Feeling Old After a Year in Quarantine?

Julia Hubbel, Walkabout Saga, Horizon Huntress

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4ASnm9_0Z8aOb9M00

Deposit photos

…here's what you can do about it. Right now, in fact.

I read a piece the other day by a fellow writer which was so depressing I felt like the woman in the photo above. She’s 51, and the way she writes about it, she is already done.

Look. It’s her perfect right to wax poetic (or not) about how she feels, which is perfectly valid. I’m not arguing that at all. However, this line really poked me where I live:

At this point, it seems plausible that a spaceship could land on Broadway and no one would see it because they’re too busy texting or looking at Instagram. I’d write about how depressing that is, but that would make me seem really old.

The woman in question is an excellent writer, but here’s the piece that gets me: why would we take such a lovely skill, and effectively paint our readers with bleak sewage about feeling ancient at 51?

Again, this is her right. As it is my right to point out what I feel is unfortunate with such thinking.

First, and I will again point to gobs of research on this topic, you get old when you buy into the ageism nonsense that it’s all downhill after fifty. Or forty, if you like, for heaven’s sake, making people feel older at younger and younger milestones sure sells a lot of self-care crap none of us needs.

To that: no fasting regime (taken to extremes, by any other name, still anorexia), no detox teas (by any other name, still laxatives) or stupid stones you shove where you shouldn't will make you feel any younger or cause your body to be more efficient if:

  1. You have decided you’re an ancient doddering piece of cow manure by the time you make it past fifty
  2. You’ve already bought into the narrative that you’re useless and you have no voice, nothing worthwhile to say if you’re not young.
  3. You treat your body, mind and soul like crap by eating crap, drinking, smoking, and avoiding exercise.

I struggled to find the humor in that piece, and worse, when I read the comments, I slid even further into the black hole created by the point of view. Which is why, since I like my mental health, I will read nothing more by this particular writer. Not my cuppa.

The way I see it, we all deserve our funks, we all deserve our down times. What we also might like to see is what the author is doing about it. Light at the end of the tunnel? Not here. I totally get it that quarantine brought many of us down, but it seems to me that Dear Reader deserves to be reminded of how to get back up again.

I will never pretend to speak for anyone else but I will share, as I am fond of doing, that my friend Jeanette, who is slightly past fifty, has been putting her heart and soul into rewriting the “downhill from here” script. Jeanette’s got a kid just under thirty, and as she is finding out (as do we all), committed exercise and better food choices are among the best prescriptions for the attacks laid upon us for committing the crime of leaving young skin behind.

This is the one line from the article I mentioned above that underscores how we age ourselves far faster than Father Time ever could:

Today, and even in these “unprecedented times,” I can’t think of the last thing I did that struck me as new or special — at least new or special enough to write about and expect anyone to read.

Good heavens.

Really?

I could say, you don’t get out much. I was under quarantine too, and I still had a ton of material, averaging one to three articles every single day. That comes of being engaged and observant and reading other’s comments and about their lives and….

expecting to find interesting things.

Funny, I find lots of interesting and special things because the world is FULL of interesting and special things.

As well as interesting and special people.

But not if we are so very bored and self-absorbed and caught up in how OLD we are that we choose not to see them.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2BmS39_0Z8aOb9M00Photo by Camila Quintero Franco on Unsplash

It is not the job of the rest of the world to keep us entertained.

Again, that’s my take. We get old when we stop playing. Stop seeing. Stop engaging. Stop laughing. Stop learning.

When we decide that we’re too old.

If that works for you for the next five decades of YOUR life, have at it. If you have already decided that you’re worthless, and have nothing to say, there’s nothing to write about, and that you aren’t going to put any effort into making your life interesting enough to have something to say, write something worth reading, then you've effectively given up.

Nothing ages you faster than deciding you’re old.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2SEThN_0Z8aOb9M00Photo by Daniel Páscoa on Unsplash

Now. If you aren’t particularly thrilled about THAT future, here’s what you can do about it (this is what I do, and keep doing, and funny how it tends to work):

  1. Remove ANY and ALL Debbie and David Downers outta your intimate circle. As in NOW. Shut that down. I give an author one good chance, and if that is just really unpleasant, we’re done. I won’t explore anything else, for we leak our way of being into our work.
  2. Start surrounding yourself with people who are living brave, aging even braver, and who are unstoppable. Watch what they do, what they eat, the choices they make. Are you willing to make similar changes?
  3. Find people who will NOT tolerate any Debbie or David Downer crap from you. They don’t have time for that. If you’re toxic, you’re the problem, not them. If positive people annoy you, time to look in the mirror and ask yourself why you’re mad instead of madly chasing them down to find out what on earth they might be doing differently from you.
  4. Get moving. Exercise fixes damned near anything. AND it puts you in close proximity with others who exercise. Who are likely to be a lot more positive and proactive.
  5. Change your diet. Ice cream sales and consumption rose 12% under quarantine. I didn’t have a single scoop, how I wish, but if your diet went to hell under quarantine that most assuredly did NOT help your mental state. Start being responsible for that incredible skin suit and watch how fast those dividends start paying off in energy, enthusiasm and joy. Then you will find out fast how many people around you get mad because YOU are feeling better. See how this works?
  6. Get thee a Laugh Circle. Those people I love best make me pee my pants laughing at the absurdity that is life. I know some of it is awful. As in…Matt Gaetz is a graduate of Niceville High school. You cannot, cannot make this up. That is just funny. Learning how to see the funny in just about everything keeps you full of endorphins. Endorphins keep you youthful.
We don’t stop playing when we get old. We get old when we stop playing.

Now if you don’t mind, I’m gonna head out and go find something wonderful to write about.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2ZVGl2_0Z8aOb9M00Photo by Taylor Smith on Unsplash

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Welcome home. You are HOME if you like irreverent, smart, funny, in-your-face writing. You are HOME if you like stories about interesting people of all ages, cultures, stripes, backgrounds, beliefs doing amazing things because they made different decisions. You are HOME if you wanna learn about aging vibrantly, being in the outdoors, getting and staying fit no matter our number. You are HOME if, on occasion, you like to laugh so hard you spew your drink of choice on your lap cat/dog/gerbil/centipede/soon-to-be ex. I work hard, ride fast horses, do lots of sports, fly high and still leap out of airplanes. Yeah, really, and I am 68. And yes I love, respect and appreciate feedback, including stuff that's hard. Because hard is the recipe for resilient. Wanna play? Let's. Please. Pull up a chair. There's room by the fire. In summer, there's room on the patio. (Okay so I don't have a patio. I made that up.)Get comfy. Bring a towel for your lap. Welcome home.

Eugene, OR
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