Friday, November 6, 2015

Fall Fun Guest Post by Sharon Greenthal of Empty House Full Mind

     I love, love, LOVE today's guest blogger, Sharon Greenthal of Empty House Full Mind! We're both writers who embrace the midlife years and look for humor in everyday situations. I can relate to pretty much everything Sharon writes----she puts into words so perfectly the very things I feel in my heart. She is one of the kindest, most generous writers I've ever met, and I am honored to call her my friend.

     Please welcome Sharon to Meno Mama's site today with lots of comment love. Thanks!

               AGING AS YOUTHFULLY AS WE CAN


One of the biggest problems with getting older is that everyone else is getting older too.

Day to day, the aging process is slow and steady — it comes in daily increments, little by little, so that we barely notice the changes until, of course, we do.
“Where did that wrinkle come from?” we wonder.
“When did that spot appear?” we think as we look at our hands, our faces, our necks.
“Who is that?” we think, looking at a picture of ourselves, taken when we weren’t aware, weren’t posed, eyes wide open, sitting up straight.

It can be startling to look at the faces of those closest to us, those we’ve known the longest, and realize that, yes — they’ve gotten older, too.

I see my grandfather alive in my uncle’s face, my grandmother looking at me through my aunt’s eyes. I see my late father vividly in nearly everything about my brother, and in my husband I see, more and more, the unmistakable quirky characteristics of his late father. There is no escaping the power of genetics, or the slow but steady changes aging brings to all of us.
Facebook has, for the most part, eliminated the sweet softening of memory and how it kept the long-lost friends of our youth from getting older, helping us to retain the image of ourselves as young, too. Now all of my friends are older, of course, and I am reminded of that whenever I log on to Facebook and see their lovely midlife faces passing by on my newsfeed. There are no young loves left to keep safe in a corner of your heart — they’ve gotten older too. It’s odd seeing someone you remember from high school for the first time on Facebook — the years-long distortion of their features, the balding head, the change in hair color , the sometimes unrecognizable plastic-surgeried face, with just a hint of who they used to be. It was because of this that Facebook was mesmerizing when I first began connecting with old friends. Perhaps most disconcerting was — and still is — seeing the children of old friends, often a rearranged version of their parents, a reminder of how young they (and I!) once were.
I think time travel is the most fascinating idea. What would happen if we could go back and watch our families form, grow and evolve? Imagine the experience of knowing your parents when they were just starting out together. What would it be like if I could have lunch with my late grandmother when she was a young mother of 30 years old? Who was she then? How different was she than at the age of 60? Or 90? As far as I can tell, she never changed much at all. Does anyone become dramatically different over the years, or does the essence of who we are stay constant? I think so. For the most part, when I’ve reconnected with old friends after many years, there is still a part of them that I recognize and remember, something uniquely them that never changes. It is that part that makes me feel young when I reconnect to them — the younger me seeking out the younger version of them. It can be exhiliarating.
Seeing the aging faces of my family can make me feel as though time is going too fast — more so for those who I don’t see often enough. I long to get back the days and years when we were separated for long stretches and have a few more times together during those child-raising years. As our lives grew more busy and complicated, as we moved to different corners of the country, it was difficult to see each other in person. Now, at midlife, we are more determined to stay connected and see each other as often as possible. It was easy when we were young to say “we’ll do it next year.” It’s not so easy, nor is it a good idea to think that way now. Those little kids that kept us on the run not so long ago are grown-up people now. Those young parents running around — well, we’re not so young anymore. Except… when we’re together, it’s as if no time has passed at all. We are still young, together.
We all get older. We all age. And we all are reminded each day, when we look at the faces of those we love, that we are doing this aging thing alongside each other, holding each other up, keeping the youngest part of ourselves alive by remembering and by enjoying this moment — aging together while keeping each other young.



20 comments:

  1. It's crazy how fast the years go by and how quickly the aging process happens... when I was in my 20's I used to wonder why my dad wouldn't grow up and act his age... now that I'm in my 50's I totally understand that we just need to live and not act a certain age... I like the idea of going back to see our parents in the past... I think it would be so interesting xox ♡

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  2. So many great thoughts here. I've never thought about it, but seeing people on Facebook does keep us from remembering people "as they were"...it even steals a bit of thunder from the annual Christmas photo since I've seen pictures all year long:)

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  3. Wow great article sharing and quoting you on my LifeAt50ish facebook page! Thanks for sharing the inspiration.

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  4. Lately, I get to see the face of my long missed mother every time I look in the mirror. I don't mind the older face looking back.

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  5. Beautiful essay. Will be reading it aloud tonight during dinner w/ my friend from nursery school who lives in another state. When I look at her, I still see the child, and I always will.

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    1. That's amazing - nursery school! Enjoy your dinner and thanks for sharing my post.

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  6. Beautiful piece. Have shared it on my Mutton Club Facebook Page. https://www.facebook.com/themuttonclub/

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    1. Thank you Rachel. I'm so glad you like it.

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  7. My Mom looks at me out of the mirror. A little shocking. I always want to do a quick check to see what I'm up to . . .
    I keep the past alive through stories. One can never get enough of the old days . . .

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  8. Aging is both a little scary and yet very freeing at the same time. As I see my parents age, it scares me that the time I have with them is getting shorter shorter. However, as I have aged, I've reached a better place of understanding with myself. It's been a sense of freedom that I'm enjoying.

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  9. I've lost too many to beleive I should wait for next year, to do things. I see my father in my brothers faces and my mom in my own. It's actually startling, and heart warming at the same time.

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  10. Beautiful post Sharon. We can all relate all too well!

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  11. What an affirming piece! I also fantasize about time travel and in fact, had a whole discussion about it recently with my very smart nephew. It turns out that we probably CAN time travel right now--experiments with planes and atomic clocks indicate it. Will be following that closely!

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  12. As someone once said, "Aging means you are still 6 feet above ground!" That's the upside. The signs of aging are inevitable and I am thrilled to help people deter those as long as possible - externally and internally. As often happens, I got an email yesterday of a client telling me that it is now a regular occurrence that someone tells her how she is looking younger every month. It IS possible and when you see it on the outside, you know it is happening on the inside. What a thrill to know you can nurture your cells to live longer.

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  13. Time warps in aging. If I think it was a year ago it was most likely 3!

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  14. This is lovely, Sharon. You're so right and it is very thought provoking topic. Seeing our families age means we're aging too. Running into an old childhood friend on the street and seeing the signs of our age is strange yet familiar. Thanks for this wonderful share, Marcia. BTW, the photo of the hands really says it all. Very poignant.

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  15. My mother died recently, and her photo is on last week's blog post. I keep looking at that 20 something version of mother and wondering what she was like? I would give anything to have known that woman. On another note, I'm having dinner tomorrow night with a group of friends from high school, many I haven't seen since then. I hope we recognize each other.

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  16. Oh the most inevitable. Aging! But growing up is optional. :)

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  17. Time waits for no man. It's sad we have to age, and lose those around us to old age that we hold dear. It's so true that when I was 20 time was plentiful and seemed to go forever, and now it's flying by and seems way too short.

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