GOING DOWN BY THINKING UP

2nd in a series of muses about growing older.

Reality: You’re 60. You are not going to live till you are 120. Therefore your life is more than half over. You’re on the downside, no matter how good or bad it turns out to be.

At least when we turned 50 we could think “I could live to 100; that means my life is only half over, I’m still at the top of the arch we call life.”

So what is your perception about aging? I have many friends who are turning 60 this year and some are more positive than others. I asked some of my friends to describe aging as a title:

“growing older but not getting old”

“Always older, never old”

“What would your 90 year old self say to your 60 year old self?

My point is we do have some control in this process, and for me, I am working really hard on keeping that which I can control upward even as we start our downward trajectory. Think about it….what is more fun, riding your bike up the hill or riding it down? My challenge is to find the time to do what I choose to do and become serious about that bucket list.

A dear friend of mine gave me a journal for my birthday called “Start Where You Are” – a journal for self-exploration by Meera Lee Patel. It could not have come at a more opportune time. This journal asks guided, important questions, yet in a whimsical way, to clarify and frame what you find is important and necessary for the good life.

So when I think of the downward curve of the life-arch I think of the first 60 years as the hard journey up to the top. From here on it’s coasting and no brakes! Yippee!

“Old And Wise” (Alan Parsons Project)

As far as my eyes can see
There are shadows surrounding me
And to those I leave behind
I want you all to know
You’ve always shared my darkest hours
I’ll miss you when I go

[CHORUS]
And oh when I’m old and wise
Bitter words mean little to me
Autumn winds will blow right through me
And someday in the mist of time
When they asked me if I knew you
I’d smile and say you were a friend of mine
And the sadness would be lifted from my eyes
Oh when I’m old and wise

As far as my eyes can see
There are shadows surrounding me
And to those I leave behind
I want you all to know
You’ve always shared my darkest hours
I’ll miss you when I go

[CHORUS]
And oh, when I’m old and wise
Heavy words that tossed and blew me
Like autumn winds will blow right through me
And someday in the mist of time
When they ask you if you knew me
Remember that you were a friend of mine
As the final curtain falls before my eyes
Oh when I’m old and wise
As far as my eyes can see

 

Reaching the big 6-0

So I haven’t written for a while because I’ve been busy turning the big 6-0. This has been a big deal for me. 50 seemed like the minor leagues, a mere warmup to what turning 60 suggests.

So I think I’ll write a short series on issues turning 60. Trust me, this is not a whining session or a feel sorry for me  opportunity, but rather the reporting of life through the lenses of one newly minted 60 year old.

I wanted to see what people more articulate than me have said about 60. I have put them in two categories, trash and save.

trash“You know you’re turning 60 when your husband wants a DNA sample to make sure you’re the same woman he married.”

“When you hit 60 other people say you look great, then add, “for your age.”’

“You know you’re 60 when your liver spots are starting to make you look like a Dalmatian.”

“Turning 60 means fortune tellers read your face instead of your palm.”

(Ageism is alive, yes indeed.)

But there are those who say wise and uplifting words about getting older

saving-clipart-save-seal-orange-md

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” (Abraham Lincoln)

“What could be more beautiful than a dear old lady growing wise with age? Every age can be enchanting, provided you live within it.” (Brigitte Bardot)

“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.” (George Burns)

(and my very favorite)
“Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. “(Robert Browning)

I like these words. They are affirming and suggest strength, dignity and character.
Discuss.
Grow Old With Me (John Lennon)

Grow old along with me
The best is yet to be
When our time has come
We will be as one

God bless our love
God bless our love

Grow old along with me
Two branches of one tree
Face the setting sun
When the day is done

God bless our love
God bless our love

Spending our lives together
Man and wife together
World without end
World without end

Grow old along with me
Whatever fate decrees
We will see it through
For our love is true

God bless our love
God bless our love

A thank you letter

This blog may seem like what I would write for my arts education blog, but appreciation deepens with time…

Dear musician(artist, dancer, actor):

Thank you for your performance I had the privilege of hearing today. I thought about skipping the concert because I had so much work to do but I decided I would just keep working after the concert was over. In the concert hall, I thought, “I’ll stay for half and then leave.” When the music began I was transfixed. I couldn’t leave. Was it the choices of music? Or the excellent musicianship displayed for such young musicians? I was transformed and just enjoyed the sounds washing over me.

Encore Orchestra
Encore Orchestra

For one short hour, I didn’t think about nine innocent people shot to death, or a local police man shot to death, or the myriad of unfair, unjust and bad things that happen in our world that make us feel helpless and powerless to create positive change. For one short hour I experienced the healing powers of music and allowed myself to re-energize and face challenges in my own small way.

Thank you artists, dancers, musicians, poets, and actors, for creating sanctuaries where we experience beauty and dignity that refuel ourselves for another day on our too short journey in this world.

“Thank You For The Music”
by ABBA

I’m nothing special, in fact I’m a bit of a bore
If I tell a joke, you’ve probably heard it before
But I have a talent, a wonderful thing
‘Cause everyone listens when I start to sing
I’m so grateful and proud
All I want is to sing it out loudSo I say
Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing
Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to meMother says I was a dancer before I could walk
She says I began to sing long before I could talk
And I’ve often wondered, how did it all start?
Who found out that nothing can capture a heart
Like a melody can?
Well, whoever it was, I’m a fan

So I say
Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing
Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me

I’ve been so lucky, I am the girl with golden hair
I wanna sing it out to everybody
What a joy, what a life, what a chance!

Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing
Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me

So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me

Time

I simply can’t believe that I have been back from my cruise for an entire month. Where has the time gone?
time
tīm/noun
1.the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.
(Oxford Dictionary)
First of all, let me say that I had one of the best vacations in my life. Two weeks with absolutely no demands or expectations, away from phones and internet and computers. Some may call that wasted time.
“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” – Bertrand Russell

I spent a lot of time thinking and bothering my brother-in-law Marc about my questions about time. I have always found it to be near impossible to grasp things like infinity, eternity and numbers like 800 trillion. I looked at time in a new way on the cruise because we went through 5-6? time zones while we were on the cruise. Each night when we went through a time change, we found this message on our bed: time change

Marc informed me that time is a concept, not an object. I was curious, because if no one is in a time zone, why does the time need to change? If measuring time is simply a way to organize our lives better, what happens when no one is in a time zone? This thinking was a little too heavy for me, so I took Mr. Russell’s wise words and would find something to do – or not do.

I liked having control of how I chose to spend my time.

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”  Carl Sandburg

As a musician we are obsessed with time as our art form cannot exist in any other way. Time controls us. I am a big proponent of upcycling materials to make funky simple instruments. I have boxes of stuff in our storage room filled with objects to spur creativity and alternative thinking. It can increase a person’s thinking skills, but it can’t increase our time. I have no box full of time waiting to be recycled in my storage room. And I dare say you don’t either.

I can’t say I understand the concept of time any better, but I can say that I accept the limits of time we have and appreciate each moment, whether it is at work, play or simply being.

to life!“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.”  Steve Jobs

Time Has Told Me – Nick Drake

Time has told me
You’re a rare, rare find
A troubled cure
For a troubled mind

And time has told me
Not to ask for more
For someday our ocean
Will find its shore

So I’ll leave the ways that are making me be
What I really don’t want to be
Leave the ways that are making me love
What I really don’t want to love

Time has told me
You came with the dawn
A soul with no footprint
A rose with no thorn

Your tears they tell me
There’s really no way
Of ending your troubles
With things you can say

And time will tell you
To stay by my side no, no
To keep on trying
Till there’s no more to hide

So leave the ways that are making you be
What you really don’t want to be
Leave the ways that are making you love
What you really don’t want to love

Time has told me
You’re a rare, rare find
A troubled cure
For a troubled mind

And time has told me
Not to ask for more
For some day our ocean
Will find its shore

Vacation time!

This is going live while I am having a fantastic time on the Norwegian Cruise Line ship the Epic, traveling from Miami to Barcelona, Spain. I don’t intend to pay for internet access and will spend 11 days on the Atlantic ocean relaxing, reading, knitting, doing nothing, hot tubbing, walking, and other cruise-related activities. I’m with my sister and brother-in-law and when we get to Barcelona we’ll explore this colorful city for three days.

I’m journalling while I’m away and will return to this blog with fresh new views on life, I am sure!

Cheers!

Bobby Darin – “Beyond the Sea”

Somewhere beyond the sea
Somewhere waiting for me
My lover stands on golden sands
And watches the ships that go sailing

How perceptive of me.

I was walking past a faculty member’s office a while ago and I read the sign on his door: Welcome perceptive students! “Wow!” I thought. “This is really groundbreaking.” Oops, looking closer at the sign I saw it read welcome prospective students. Duh, of course.

Perspective. No, I mean perceptive. No. I really mean prospective. Like I frequently do, I get these words mixed up and will insert a wrong word and come up with some bizarre statement….

Here is what Merriam-Webster has to say:

Prospective: likely to be or become something specified in the future.

Perspective: The capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance.

Perceptive: Having or showing an ability to understand or notice something easily or quickly.

More than having similar spellings and sound, the words have a strong relationship. The prospective music student who develops skills of perspective can look at a painting and easily relate it to a piece of music that embodies similar concepts, styles or ideals. And perception? Perception seems to be a gift that comes with experience.  My friends, teachers, and others who I admire and learn from are those who have a keen ability to perceive and dissect the complex relationships that occur in our lives.

I think about that sign a lot. What if we all had highly developed skills of perception by the time we turned 18? Would that make us a more civilized culture? Or is the process of developing these perspective and perceptive skills one of the important life lessons that we can look forward to when we reach a certain ripe age?

That’s my perspective!

Johnny Nash: I Can See Clearly Now

I think I can make it now, the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is the rainbow I’ve been prayin’ for
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.

April 4, 2013

“You’ve got Parkinson’s disease.” Two years ago today these words were directed to me. It was not a complete surprise because I had shaking in my right hand for about six months and my doctor wanted me to see a neurologist so we could “rule out anything serious.” That’s when I knew it was serious. I had no clue what would happen, and frankly not even the best doctors can tell their patients what will happen. It’s one unpredictable disease.

My marching orders were to keep doing what I have been doing and to exercise and to come back in six months. How simple is that? And there are drugs you can take to minimize the tremors. I began a prescription almost immediately and was amazed at how the shaking and tremors stopped. Today two years later I am on the same regimen and there’s been no change. I feel great and sometimes I forget I have Parkinson’s. But then I am reminded by my doctors that this is an unpredictable disease and there is no way to chart or control the progression of the disease – except by exercising and keeping very active which will help keep the disease at bay.

Unpredictable means difficult to foretell or foresee. That is what I am living with. I can have a serious setback in six months, six years or 16.In so many ways I am not in control. But wait – this is what happens in life. So much of what we deal with is out of our control. Bad things happen and there is nothing you can do about it. 150 people board a plane and have no control as the plane crashes in a mountainside and their lives end in the course of minutes.

And so it comes down to the here and now. Yesterday and its problems are past. We cannot foretell the future. So we need to use the time we know we have as purposely as possible, according to our values and wishes. Because we all live unpredictable lives, whether we have Parkinson’s or not.

Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)  Song by Green Day

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test and don’t ask why
It’s not a question but a lesson learned in time
It’s something unpredictable but in the end is right
I hope you had the time of your life
So take the photographs and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it’s worth, it was worth all the while
It’s something unpredictable but in the end is right
I hope you had the time of your life
It’s something unpredictable but in the end is right
I hope you had the time of your life
It’s something unpredictable but in the end is right
I hope you had the time of your life

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWMVwza_DJI