AS I SEE IT: AGING IS WHEN?

1.      When you are told you’re old enough to go to school.

2.      When the bartender gives you a drink without asking for your ID.

3.      When members of the opposite sex no longer whistle at you.

4.      After telling your five-year-old child something about a happening in your life   before your marriage and she asks, “Was that in the olden days?”

5.      When you find your first gray hair.

6.      You’re 39, almost 40.

7.      You’re 49, almost a half-century-old.

8.      When the AARP magazine arrives.  [You hide it]

9.      When your first Social Security check arrives. [You have mixed feelings, “Happy to have the money, but am I really this old?”]

10.  When the bus-driver gives you the senior rate without asking for your ID.

11.  When you recognize you look like one of your parents.

12.  When your grandmother looks young to you in old pictures of her on her fiftieth wedding anniversary.

13.  When one of your children introduces you to a friend and brags about how old you are.

14.  When you start counting in decades rather than years.

By now you are aware of your age and know what it means.  When you don’t feel well you prepare yourself to die.  [My father used to tell me, “If you fall off a horse, get right back on]. You don’t die.

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THE BEAUTY OF GROWING OLD

We are on our way to growing old the minute we are born. Babies are adorable, children are cute, teens are…well, pimply. Young people are pretty, middle-aged people are beautiful, from there on character blooms and grows. Why don’t we appreciate it at the time? We can forget the struggling pimply teens when we are trying to find out who we are.

Youth mistakenly rules the beauty scene today. Advertisements bombard us with ads to use their product because it is the best. It will do away with wrinkles and sagging skin. They show pictures of twenty-year-olds worried about a wrinkle near their eye. We are showered with ads that tell us how their pills are the ones that will make us slim or keep us young and fit. They say buy our machine and you will look like an Adonis. As if that is not too much by itself, doctors are advertising that they will remodel your whole body under the scalpel. I believe the real you is natural with a personality that should be dominant. That is where your beauty really lies.

Today we must be careful to be politically correct so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings. Yet, when it comes to old people we laugh at humor that pictures graphically haggard old people that are missing bells in their bell-free. They are depicted in clothes that look like they came out of a scrap bag and their bodies are extremely exaggerated. It is no wonder people fear aging.

Why didn’t we know and appreciate it when we were beautiful?  Since we’ve aged, why don’t we realize we have developed a full blown character that makes us desirable?  This can be the time to be the person you most admire. When you really like yourself you are seen as beautiful.

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LIVE LONG and LIVE WELL

After interviewing eight centenarians an article titled Secret of the Centenarians in the New York Times, could have been taken from articles I wrote about aging well. Those interesting centenarians all have a positive attitude and enjoy the company of family and good friends. They are all happy they are still living and actively and enjoying their hobbies or work.

 Another article on WebMD The Secrets of Aging Well—Live Long and Prosper, speaks of moderation. Something I learned about as a child when my grandfather told me everything I do should be in moderation he said, “Don’t hate too much, don’t love too much, don’t eat too much, and don’t drink too much.” I tried to follow it and did to a degree.

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CHALLENGES AS OPPORTUNITIES

I am a lifelong artist, a mother, businesswoman, and yachtswoman. In my 80’s I became an author of the book Keeping Ahead of Winter.  I am active, I am happy, I am old, thus an expert on aging. People ask me what my secret is.

To get the most out of life I believe it is good to be open to change, times change and we need to change with it. Concentrate on something other than our problems. Think positive, no good can come from anything else and enjoy happy memories.

Turn problems into challenges and think of challenges as opportunities.

I recommend that you don’t procrastinate, make ‘to-do lists,’ and don’t worry about what you don’t do. Take care of your health. Exercise or at least keep moving.  Cathy Nonas, RD, Author of “Outwit your Weight says, “Chewing gum while you cook will keep you free from nibbling. This can save you 100’s of calories. Writing empowers you, keep a journal, and/or write your memoirs. Moderation in all aspects of life is a key to living well

Children can draw without taking lessons, try it, it doesn’t have to be good to be enjoyable. If you find you like it then take lessons. Smile, it does more for your looks than Botox. Attend to your spiritual life.  Manage anger and work around disabilities.

Find a passion and dive into it with abandon: even if you have to take baby steps to get started.  Everything has its price. You may have to give up something in order to make the time and energy to pursue your passion.

The word can’t, should never have been invented. Make plans, and only do what you can do comfortably. Hanging on to what doesn’t exist anymore will hinder your progress. Find out who the good person is that you are and find what you like to do and modify it to fit your ability. Be willing to try new things and change with the times. Learn from what you do right. Be willing too take the baby steps to learn new things and take pleasure in what gets done no matter how little. When you put your heart into a project the woes of the world disappear and you can take pride in your accomplishment.

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AT ANY AGE

I’ve been an artist since my early years and only started thinking about writing after the Edior-in-Chief of Motor Boating Magazine asked me to send them a copy of the log of a boating journey I made with my new husband. I was fifty-years-old in 1965 when my husband Torger and I crewed our 38-foot powerboat from Illinois to Florida. The log I wrote was so poorly written that I was embarrassed and didn’t send it to the magazine.

 The following year I took The Famous Writer’s Home Study Course. My teachers encouraged me to write the yachting story. I found myself reliving a wonderful time of my life over and over again.  I went to writer’s conferences and classes. I wrote the book as a travelogue and in 1971 the book sold!  I was euphoric. That is…until the publisher changed its distributor, and the day before the book was to go to press they pulled it. They only wanted “how-to” boating books.

 Life got in the way for me to do anything about the book for many years.  I became widowed, moved to a retirement community where life is easy, and re-wrote, re-wrote and re-wrote the book, as my story. In the interest of time because of my advanced age I self–published with Xlibris.

 I did it. I really did it!  Me–a high school dropout.  I wrote a book! It is a human interest story titled Keeping Ahead of Winter—4100 Nautical Miles Inside America.  It is said that it is an inspiring, insightful adventure into the unique world of boating, and a great love story.  My book can be bought online, in bookstores or directly from me at. http://www.ruthsilnes.com

 Five years later I wrote, illustrated and published a picture book Naptime Secrets, for two to six year olds. Parents and teachers applaud it, and tell me their children love it.

 Now, at ninety-six, I ain’tdone yet! I wrote about the tremendous impact the arts have on civilizations and have filled it with whimsical illustrations. The book is short and written in plain English, for the general public. You and The Arts—Why Art Matters is an Ebook and in print.

 I’ve also written and illustrated a memoir for my children about my first 50 years. Who knows, maybe I’ll have time to write about my second half Century.

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