My first glorious peonies from my garden, cut yesterday
DREAMS & CHANGING PERSPECTIVE on AGING
Only last weekend, I asked my long-time friends, Helene, Mary and Marcy if their dreams had changed recently … to drastic dreams of illness, death of self, and/or of spouse. This resulted in several minutes of agreement, and back and forth discussion of examples. It seems that this is one more common occurence in aging. No clinical trials here, just friendly comparisons. But dreams of death, loss or illness are trending in my friends, each hovering below or just above that seventy birth day marker.
My recent dreams were played in big-screen clarity … my husband’s death, me being diagnosed with inoperable, stage-four cancer.
And I remember my 87-year-old mother, a few months before she died, telling me of a dream she had that left her angry all that morning. She dreamt with acute clarity of Daddy having had an affair during their marriage, with a women he had dated before Mom. Affair – not unusual you say. But, in this case it certainly would have been, not just unusual, but it just did not happen. What amazed me about this dream was how it affected my Mother. She had a good marriage, with much laughter, team work, trust and mutual respect. Yet she was not able to slough off that dream.
My Mother at age 77 years
My 70th birthday occurs in less than a month and I am dreading it more than a little – it is undeniably o o o o old. At the same time, I am being philosophical about it …
“70 is the new 50!” (bull sh#%)
“My goal is to live to 87 years like my mother achieved”
“Every day above ground is a good one”
This morning, I awoke from a dream of my beloved Grandmother King and I, when I was in my teens. But it felt so ‘right now’. We were in her home at 452 Laurier Ave, North Bay (my Grandma died in 1973 at age 78). In the dream I was seeing her in her neat, laced, leather shoes perpetually polished, without scuffs; perpetually neat, with new lifts on the sturdy heels, thin laces perpetually tied in a neat bow; trim nylons always in place even while doing washing, ironing, baking. She sewed all her own clothing. Her house dresses of printed cotton always neat, clean and ironed impeccably. They fitted her tightly-corseted body perfectly; her ‘good’ dresses were always fashionable and lovely. Her long grey hair was wound in a neat bun on the back of her head. She looked her age.
My Grandma, Letittia May Wood King – impeccable and lovely. But in this photo, taken about 1940, she would have been only 45 years old!
Some of my nursing classmates, Jan, Gerda, Sue, Wilma and the rest, were recently discussing our upcoming 50th graduation reunion (my gawd – 50 years!!??) in two years, and relating how we think we all look so much younger than 70 year-old-women did decades ago. I agreed. Fashion is so much more relaxed and colourful, so it feels younger and fresher.
This is what 70ish Looks Like …
… and This
And it dawned on me … we may not see ourselves as old. We feel as we always have, and we look as we always have – to ourselves and to each other.
But, for sure, our grandchildren see us as old. That is inevitable. It is the circle of life. And, it is all a matter of perspective.
My grandson, Matthew Coleman, sandwiched between his Grandma and his Nana (going in for a big smooch). You can bet, to him, we look 70ish. He is probably thinking good-naturedly, “get me out-of-here”. But someday, I am willing to bet, he will treasure this memory.