How Do You Slow Down Aging? Move Fast

The Sibyls

An  encouraging  article  for mature-age  readers  was pubished  in  the New York Times this week.  The Best Exercise for Aging Muscles  (Gretchen Reynolds,  23 March,  2017) reported  on   research   showed   that   ‘decline   in  the   cellular   health   of   muscles   associated  with  aging  was  “corrected”  with  exercise,  especially  if  it  was  intense’  according  to  Dr. Sreekumaran Nair, a professor of medicine and an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic.

This research highlights one simple message for those in the mature years. GET MOVING.

Your memory is a building site you wander around in work clothes constantly repairing, retrieving, and rebuilding.

by Kerry Cue

Sibylesque  Billy collins quote

The poem ‘Forgetfulness’ by Billy Collins is one of my all time favourite poems. I first heard it in the car and had to stop the car to listen. I found it hilarious and gloriously lyrical and true to the human condition all at once. You will find the full poem – it’s very short – here.

As I had to lead a workshop on poetry at a recent conference, I started the workshop by reading this poem. The workshop participants, all in the forties and fifties, had one answer.

‘It’s about Alzheimer’s’ they said.

Only one other participant saw the poem as I saw it.

“I thought it was about me’ she said.

Sibylesque Joan Didion Memory quote

And this had me thinking about our perceptions of memory and aging. We protect ourselves from the ‘horrors’ of aging by seeing the OLD as THEM and, naturally, we are US. This keeps us safe. We aren’t like them. Our memories are fine. Maybe, the odd ‘senior’s moment’.

Memory is, has always been, something of a major building project. We collect bric-a-brac and build memories. Then we rebuild these memories, often shoddily, every time we think of them. We neglect some memories. How many of us over 60 can remember how to do a cartwheel, say, or sing Psalm 23, the Psalm you sang in the church you used to go to as a child. Hint: Sheep are involved. Now it is irrelevant to many Australians. Only 8% of us are regular churchgoers.

So memory is not something that is all there or all gone. It is a building site you wander around in work clothes constantly repairing, retrieving, and completely rebuilding when necessary. Some areas are difficult to access. There is a pathway, but where? Often you are peering into the dark. Some memories fade, decay because they never have the light of thought shone upon them. Other memories seem so new, so sparkling, so complete; you stand back and watch them in awe. Other memories are both hidden and dangerous. There should be warning lights, but there are none. Suddenly you are there and the pain is real.

I wrote three books about my childhood when I was in my thirties. Exercising my memory everyday for months, I could recall every cupboard in our kitchen and every object in those cupboards. I could hear my parents speak. How accurate were those memories? Who knows? But they were vivid. Brilliantly vibrant memories.

It is not just the old or demented who forget. We all remember. We all forget.

Or as Billy Collins wrote:

‘and even now as you memorise the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,

the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

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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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Aging Passionately

by Kerry Cue

Sibylesque Florida Scott-Maxwell Quote

Ann Karpf

Ann Karpf

“How to Age’ (The School of Life, 2014) by Anne Karpf takes an analytical and philosophical look at aging. Despite wide spread gerontophobia in our society where age is not just see as a disability, it is despised, Karpf explains that people can age with vitality until their final breath.

And one of the most liberating joys of aging is not caring ‘what others think about you.’

how to ageYou may also like to read about the how geriatric language can age you. At my age, doctor, John Glen was an astronaut!

Anne Karpf is a writer, sociologist and award-winning journalist. And here she is talking about ‘How to Age’: