The Lessons of Aging

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I’m taking some time out to heal after successful rotator cuff surgery last Friday. Here, in my stead is my friend and fellow memoirist, Kathy Pooler, who like myself is taking the time to spread the word that the aging process isn’t as bad as many others lead us to believe.


Age has given me what I was looking for my entire life—it has given me “me”. It has provided time and experience and failures and triumphs and time-tested friends who have helped me step into the shape that was waiting for me. I fit into me now. “~ Anne LaMott


I don’t think anyone really relishes the thought of getting older. Visions of incapacitated, crumpled bodies in nursing home wheelchairs is enough to set anyone on an age-defying track.  Unfortunately, many things are not within our control. While we still have our mental and physical function, I’d like to offer a perspective on the aging process, gained from my own lived experience.

Anne LaMott’s wise words remind me that the challenges that confront us can serve to mold us and make us stronger. And we all have our stories of conquering mountains and slaying dragons, especially as we age.

Is it any wonder that we relish our quiet time in our “Golden Years”?

At seventy-two and with a lot of chronic medical issues, I am embracing this time in my life where I can sit in solitude and stay out of the fray of daily life. I recall those days of frenzy when I rushed off to work after getting two kids fed and going. That was after refereeing their kitchen table debate, “He’s looking at me”, Leigh Ann screamed while Brian sat quiet and smug across the table. By the time I got to work, I felt I had put in eight hours.

So, I’m looking at all the ways that aging is good. I’m still here for starters and that wasn’t always a given. I remind myself often of the night I was diagnosed with Stage Four Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in December of 1996 and wondered if I would survive.

Twenty-three years later, I am here—aging, dealing with limitations, and grateful for the second chance at life. So, as the hot breath of aging breathes down my back, I’m finding reasons to embrace the passing years…

Here are some of the best things about growing old

Grandchildren—I am blessed to have ten grandsons and one curly-topped, feisty three -year old girl who all bring much joy to our lives. They pile in for pizza after playing paintball in the woods then gather around the table for laughing and sharing stories. Or I watch one grandson stealing the show at his basketball tournament and another winning his cycling race.

Studies show that seniors are among the happiest groups of people. Perhaps that’s because we finally develop better coping skills after being tested and we feel better about ourselves.

The Gift of Time with loved ones or time to pursue dreams.

Some people choose to volunteer. The point is that you can do whatever you want and need to do as long as you are physically able.

Wisdom. Don’t you feel you have gained wisdom in the fine art of living and being?

Because we have been through so much in our younger years, we can develop better social skills and endure hardships better. There’s no time or energy for drama.

Guaranteed Monthly Income, Medicare, Social Security. There’s a sense of security in getting that monthly paycheck.


Given this perspective, it’s time to embrace the lessons of aging. Let’s face it, some days are better than others but if I keep a spirit of gratitude for my second chance, I can make the most of the time I am still here.


When I think of aging with grace, a vision of my eighty-eight-year-old father pushing a walker and hooked to a portable oxygen tank as he walked around the track at the YMCA pops into my mind.


Or I think about my ninety-five-year-old mother who always made sure she was dressed to the hilt until the end—with make-up, matching silk scarf and jewelry.  Oh, occasionally, she would say, “Aging is for the birds” but the next day she’d chirp about how grateful she was.

If we’re lucky, we’re all going to age and with that comes the onset of major and minor maladies and declining function but let’s keep moving forward and make the most of each day.


How about you? Do you have any thoughts to add about aging?

 I’d love to hear from you. Please join in the conversation below~


Follow Kathy on her blog, “Memoir Writer’s Journey.” 

Her first memoir, Ever Faithful to his Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse, is available where ever fine books are sold.

She is currently at work on her second memoir, Just the Way He Walked: A Mother’s Story of Healing from Cancer and Her Son’s Alcohol Addiction. 


  1. I’m glad to hear your surgery was successful, Joan. 🙂

    And, Kathy, you tell it like it is . . . and with gratitude. Thank you!

  2. Joan Rough says:

    Kathy, thank you so much for your lovely post. These are things we all must keep in mind as we age. Staying on the positive side of Things makes aging much easier. My grand children make life joyous as I watch them grow and become responsible adults. We all have challenges during the latter part of life but I’m finding it to be a beautiful time.

    I am doing well after my surgery last Friday. I have no pain and have not had to use the drugs provided for me in case I needed them. The sling makes life go slowly but this is good practice for the speedy Gonzales who still wants me to hurry up sometimes. I am enjoying Reading, watching movies, and the birds at my feeder. I couldn’t ask for more.

    • Joan, thank you for hosting me today. I’m thrilled to hear you are doing so well after your surgery.I couldn’t agree with you more about “staying on the positive side of things”. Here’s to your ongoing healing. Keep up your fighting spirit!

  3. Having had my own rotator cuff surgery last May, I know what you mean, Joan. Enjoy the quiet time and healing.
    Kathy, I love the title you have chosen for your second memoir. I’m 72 as well, and think about the crummy jobs I don’t have to go to every day. Now is a beautiful time.

    • Joan Rough says:

      Thank you for stopping by Linda. I imagine your rotator cuff is feeling ever so much better. I am enjoying the quiet and the peace without pain.

  4. Kathy and Joan, so good to see you together here. Juan, congrats on the surgery. It’s a bear; I know (from the spousal perspective). And Kathy, you hit the mark once again. To be older is s privilege denied to many. Aren’t we the lucky ones!

    • Thanks Janet ! It is hard but not horrible. Still no pain and the doc and PT person say I’m doing Great. I’ve got a chef who comes in once a week and prepares several meals that most of the week Plus I cooked ahead and have lots of stuff the freezer to keep us fed. That helps a lot.

      I agree with you all that we are the lucky ones!

  5. HaHa, Janet. Yes, we are the among the lucky ones. And I love it when we get together in all these places. Thanks for stopping by.