Tag Archives: aging baby boomers

Relaxed

BACK GARDEN1

Relaxed

The punch of youth deserted me a few birthdays ago.
My pace is not so rapid, my activity rate slow.
Though I’m really rather crafty at covering up my laziness,
the truth is the sharp edge of life has dissolved into haziness.

My fashion style has graduated from shabby chic and Goth—
loose batiks and rebozos that provide forgiving swath
to obscure a body settling into a comfort zone
that leaves room for a donut, popcorn or a scone.

I do the things I used to do, though in different proportions.
I exercise within my pool with minimized contortions.
My parties have grown smaller with the menus simplified,
and when I am out shopping, I am easier satisfied.

No longer do I seek out that perfect styling mist.
“This will do,” I soon decide, and cross it off my list.
I put off a few years ago my three nights on the town.
The nights I used to dance away, I love to lay me down.

Sorting through a milling crowd has become a bore.
My friends have dwindled to a few, but I enjoy them more.

Swinging in the hammock has become a meditation.
Looking at garden denizens a form of education.

Life filtered down is full of grace. I love its sway and hush.
Who knew that it would be such fun away from life’s mad rush?

Prompt words today are punch, youth, craft, birthday

Old Age in Paradise

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Old Age in Paradise

I’d like to know on just what basis
we deserve our fine oasis?
In other places, other climes,
people our age have harder times.
They work ’til death or do not eat.
They toil in poverty and heat.
So though we may have aches and pain,
I must our grumbling disdain.
Yes, I ache and limp and groan,
yet prefer these problems that are my own.

 

 

The Daily Addictions prompt today was oasis.

Answered

 
What happens to someone like her as she gets older?
–from Luck, by Joan Barfoot


Answered

She loses her balance, starts to fall.
Once in the kitchen, three times in the hall.
Finds it harder to remember, spends more time alone.
Speaks her mind more freely, less likely to atone.
She starts attracting cats that come inside and do not leave.
Wears frays in her clothing–hemline, neckline, sleeve.
Starts forgetting passwords–sometimes the names of friends.
Her search for keys and glasses never really ends.
Starts waking in the nighttime to contemplate her death.
At midnight, has to go outside to try to catch her breath.
Counts the years before her instead of those behind.
She could live to one hundred if fate is being kind.

Will she live her last years with sister, lover, friend;
or will animal companions help her meet her end?
Will anybody mourn her? Does she want them to?
Will she be remembered by a poem or two?
Will anybody read her after she is dead?
Will all her future poetry die here in her head?
Will her blog named “lifelessons” finally cease to be?
Will they give the name away for a modest fee?
Will they erase her blog spot, burn her files of poems?
Cause a glut on EBay of her leftover tomes?
If she sells a book or two every other year
where will Amazon send the money when she isn’t here?

One day in the future in three thousand two
will Zee, (some bored teenager, with nothing else to do)
go onto the internet connected to her head,
close her eyes and throw herself backwards on her bed
and stumble on an errant line that floats through cyberspace,
and Google it to try to find its author, time and place?
“What happens to someone . . . ?” are the words that Zee has found.
Her fingers start to twitch as she is driven to expound.
The printer prints the words she says without her further action.
Tied into her speech and thought–spontaneous reaction.
” . . . like her as she gets older?” is printed on the wall.
For there’s no paper in the world. No paper left at all!
Her face is flushed, her eyes dilate, her eyes first squint, then blink.
This random line floating in space has provoked her to think.
First she’ll finish cyber school, then link her living pod
with a blowout sort of guy with a gorgeous bod.
They’ll make links with other blogs and party with their friends
for a couple hundred years before they meet their ends.
She thinks back on the interbrain to look for thoughts and links.
Lets her mind go soft as into cybermind she sinks.
Looking for her future job. She knows it’s there to see.
Time being just a concept to wander through for free.
She plops onto a webpage from two thousand fifteen,
all the information still there and easily seen.
The line Zee thought jumps out at her. She sees it’s not her own.
It’s been used two times before and now it seems it’s flown
into her thoughts to sort her out and give her a direction.
As she reads on, she catches on to this writer’s inflection
in every word she writes and when she gets to the post’s end,
she goes on reading through her life and starts to make a friend.
After two days of reading, she winds up at the start
knowing every detail in this blogger’s heart.
Then she goes back to where she started and sees her doubts and fears.
It’s then that she fast-forwards to the blogger’s final years
and sees the truth of everything that’s going to transpire.
The failing health, the hopeful mood, the ad, “Wanted to Hire
an interesting friend to talk to while I fall asleep.
One capable of caring and thoughts that wander deep.
Someone to be there some nights when it seems that I might leave
for one last time this life that’s loosening its warp and weave.
No heavy lifting needed—a weighted thought or two
is all that I find necessary. Weighing thoughts will do.”

Zee zoomed back to the entry that had drawn her thoughts at first.
The very sentence that had caused her gloomy thoughts to burst.
January was the month and 14 was the day
The year 2015, when she’d been the first to say
those fateful words and now Zee, too, was thinking just the same–
moving to the comments to add her words and name.
“Dear Lifelessons,” she’d say to her, and then add her assurance
that everafter she would be her safety and insurance
that she would never die alone or be bereft of friend
for Zee was vowing here and now she’d be there at the end.
She’d looked ahead and so she knew that she would keep this pledge.
She’d known the center of this life and now she knew its edge.
She knew the dates that she’d be needed in the years ahead.
She made a list and filed it in a clear spot in her head.
And then she went on thinking what those words meant in her life.
Would she be a scholar, an actress and a wife?
Would she produce children and would they be there for her?
That sentence found in cyberspace created quite a stir.
But all her dreams it prompted came true enough, what’s more
she kept her date with Lifelessons in 2044.

                                                                            –Judy Dykstra-Brown, Lifelessons, 2015

 

A question posed by one writer can often serve to provoke an answer by another. So it is in this poem, which is an answer to a question asked by Joan Barfoot in her book Luck. This piece was first written three years ago. It is a long piece I had forgotten but enjoyed reading again so I thought perhaps you would, too. I would appreciate knowing if you follow the plot line and realize what is going on. Also, did it hold your interest?  And yes, the prompt word of the day is in the poem. The word of the day is provoke.

Morning Ritual

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Morning Ritual

One pill, two pills, three pills four.
Five and six complete the score.
Then one rolls off onto the floor,
but knees are stiff and back is sore,
reclaiming it a painful chore,
so you just open up the drawer
and select one capsule more.
Swallowing pills is such a bore.
Can you remember what each is for?

 

Gingeritis

 

Gingeritis

I find that my life is rapidly slowing.
I’m gingerly coming and gingerly going,
for if I move quickly in shower or mall
I slip and I stumble. I bump and I fall.

I eat gingerbread cookies and drink ginger ale.
I mince more fresh ginger over my kale,
thinking that once I have eaten a faceful
somehow I’ll develop a gait that’s more graceful.

Yet when I go faster,
with steps that are vaster,
I find that once more
I’m down on the floor.

So again I move gingerly, with great attention,
hoping that no one will notice and mention
that I’m also shrinking, and the lower I get
with less distance to fall, still the slower I get.

I don’t need a walker. I don’t need a cane.
I’m not yet in need of the handicapped lane.
Please don’t offer a wheelchair for boarding the plane.
I’m entirely capable, plus I’m too vain

to be labeled as elderly, seen as infirm
I have not yet contracted that “elderly” germ
that will render me helpless and feeble and fumbling.
I simply step gingerly, lest I go tumbling.

The prompt today was gingerly.

Memory Games

 

Memory Games

The only thing that makes my present memory lapses at all bearable is that all of my friends seem to be having the same problems. I lose my keys, find them and before I make it out the door, lose them again.  When I drive into town, I usually forget at least twice where I am going and end up repeating again and again, “Bank to get money. Bank to get money,” or “Pick up Glenda.” The other day, however, I reached a new low.

I was about to Skype a friend to tell him where I was going and why I wouldn’t be home for the rest of the afternoon. I was going to the awards luncheon for a local news magazine. I’ve been reading this publication monthly for 16 years and submitting work to it for nearly this long. Long story short, I am very very well acquainted with its name, but suddenly, I could not for the life of me remember what it was.  I shook my head, trying to shuffle and refile my memory, but nothing popped into mental view until suddenly, the word “ajo” popped up. Ajo what? “Ajo del Agua.” It sounded sort of right but something seemed wrong. Ajo?  Garlic? Agua? Water? Why would a paper be named garlic water? Yet it seemed so right.  Ajo. Ajo. It was driving me crazy.  Oh, wait, I was already crazy.

It was disturbing me greatly and then, suddenly “Ojo del Lago” slipped into the right slot in my brain.  Yes.  “Eye of the Lake” sounded much more appropriate than “Garlic Water.”  Oy Vey.  That phrase is starting to feel ever more appropriate to express the events of my life lately.

El Ojo del Lago is a cool monthly publication also available for free online. Here is the link:

 http://chapala.com/elojo/

If you have a story or poem you think might be appropriate, they are always looking for submissions.

Vigor Trigger

Version 3

Vigor Trigger

What once passed for vigor, I fear has turned into a case of fine acting. If I walk with energy, it is a forced energy expressed in spurts in situations where once I ran. I hope this can be attributed to the dignity of my age; but when I see others my age outpacing me, the jig is up and I am revealed for what I am—someone who, in spite of what I have always believed would happen, is wearing out and falling into that part of the life cycle that includes wrinkling up and slowing down. Ugh. I hate to admit it, but perhaps if I do it will be a type of therapy and in confronting it, it will go away—or at least it will lessen in its effect.

The truth is that I fear acting old more than I fear looking old. I hate it that I struggle to get up from a kneeling position and that I can in no way do it gracefully. I put both hands against the floor in front of me, raise my butt in the air and walk up to my hands—only way it seems possible without a lot of grunting and straining. In animal behavior, I would probably appear sexy as I do so, but I do not delude myself that any human being would find it so.

An additional truth to face now that I am 69 is that I am turning into my mother. Having to do more than one thing at once befuddles me and sometimes even one thing at a time is a bit confusing. Numbers don’t behave as they once did. I add and subtract and multiply and divide just fine. I grew up in a time before computers and handheld devices, so I’m used to doing functions mentally that youth finds better relegated to machines. The problem is in the interrelation of functions––just how to convert dimensions expressed in feet and tenths of feet to feet and inches, to enable me to equate it to the past when all dimensions were expressed as such. Why describe in tenths of feet which are traditionally divided into twelve parts, not ten? Why not just convert to a decimal system entirely, which I could then translate easily to inches and then to feet and inches?

The world is no longer my oyster. Devices get smaller and smaller as my eyes get worse and worse. I can’t wait for all of today’s young programmers and systems designers to get to be 60 and to try to make use of the apps they’ve designed primarily for phones so tiny that you can barely find the phone, let alone make out pages as small as playing cards. And don’t even get me started on the designers of medicine labels!!! If it isn’t bad enough that they are in size 2 font, they then make them white on yellow or gray on blue so it is impossible to read them no matter what size they are. What are they thinking? The clincher was my optometrist’s card that was primarily empty space with the writing squeezed into one corner, so small that I doubt it could be read by anyone­­–glasses or no glasses, and remember, people come to optometrists primarily because they can’t see in the first place! In addition, it was one of those cards impossible to look at because the two colors used not only made it difficult to read, but tended to affect one’s astigmatism, or at the very least one’s sense of good taste.

I must admit that I have never been an athletic person. Zumba, yoga and pool aerobics have been my most successful and enduring modes of exercise. But what I have done, I have always done with great vigor. I work hard, in the past did all my own housework and gardening and have been a bit of a workaholic. But very recently, I find myself wearing out faster, sneaking off to a hidden corner to huff and puff a bit or lie down for a ten-minute rest. I find myself getting a bit testier and less patient when things go wrong, but blessedly usually express my frustration (aloud) primarily to myself.

It occurred to me earlier this year, however, that passing neighbors can probably hear me when I shout “Idiot” to myself—or worse. Or, when I yell at the dogs to stop barking or stop jumping up. “Judy, you’re worse than the dogs!” a friend sputtered, shaking his head one day as I roared “Frida, Diego, Morrie–stop!!!” as they executed a deafening chorus of deep barks when I arrived home and opened the garage door. So I guess that is one place where my energy remains unabated. When it comes to expressing myself, I have great vocal cords. You could even say I’m still capable of a vigorous rejoinder!!!

 

The prompt word today is “vigor.”

Fragile

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!!!Fragile!!!

Just as I’m becoming less agile,
all of me is turning fragile.

Flesh on flesh and bone on bone,
Nature won’t leave me alone.

Bruise more easily, skin tears easier.
Looking up now makes me queasier.

Can’t be trusted on a ladder.
Larger hips but smaller bladder.

Lips are thinner, bones are brittler.
And suddenly, I’m two inches littler.

If Nature’s bound to fold and shrink me,
Really, now, wouldn’t you think she

could leave me with my height and lips
and do her shrinking around my hips?

The prompt today is “Fragile.” 

My Life by Tens

My Life by Tens

Up to Age One? Cares had I none.
At age ten? Pretty zen.
Then at twenty? Zip aplenty.
Turning thirty? Feeling flirty.
Nearing forty? Lithe and sporty.
Turning Fifty? Bali’s  nifty.
Big six-oh? More oats to sow.
Big seven-oh? One year to go.

 

(Click first photo to enlarge and see years.  Hover to just see years.)

 

The prompt today was “FIfty.”  This was all I could come up with.