We human beings have a myriad of ways to identify ourselves. For my part, I am a mother. I am a sister. I am 160 cm. tall. I have two artificial hips. I have been practising yoga for 51 years. And so on.
Sadly, it is less common that even the people who are clearly old will identify themselves as old. Why is that? What are they waiting for? As a concession, someone might admit, yes, I’m getting older, as though landing on being old is always a little bit in the future.
A lovely man died yesterday—his demise spurred on by having been on kidney dialysis for some time.
I didn’t know him well; initially it was by virtue of his reputation as an Aboriginal elder, law man and artist. Millions of people across the globe viewed his art when the image of a giant Wandjina (Aboriginal spirit entity) that he designed was featured in the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
We have to be very discerning when seeking out elders. One giveaway of elderhood is the acceptance of age. No one wants to become infirm in body and mind but there’s a grace that comes with acceptance of wrinkles, grey and thinning hair and stiffening joints.
Yes, I think that a hallmark of an elder is acceptance of imperfection, one’s character flaws and personal failings. Foibles and follies when cooked in the cauldron of life experience can create something like wisdom.
I’m still in elder training, not that I’m not old enough. The thing that I’m learning and trying to practice is authenticity, speaking my mind, hopefully without doing any harm, and holding to values without being rigid. Performing yoga poses is easy compared to this late stage of focus. It takes perseverance to keep after the truth; it’s often still buried under conditioning and wanting to please.
The Incident Last week I had an accident with my car. Ironically I was pulling into Old Bar Automotive to get my registration check. The car was sporting four new tyres to help guarantee that my Kia would pass inspection. I missed the garage's dirt driveway by just...
I heard a friend say today that she is happy this year is almost over and that next year has got to be better. Then, she added, ‘That’s what I said the year before, though.’ In my opinion, last year and the year before were not bad. This period forced upon me the realisation that I am not really in control. And that uncertainty is the only bedrock that we have and all our machinations will never change that fact.
At my age, physiology has conspired to make me much more considerate of my energy levels. No matter what kind of yoga I do, how much or how little, let’s be honest, I don’t have the verve of my 40 year old self.
And yet, the last couple of months have pushed me onto a bigger stage. Without seeking renown, some special opportunities have found me.
This is the arc of life, with a peak somewhere in there, but for the most part, we miss it.
When you look in the mirror today, you might say to yourself, ‘Gawd, you are looking beautiful today.’ You might as well admire this presentation because next week you will look slightly altered. As I did yesterday when I noticed my hair had ‘suddenly’ become much greyer than I remembered. If you can, avoid the expression ‘for my age’. That negates the little bit of self-love you created upon complimenting yourself.
Recently I’ve been thinking about healthy ageing yet again because I’ve been included as a photographic subject in the NSW Government’s ‘Art of Ageing’ exhibition. It was launched at Parliament House in Sydney this week and will be featured prominently there for a month. Then, the exhibition will go on the road for two years, showing in 46 locations across the State.
The stated aim of the exhibition is to improve respect for and social inclusion of older people and to recognise older people’s contributions to their communities.
Every now then I think, yikes!, I’m going to be 74 in a couple of months. I better do something quick as I seem to be losing the battle with ageing.
What’s been happening is that I’m not as strong as I once was. I’m stiffer and achey in some of my joints. I have a bit less muscle and more flesh around my middle. And I get fatigued more easily than before.
Uh-oh. I forgot to mention the occasional bouts of sciatica.
Obviously, I need to join the gym, become more flexible, lose the middle chubbies and have power naps.
Feeling somewhat ‘death illiterate’, I did a year-long training in 2014 called Midwifing Death. I had an idea that this course would be good to do, a way of looking to my future. It would help me be more able to face, in a full-frontal way, my own ageing process, which will lead eventually to my own dying.
I believe in the importance of community so much that I’ve chose to live communally. We are three couples, living under the same roof, sharing our lives together. This experiment in a different way to do retirement has been highly successful. We’ve been the subject of media attention even from the inception of our vision thirteen years ago.
Yesterday’s guest blog post, Yoga and Age, written by my friend Collyn Rivers is proving to be one of Yoga Suits Her’s most popular.
So, riding on this crest, I thought I might publish this excellent little video that Daniel made of Collyn a little while back.
If a picture’s worth a thousand words, maybe this will go viral?
Collyn Rivers at 86
Am also encouraged by recent findings that the body may cease aging when one is past 91. The study (reported in a 2016 New Scientist) by Michael Rose (a professor of evolutionary biology), says that if you are lucky enough to live that long, you stop ageing. He notes that one’s health may not improve but it certainly does not get any worse. Whilst that advice is far not mainstream, population statistics do show that ageing seems to stop at 93 – and does not speed up again until we get a telegram from Queen Elizabeth (the Last) at 100.
Thus, if one makes it to 99, you are no more likely to die at any given point than someone of 93. (From 110 plus may be a different matter but I’ll let you know).
Insomnia: The Night Prowler
There was a time when I slept the sleep of the innocent. That was in the dim distant past.
Menopause first threw a spanner in the machine, with its 3-4am wake-ups. Once I was wide awake, too bad, that was it for the night.
Man-o-pause sleep, I’ve heard, isn’t any better. No matter what our gender, eventually we all succumb. What is it? The influence of waning hormones?
Recently, my husband went to The Sleep Clinic to investigate the cause of his brand of insomnia. Its likely cause is sleep apnoea. […]
My Women’s GroupOn Mother’s Day, as I write this post, I’m full of happy memories from the reunion that I shared with my women’s group last week.Let me tell you a little about us.Everyone of our group is a mother and some are grandmothers. Everyone loves their progeny fiercely and has been through all the ups and downs that come with being a mother.We get together once a year and come from all over the place–Broome, Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Mitchells Island and Adelaide. We value this time together that we carve out of our busy lives. […]
A human body cannot continually be pushed, with the pendulum swinging widely between extreme behaviours. Maintaining a sense of well-being for as long as possible is only really likely if we can opt as much as possible for the middle ground during our lives and seek balance in all things.
When I was 27, I discovered yoga. I thought that this ancient system would help me defeat disease and old age. Of course, I now know this view was terribly naive and ultimately fallacious. But because both of my parents had died young from heart problems, I wanted to find a guaranteed way to live a long, healthy life.
Celebrate a birthday or two with meEve yoga is where you’ll find the Yoga Suits Her blog; on January 1st 2016, she will enjoy her sixth birthday. I want to share with you another birthday. Saturday I turned 71 years old. To celebrate, I thought I’d show you a few yoga pics from the distant past, not-so-distant past, and the present. I dug through stacks of old photos from 1980 to present day to find this selection. My albums include pics of some of my old students, as well. […]
For the seventh time this year, and over past years, too, I’ve been featured in the media.
Is this because I’m a celebrity yoga teacher? Not at all… Even though one of these media exposures was a full page interview of me in Focus Magazine to promote the upcoming Ekam Yoga Festival.
Most of my renown has happened because my housemates and I have become the darlings of how-to-do-retirement-better media coverage.