“Though an old man, I am a young gardener.”-Thomas Jefferson
I’ve been waiting patiently for winter to let go. I want to go out and play in my gardens. Yes, I said play. Because being in my garden makes me feel young again. I get so lost in what I’m doing that sometimes I don’t even realize how long I’ve been out there. My husband tells me that he loves to stand back and watch me when I’m gardening because I look so peaceful. Yet, at the end of the day, I can suffer for it if I don’t pace myself, use the right tools, and stretch before starting.
In the book “Gardening for Seniors” it covers all this and more. If there’s a will to garden in our senior years, then this book will help you find a way do it step by step.
Today it looks like we are going straight from winter into summer with a forecast of 80’s degrees. Before I run out the door with my garden hat and gloves my husband reminds to do my warm-up exercises. He kindly demonstrated the ones from the book so I could share them with you.
Tilt your head to the left with your ear pointing toward your shoulder hold for a count of 5.
Repeat on the other side 3 times each.
Stand with relaxed shoulders. Then elevate shoulders toward the neck. Hold for a count of 5, then repeat 5 times
With hands on hips slowly turn your upper body and hold for a count of 5, return to center and repeat the turn to the opposite side and hold for a count of 5. Repeat exercise 5 times.
With elbows held close to the body rotate your wrist gentle in a circular motion. Repeat in both directions 5 times each.
Lower Back Stretches
Bring your knee as high as you can up to your chest and hold with hands for the count of 5.
Repeat on opposite side 5 times each.
With knees slightly bent stretch your arms out to the side, slowly reach behind you, gradually bring them around and hug yourself. Eventually swinging the arms easily in motion several times.
With hands against a wall, place one foot in front of the other with a bent knee. Strech the other leg out straight back for a good stretch. Hold for a count of 5 and repeat each leg 5 times each.
Upper Leg Stretch
With a hand on a chair or wall pull your back leg up with hand or rest it on a chair for the count of 5. Repeat 5 times each leg.
Upper Arm Stretch
Raise your right elbow up toward ear and hold push back gently with the other arm for a good stretch holding for a count of 5, repeat each arm 5 times.
If you’d like to check the book Gardening for Seniors click on this link to take a better look.
I was working on my memoir and started a sentence off with the word senior. It was about reaching that final year in high school. I sat there looking at the word senior, thinking how surreal the moment felt. I mean, here I was a senior again going through some of the same feelings and emotions only this time it’s at the opposite end of life. But what could make two such different correlations of the word anything alike? It could only be that dreaded feeling that comes with the anticipation of the unknown. It creates a kind of dis-ease they call…senioritis.
So, I wondered, what are the symptoms of senioritis? Of course, it only applied to seniors in high school. But once again I couldn’t help seeing the correlation to those of us adjusting to our retirement and our senior years of life.
Loss of interest in your appearance
Lack of motivation
Difficulty reading things longer than a few paragraphs
A drastic increase in TV watching
Short-term memory loss
Sleep too much or too little
Oh, those years of youth when I had my whole life ahead of me to look forward to. Another symptom of senioritis comes with the wonder of what’s left to come. Barbara Hannah Grufferman’s in her book, “Love Your Age,” reminds us that, “We can’t control getting older, but we can control how we do it.” Understanding those words gives us our power back. It takes us out of that senioritis mindset. We realize life is no longer about looking ahead or back, but about making the most of the moments we have right now. I’m learning that you can live a lifetime in those moments because it actually feels as if time stops and all that matters is where you find yourself.
So, there we have it. Another way to embrace this stage of our life, take control and do it our way.
If you’re looking for more ways to find out how to make the best of this time in your life check out Gruffermans’s book. She has lots of great ideas and insight.
Turning 65 made me step back and take an undeniable reality check. I’ve reached the age of no return.
I tell my friend, “I want to embrace this time in my life, but I don’t know what that means.”
“Neither do I,” she says.
While I was on vacation recently I had an aha moment that put everything into perspective for me. I stopped to check out this big old tree that was over 237 years old. Standing beside it I looked so small in comparison. I was drawn to step within the fold of its draping branches. At first the clusters of Spanish-moss looked like ghost from the past swaying between the branches. Then it looked like beautiful long silver hair blowing in the wind. I’m in awe of the moment as if I’ve stepped within that place where the meaning of inner beauty lies. This big beautiful old tree with it’s wrinkles, cracks, and age spots still stands strong in a weathered region against all odds. Maybe it’s because she went with the flow of the winds, bending with a flexible heart to whatever God brought her way.
Nature teaching me how to embrace my age meant; to stand tall and proud for what and who I’ve become. That’s where our true beauty lies, and keep on moving so I can bend with the flow of life, with the gracefulness of Spanish-moss blowing in the wind.
“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it and join the dance.”-Alan W. Watts
As I search for answers to my own questions about getting older. I wondered why no one my age wanted to talk about it. Some would simple say, you’re only as old as you feel. Well it’s true, I mean when I hear an oldie but goody on the radio and I start to be-bopping around like nobody’s business. Next thing ya know my hip is out of whack, and I find myself having to take a time out for a few days till I can move around normal again. That is as normal as a 65 year old can. Oh I don’t want to say it like that. I sound like my mother who was always saying, “Well you know I am in my 60’s now.”
“That’s not old,” I’d tell her.
So now when I go away with my girls and they want me to go dancing with them they say come on Mom, live it up, and I have to bite my lip from saying the same thing my Mom did. Instead, I did go out with them, and I did live it up, and I did have a great time because I still can. All I want to do is embrace this stage of my life, but I don’t understand what that means. That got me thinking that maybe no one wants to talk about it because they don’t know what it means either. What I do know is that I want to live the best life I can with the years I have left to enjoy it. So, I thought I’d share with you the answers I find to my questions.
Maybe you’d like to come dance with me along the way. Maybe together we can figure out how to live the best life we can with what we got. As I said to a friend the other day, two heads are better then one, and who wants to dance alone, that’s no fun.