Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Sunday, February 12, 2017

a thought about aging...

Most of you know I'm putting together an anthology about aging. It is a complex, complicated, difficult subject. People don't want to think about it. People don't want to talk about it let alone write about it. But the subject is rich and I find myself thinking about it more and more in my day to day life.

One thing keeps happening over and over again that reminds me in a most bizarre way that I'm old.
Notice I said old--not older. Last night hubby and I went to a concert at Popejoy Hall, the theater on our university campus. We have season tickets to the Broadway ovation series, so I'm used to seeing "older" adults at those performances. But last night we went to see The Australian Bee Gees -- a group out of Las Vegas doing a tribute to the Bee Gees. When we arrived at our seats, I turned to watch the throngs enter. "What the heck are these folks on walkers and in wheelchairs and with canes doing at a Bee Gees concert?" I said to hubs. "Will they even know these songs?"

That's the kicker right there. Of course they came to hear those songs because those are their songs, just as they are mine. They're my age, or close to it. Those of us who came of age in the sixties and seventies when rock n' roll was the soundtrack of the Viet Nam war, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women's movement.

What is it about aging that allows us to forget how old we are until we are jolted into a reminder like I had last night. But once the music started, did I care? Did it stop me from getting out into the aisle and dancing as if I were twenty again? It did not.

So somebody please explain how this happens? How what we feel on the inside can be so different from what everyone sees on the outside. It's weird to see old people with white hair rocking out to the music, but I wouldn't trade weird for anything. I'll take it, "Stayin' Alive."



Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's like attending a Rush concert. They've been around since the early seventies, so I'll see people ten to twenty years older than me. And I'll see kids in their very early teens as fathers bring them to share the music I remember.

Karen Walker said...

Yeah,Alex, it's kind of cool when multiple generations can enjoy the same music.

D.G. Hudson said...

Somehow in our mind's eye we see ourselves as younger than those of similar age around us, until we see a photograph. Photo images give us a reality check. Music however is something that can cross boundaries and appeal to different age groups. My music taste hasn't changed since my 20s although it has broadened.
Good Luck with the anthology!

Linda Hoye said...

When we returned to Canada after having been gone for seven years I was taken aback at how store clerks, and others I had a passing acquaintance with before we left, had aged. Took me a moment to realize I had too.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen - getting old is challenging isn't it - one's around for a while and I've been back in this country 25 years ... and everyone is greyer, saggier, yet still as dynamic as they used to be ... so am so glad you both enjoyed the concert ... sounds fun - cheers Hilary

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm jolted like that whenever I attempt to leap on my kitchen counter to reach something on the top shelf. LOL But I know what you mean. What's sad is I'll run into someone who looks older than me and then discover she's 5-7 years younger. It used to boggle my mind that some of my friends weren't old enough to see men walking on the moon for the first time, but now I have friends that weren't even born before the Challenger explosion.

Belva said...

You hit it....right on. I'm always surprised when I look in the mirror.
I still expect to see a much younger person. I shop at the health
food store that has some of the old charm of a Mayberry store and
they always ask if I need help out with my groceries. During
these slippery winter weather conditions, I take it. LOL

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

The tables turned on me a couple of Christmases ago when I tried lifting something way too heavy for me and had my college-aged son fuss at me!

The great thing about music is how it can tie us all together and make us forget the incidentals in our enjoyment of it. :)

Karen Walker said...

DG, thanks so much
Linda, I know. I forget I'm a white-haired "old lady" way too often.
Hilary, that's the key right there - "still dynamic."
Diane, lol, now I have an image in my mine of you leaping onto your kitchen cabinet!!
Belva, yeah, I'm learning to take help when it's offered, too.
Elizabeth, you are so right about music. I see it every time Sugartime goes to perform at retirement communities - it brings such joy and crosses all sorts of boundaries.

Tabitha Bird said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tabitha Bird said...

Old...hmmm. I do think about getting old. I have just turned 40. I guess I tend to think more about what I want out of life and how I don't have as much time on my side as I did when I was say 20 or 30. I am more purposeful in my every day living. I set more goals. I stick to them. This year as you know from my blog my word is relentless. I just plain and simple will not give up. I want. And I am not going to stop working for what I want. I think the older we get the more life taps us gently on the shoulder and says, "what do you want?" And I think once you pass 40 life really looks you dead in the eye and says, "I am not kidding anymore. What do you want?"
This year I am becoming very intentional about the way I live. I am intentional even to the point of how I want to start my day. How I want to end my day. And exactly what I want out of the middle of my day. I am trying to live on purpose.
So age isn't really my issue, yet. I guess it's more about using my life right now well. Especially as I get older.
Love to you x

Tabitha Bird said...

sorry, just fixing spelling in my comment. That's why I reposted :)

Karen Walker said...

No worries, Tab. And what you've written here is very much what I've come to because of aging. You're reaching that wisdom much younger than I did. Yeah for you!!

LD Masterson said...

I still start to give up my seat, offer to help carry packages, etc. for little old ladies...until I realize they're probably younger than I am.

Patricia Stoltey said...

That's exactly the way I felt when I attended a Beach Boys concert, Karen. Or play one of my CDs by groups from the 60s and 70s, or even from the 80s (when my kids were playing lots of records with the volume turned up). My brain tells me I'm young and my body says, "Slow down, babe, or you'll hurt yourself." :D