Sep 26, 2014

Stages of Aging: From Neverland to Reality

illustration of Lost Boys, Wendy, Peter Pan
illustration of Lost Boys, Wendy, Peter Pan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was tempted to see if anyone else has had this thought before I began writing but I decided that it didn't really matter. I need to talk about this with you. The question is Do all new retirees and boomers becoming obsessed with the idea that they might remain young forever? Are they, in fact, wanting to return to Neverland and live like Peter Pan and the Lost Boys?

I went through that phase when I retired and moved to our winter home in Arizona for six months of every year. It seemed that living in a cloistered world with other retirees, most of them much older than myself, gave me the freedom to be young again...in my case it may be that I was actually young for the first time. Who knows? What I do know is that I felt like I had found Neverland. I even talked about the "pods" in the pool that those people in the movie Cocoon swam with. Remember, those alien pods were like the fountain of youth.

Years went by and I began to grow up again...it may be that boomers/retirees will all go through this when they are free to do just what they want without worry about a job or even the care of children. Aging may have a youth, middle age and old age all it's own. It is something to think about.

In the youthful part of my old age I belonged to a group of women online called Fab Over Fifty. Geri, the owner of the website, was a beacon for women that were growing older. She promoted the idea that young was something we could have if we just played our cards right. Beauty products, clothing choices and just a little bit of ridicule for women that did not have that special sense of style filled the website. I stayed with the group for a while then...

Geri wrote a blog post about getting old. She talked about Pilates and baldness and night creams. She worked hard at doing all the right stuff so her thinking was that she was not going to get old. She could not understand why everyone was not like her. Then she posted pictures of old people with big moles. At the time I was about 69 I think. You can imagine that I was just a little offended and a lot angry. I was beginning to become more mature in that stage in my life. I became aware of the realities of aging. I could not wrap my mind around the mindset of a group of women like that.

See, it doesn't matter if you do all the right things...you are going to get old just like everyone else. It is one of the givens in life.

I just returned from a place in Mexico, a haven for artists and expats. I was not aware that this place existed and I don't think that a lot of retirees are. But, for those people living there, there is a quality to the air, a inexpensive lifestyle and a unspoken hope that youth may be forever available. It is one of the many possible Neverlands people are seeking.

As I was driving down a back road near Leon, Mexico, it occurred to me that staying young forever is not what I want...not really. The idea that I would forever have to walk endless miles to keep fit or eat just the perfect healthy food or even maintain the regimen of beauty creams and makeup began to feel like a burden. I don't even want to begin with how to dress!  Sometimes I just want to sit and read in my housecoat. I want to get up in the morning, wash my face and hair, get dressed and nothing else. Sometimes I just want to sleep. In a word, I just want to be who I am at the age I am. Isn't that perfect?

So, Peter Pan, you can have your forever youthful life. Getting old is not bad, not at all. In fact, when it comes down to it, life just gets better and better. That is what I think.

Have a wonderful day!

b+

12 comments:

  1. This was a great post. I just retired last year, but I am just the opposite of the retiree who wants to stay forever young. It was actually retirement that brought me to the point where I could face the aging process head on and become who I really wanted to be. It was while I was still working that I did 'all the right things' to stay young. I can sit back now and see how hard it was on me. My oldest co-worker was 20 years my junior. I was of another generation than everyone else, and I worked so hard to fit in that I forgot about who I am. Today I am comfortable with me.
    Mary

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    Replies
    1. Congratulations on your retirement. You will have so much fun with the rest of your life. You have hit on the ultimate truth about this stage, you can be comfortable with yourself because YOU get to decide who that is.

      Barbara

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  2. Food for thought. I may have to re-visit this theme.

    Tell me, where is the Mexico haven for artists and expats? I want to travel through on my next Mexico trip.

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    Replies
    1. San Miguel de Allende...you will love it. There are previous posts on this blog about it. www.retireinstyleblog.com

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    2. Oh and let me know when you write about Peter Pan! I would love to read your thoughts!

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  3. I used to laugh at old ladies who wore a house dress and white socks rolled down around their ankles. Guess what? That's now currently 'ME'! It's actually quite comfy to walk around the house like this.
    Who knew?

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  4. I'm with you on this! I turned 60 this summer and I'm not paying much attention to what that means. Though I am now regularly using moisturizer at night! Ha ha. I don't see any need to worry about what a particular age means-or define how I'm meant to act. I don't need to be younger or create any of those riddles like "60 is the new 40". I'm not even sure I know what they mean. What I do want to do is explore possibilities and take care of my body and my life. Be present, enjoy life around me, indulge my creativity...and whatever else I discover. (currently writing in bathrobe...10:14am)

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    Replies
    1. Walker,

      First let me say that I think you understand better than anyone what women go through in their lives as they try to remain true to their own life. The subject of your blog (sex) is spot on!

      I loved the fact that you felt so strongly about being present. To me that statement means that we are not looking back yearning to be someone we used to be and we are not looking into the future trying to guess what we will become. We are what we are today. That is a whole new blog post don't you think.

      Oh and if you decide to organize a group of "bathrobe writers", sign me up!

      Barbara

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  5. I'm shifting out of Peter Pan. How could I have known that watering a garden would be painful on my hips and my shoulders? When I start adjusting my activities to accommodate my aging body, I have to face reality!

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  6. Linda, you are so right. We do need to change our activities to fit our bodies while keeping in mind that pushing ourselves a little will help us stay stronger. It truly is a balancing act.

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  7. Intriguing insight, that "aging may have a youth, middle age and old age all it's own." It might depend on when you retire. As for myself, I don't expect to stay young forever -- that's too much to ask for -- but I do think it's perfectly reasonable not to expect to get old and die.

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