orientation Day with her while she set up her dorm room.  Last month another granddaughter just got herself set up at her college dorm room, so we have furnishing college dorm rooms on the mind.  With the sparity of space, yet the essentials of living for the next year all contained in a space about the size of a large walk in closet, if even that much room, I’m feeling awkward about the house we live in which contains the two of us and all our possessions.  

I wonder why it seems to take a lifetime to acquire all we think we need only to wind up looking at it all wondering why we thought we had to have it in the first place.  Not so much my husband, as me, because I seem to have that collecting stuff need more than he, but I wonder, could we get by with just enough stuff to fit a dorm room?  I often wonder if we could get by with just enough stuff to fill a travel trailer and do some road travel in the years ahead. 

What would we do with all our stuff?  And already I’m thinking it’s time to have an ongoing garage sale, online, and offload some of this stuff.

My mother said goodbye to her husband in 2006.  When he went on ahead to the other side, he left her alone.  I spent the first two years being as much ‘there’ for her as I could, and she often talked of selling her house, and moving closer to us.  She talked of doing so for years, it is now 2010, yet it never got much further than talk, and now she seems to be settled with the idea of remaining where she is, staying put.  It’s a financially sensible arrangement for her, yet I’ve often wondered if the idea of what to do with all her stuff was a somewhat overwhelming part of her decision to stay put.    It would certainly be overwhelming to me to be alone and along in years, left to figure out what to do with all this stuff in our home. 

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Developmental Stages 7 and 8

On the eight stages of the ladder of life as defined by Eric Erikson it seems I have reached Middle Adulthood, and am looking at Stages 7 and 8.

Two conflicting issues fight within to be resolved; Generativity versus Stagnation.    Eric Erickson developed a ladder of life stages theory that seems to my reading to make sense, particularly this stage of 7 and 8.    Better told in the words of byjane in her blog article at MidLife Bloggers, take a read to see where you are in the process.

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It happened when I wasn't looking

One day I still considered myself as in my young years, knowing the dreaded Big M was just ahead.  It seemed ahead though, not something to worry myself with until Boom!   It hit, I rolled with it, it was over and then the next thing I know I have droops I never saw before, dips where there shouldn't be, OMG rolls where none had existed before, and my body just seemed to take a gravity plunge downward.    Who was I, who am I, where did the person I know go and how could I disappear turning into someone else before my very eyes?  

One day I'm 55 and on top of the world, and then the axis shifts and I've slipped from my vantage point having aged when I wasn't looking.  How did it happen, and so suddenly, so dramatically, so determinedly?   How am I to relate to myself, define myself, wear my identity when I don't know who I am or what happened.  I spent the next 4 years reading, researching, trying to learn, and coming to grips with my new reality, my sense of identity.  

It happens to everyone, that process of aging.  It happens to every woman, that cycling of life from girl, to young woman, to woman, to mother, to mature woman, to _____________  (fill in the blank with some nice name for this era of a woman's life).

Kicking this blog off, bemoaning what was, and also ready to embrace what is, mid-life in this era when people live longer.  I'm 59 years old as of my birthday this summer past.  Next year I will be 60.  Hearing that number astounds me because my mind doesn't realize I've come that far in years.  My mind thinks I'm still 40,30 or 20, or younger and can remember when I thought anyone age 60 must be coming on the end of their time here on earth.

I've decided to join other Mid-Life bloggers to try to grapple with my new reality, my identity, my sense of self and look forward to the years ahead with enthusiasm, anticipation - of course- and also with practical aspects of retirement years stage of life.  Retirement used to mean from career, work, employment, and seemed to symbolize having reached 55 years old, the age of  Senior Discounts, Social Security, Retirement Travel.  Times have changed, socio-economic landscape has changed, and the Great Era of Baby Boomers are now at retirement age.  I join with the massive swell of the generation of Baby Boomers who are facing the same uncertainties that I face as we move into aging gracefully or not so gracefully.   
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