This is what 74 looks like: FABULOUS!

by the Sibyls

Arethra Franklin Quote Sibylesque

Despite all her fame and success, Arethra Franklin has not had an easy life. Her mother died when she was only 10 years old. She was first pregenant at 14. She’s had 2 marriages, one involving domestic violence, given birth to 3 sons and struggled with weight gain issues all her life.  In 1979 her father C. L. was shot at point blank range in his Detroit home. Aretha moved back to Detroit in late 1982 to assist with the care of her father, who died 1984. Yet, despite all of her struggles, Arethra has bounced back again and again. This is Arethra Franklin singing and playing piano at the Kennedy Centre for President Obama in 2015. She is  74 years old and magnificent!

We, the Sibyls, salute Arethra Franklin not only for her sublime artistry, but for her gutsy attitude to dealing with so many of the tragedies and difficulties life can throw at you.

Celebrate Wisdom. It is earned, not given!

By Jacqueline Hope

Sibylesque Wise Woman quote

These are the words read out by Nicky as part of her

Wise Woman Ceremony.

AS A CIRCLE OF WOMEN,
LET US TAKE A MOMENT TO HONOR OUR ANCESTORS,
OUR GRANDMOTHERS & THEIR GRANDMOTHERS
~ THE UNTOLD GENERATIONS OF WOMEN WHO HAVE SAT IN CIRCLE,
SUPPORTING, COMFORTING, GUIDING, TEACHING, LEARNING.

ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE AIDED & GUIDED BY THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE.
IT IS TO THESE CIRCLES OF WOMEN THAT WE OWE OUR CRONE WISDOM,
THE WISDOM OF CYCLES,   THE WISDOM OF CARING,
THE WISDOM OF EMBRACING LIFE  ~  IN ALL ITS CHANGES & MESSY EXUBERANCE.

Sibylesque 3 muses

WHEN YOU AWAKEN, & ARE FILLED WITH THE DESIRE TO SEE THE HOLINESS IN EVERYDAY LIFE,
SOMETHING MAGICAL HAPPENS:
ORDINARY LIFE BECOMES EXTRAORDINARY.
AND, THE LITTLE THINGS;   THE  CHALLENGES,    THE DAILY KNOWINGS,
THE VERY PROCESS OF LIFE ITSELF,
BEGINS TO NOURISH YOUR SOUL.

AS YOU MOVE THRU YOUR LIFE,   DARE TO BE FILLED WITH LOVE.
ALLOW LOVE’S GRACE & WISDOM TO FLOURISH IN YOUR HEART.

MAY YOUR LIFE  BE GRACED WITH A DEEP & QUIET RENEWAL.
MAY EACH DAY BRING YOU PEACE, CLARITY, GUIDANCE,  JOY.

MAY BEAUTY SURROUND YOU IN THE JOURNEY AHEAD.
MAY HAPPINESS BE YOUR COMPANION.

MAY YOU SEE YOUR PATH, GLORIOUS & GOLDEN ~
GOODNESS UNFOLDING BEFORE YOU.

MAY WE ALL GO INTO THE WORLD IN PEACE & IN JOY.

~~~~~~~

Each person is given a glass of alcohol and with one voice shout out

To THE WISE WOMAN NICKY WELCOME.

~~~~~~~

Picture 2

Jacqueline Hope is a very young gorgeous 64-year-old divorcee and forcibly retired midwife, who has worked in England, Dubai, Australia, and Peru. She is a marriage celebrant from WA and has a practice in intuitive counseling whose motto is H.O.P.E  – Hold on pain ends. She is the mother of two grown adult-children a son, who, it seems, are rarely are dazzled by their mother’s, brilliance.   (No prophet is recognized in their own land sigh!) She is saving the ‘pennies’ in the hope of swanning off for another adventure.

Photo source: Unsourced.

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The One-Size-Fits-All Life

by Penny Cook

Sibylesque One size fits all quoteOne Size Fits All! 

In this world of litigation … how useful is that term? Can I assume that I am included in ‘all’? So … what if the ‘one size fits all’ garment doesn’t fit me? Can I go to the sales person and say …’hello. I’m ‘all’ and this doesn’t fit?’ I haven’t had this experience yet but as I’m ageing I’m thinking it might happen soon’… In fact, I know it will. Would it not be better to say ..’might fit all’.

Sibylesque Mannequin Joke 1

As a consumer and shopper of garments … I don’t want to be misled. Don’t tell me this will fit everyone, without saying ‘yes..,it might fit you but it will look awful’. It’s hard enough to live with my changing shape, but don’t mislead me. If you say ‘one size fits all’, shouldn’t there be some social accountability?

Ditto life. As we age, should ‘One Size Fit All?’ More significantly, are we then pressured into fitting the bland and limiting one size mold?

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Penny CookPenny Cook has been an early childhood educator for over 30 years. She loves to travel  – anywhere. Penny is a mother and ‘Nan Pen’, who is continuously fascinated and amazed by her two young grandchildren.  She has always wanted to live in  a tree house by the beach …..it’s never too late!!…….

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Photo source: Little Robin Photography (links unsourced)

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If you learn how to die, you’ll learn how to live

Sibylesque Being Mortal quote

BEING MORTAL: Medicine and What Matters in the End

By Atul Gawande 

Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt & Company, 2014.

Review by Kerry Cue

Atul Gawande

Atul Gawande

The reason this book is so meaningful, so compelling and why it ranks as a rare must-read is because, in telling the story of how to die a good death, it slowly addresses an equally important question namely ‘how  are we to live a good and meaningful life?’

Sibylesque The three fates

Atul Gawande, surgeon and writer for The New Yorker, dreams of new ways of caring for the frail and old. He questions the bureaucratic nature of aged care institutions where the elderly are kept ‘safe’, but hardly ‘alive’. And he rails against the invasive, painful and ultimately futile medical procedures inflicted on the dying. Yet this book is no dry academic tome. Gawande tells the storxy of dying and death of his father, also a surgeon, from first discovering the tumor in the spinal column, through the family’s struggling with medical options – operate? His father might become a quadriplegic. Don’t operate, he may become a quadriplegic! – to his father’s final days.

There is one strong and clear message from this thoughtful exploration of the end stage. Patients could have good days even when dying. But to achieve this goal they must be asked, or think about, at least, ‘what are your greatest fears?’ and ‘what are your current goals?’ Simple questions but from the answers patients discover how they are to live in their final days and, eventually, die.

Gawande has managed to take the fear away from our modern, Western view of dying, which, in many aspects involves, an impersonal, sterile, ICU bed intubated with a tube down the throat and a total loss of control. Dying need not be like this. Gawande shows how the human spirit can flourish and life can be fully lived to the very end.

curlicue

Photo source: Unsourced book review blog, Tapestry held in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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Why We Cannot Imagine Ourselves in Old Age

by Kerry Cue

Jenni Diski quote

One thing that Diski (Restricted link: The Screaming Gynaecologist, London Review of Books, 4 Dec 2014) had not anticipated was sudden death. As we age we fear debilitation. We also fear having to – even if willingly – look after a severely debilitated partner. Diski is in her late sixties and has a tumour in her lung. After bouts of chemo the results are uncertain. The tumour was no bigger … nor had it shrunk in size. She had to adjust to living with not only a tumour, but uncertainty. Death hovered a little over 12 months away. Maybe extra time was bought with chemo.

Nothing is written in stone sibylesque

Suddenly, she was confronted with juggling fact and speculation, certainty and uncertainty. How does anyone do this? Diski offers no solution. But her situation is extreme. Her certainty is clear. She has a terminal cancer. Her uncertainty is extreme for she found herself tumbling back to the lacerating uncertainties of her youth. At 12 she’d been placed in one foster home after another following her mother’s catatonic breakdown. She never knew the rules of each new household. Is it OK, for instance, to go to the toilet during the night? She learned to make herself ‘invisible and inaudible’. When Diski was 15 years of age author Doris Lessing became her guardian. This brought it’s own complications.

We can all learn from Diski’s thoughtful piece. We cannot anticipate the troubles of old age. In Diski’s own words:

‘I will continue to live with uncertainty and my inability to do anything about it, the condition I’ve been trying to wriggle away from all my life.’

And so say all of us.

Photo: unsourced

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These are the best years of your life. What? Middle school? That’s it!

The Sibyls

Radical Age quote

We Sibyls are concerned with the impact negative attitudes to aging have on our health. Toxic stereotypes of ‘the little old lady’ are prevalent in the medical world, At my age doctor John Glen was an astronaut, in the media, If you think you are old guess what? You are aging fast and in our own conversations, Why you should avoid geriatric talk.

Anarchists knitting Club 1

Sometimes, however, we don’t realise just how ingrained these attitudes are in the culture. In this fascinating lecture Sheila Roher, founder of Radical Age Lab, University of Columbia, asks the audience ‘how many of you were told when you were a child or a teenager that these are the best years of your life?’. ‘That’s a terrifiying statement!’ exclaims Roher. ‘Like I peaked at nine … middle school is it?’

Watch the video for some profound philosophical thinking on aging.

You will find more discussion on this topic at Radical Age Movement Blog.

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How to avoid despair in a negative world

By Kerry Cue 

Sibylesque quote F. Scott Fitzgerald

The author of the quote above remains unnamed to give you a moment to reflect on the significance of these words. It strikes me that too many people I know – so it could be my choice of friends – have become cynical and negative as they have aged. Aging is a war where new battles are fought and won daily or, hopefully, where graceful surrender is negotiated. A bitter and twisted demeanor, no matter how tempting, is a debilitating mindset.

So how do we remain positive, not only in a negative world, but at an age when struggle is the only option? Perhaps, the author of the quote is setting down an alternative view, one that also embraces wisdom. Life, after all, dumps on each of us a bucket full of slippery and barbed contradictions: joy and sorrow, blessings and tragedies, pain and relief, certainty and confusion.

Sibylesque Anyone for tennis

So this is how we counter despair. We juggle it with the possibility of doing good, of making some small contribution.

Who wrote the above quote? F. Scott Fitzgerald. The quote comes from an article titled The Crack-Up published in April, 1936, in which he is brutally honest about his breakdown. He was tired of life. Any reader today would realise he was suffering from depression. He was 39 years old at the time of publication. Fitzgerald died in December 1940 from a heart attack when he was 44.

Other posts on this issue of aging with a postive mindset include At My Age, Doctor, John Glen was an Astronaut and Why you should avoid geriatric talk.

 Photo Source: 1930s tennis women tumblr

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