Aging and What We Do as We Age

by Irwin Lengel

As I lie in bed this evening waiting for my wife to put drops in my eyes for Glaucoma, my eyes glance around the room taking in the various things we tend to keep near us and one begins to wonder why we keep what we keep.

First thing that caught my eye is a book by Barbara De Angeles, Ph.D. Entitled “Real Moments "– a book I have read several times and keep it by my bedside because I enjoy her writing. Thinking about the book causes me to also wonder why, in our seventies, we (my wife and I) keep up with so many different items instead of focusing on just one or two passions. Some people crochet, others golf, some read several hours a day, others play cards once or twice a week, etc.

I will be the first one to admit (although I am sure my wife would disagree) that I have varied so-called passions, one of which is writing. Others include line dancing, reading (when I take the time), being on the computer via Social Media or websites such as this one or my blog “Lakeland Musings” on Word Press.

But apparently none of them are what one might say I am truly “passionate” about. I say this because many times I find myself doing other things versus just sitting down and reading or actually taking the time to write as I am doing with this post. In my humble opinion, making time on a regular basis to do that which one loves to do is a “passion”, not doing it every now and then because one has to get something written or read.

Fact of the matter is that lately I sort of wish I only had one passion that kept my interest. I say this because there are times that I feel as though I have spread myself so thin, doing this and doing that and in essence, I haven't given any of the interests I do like a fair chance of becoming a true passion – one that I cannot wait to sit down and get into, if you will.

Case in point, in addition to the book by Ms. De Angeles, next to my bed are several other books, books by Jonathan Kellerman (mysteries), a book by Robert Parker (anyone remember the Spenser series), a book written by Alan Alda (Never Have Your Dog Stuffed), the autobiography of Eli Wallach (The Good, the Bad, and Me), and I even have a book entitled “Life – How did it get here – Evolution or Creation”. Some of them I started but never finished, others I have yet to read the first page.

While I say I love to read and I really do, fact of the matter is that lately I do not seem to take the time to read. Another interesting thing kept in our bedroom is a set of barbells. At times I think they are there to remind me that I need to get into shape but – at the moment, they, like the books, are merely taking up space.

As we age, least-ways I find myself asking the question: “Where has the time gone and by the way, did my interests in such things as writing and reading go with it?

But then I also say to myself that perhaps it is for the best that we are still so active that we never seem to have time to do such things as sit and read or write for any great length of time. Why? Because there are days that we leave our house at 8:15 AM and do not return until 3 or so in the afternoon. We actually call those good days because while we do not go to a gym to stay in shape, between our line dancing and these daily outings for lack of a better way to describe them, we do meet our daily goal of walking 6000 steps a day.

I know from experience that many of our Sundays we don't even hit 2000 steps. Because we are in the house either watching TV or on our computers or some other sedentary function (I know reading and writing would fall into this category – but for one reason or another, my time spent on Sunday is doing things other than reading and writing).

I guess that as we age, being more than three-quarters of a century old, I should be thankful that we are still able to do the things we do. Perhaps as we get older, and have to slow down, we will then have the time to read, write, and play with our computers.

But then there is the age old question – will our minds still allow us to do those things? One never knows from one day to the next what is in store for us.

What about you? How are you spending your days?

Comments for Aging and What We Do as We Age

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You're not alone!
by: Sheila White

Irwin, my life echoes yours except that I'm 92 and can't get around much anymore. (Remember that old song title?)

One thing that bothers me is that time goes too fast! I stop while making my bed to rest my sore back and I start to think. Fatal! Something comes to mind that I should do while I remember, but I get sidetracked and forget where I was heading next, so it doesn't get done.

I know that reading soothes my mind (takes it off a man named Trump) but I can't find the time. I have help with the large tasks around my apartment, but everything else takes longer than it used to. Again I rest and I go to check e-mail but linger on Facebook, my horoscope and bank balance.

I want to throw my laptop out of the window, but how would I manage without it?

Enough already! Now, where's that book?

by: Dean, Tennessee


The thoughts you expressed sum a nagging narrative that is often going on in the back of my mind. Passions I once had are still enjoyable but the drive to partake in them is no longer there.

That's not to say that I am not enjoying my life. I still awake each morning grateful for my my life, my good health, my loving wife of 46 years and a retirement where I can still enjoy the lifestyle I enjoyed during my working years.

Priorities I now have are to care for an adult child who is disabled, take my medications and be as good a husband as I can. Another priority is to spend time with my two daughters and grandchildren.

As I see my contemporaries go to meet their Maker I am reminded of my mortality. With this in mind I don't like to waste time but I realize it's okay to spend my free time in any way that pleases me most and it's often not partaking in one of my "passions".

The undeniable truth is aging has changed the way I look at life. I'm still the same person but different and that is okay.

Spending Time
by: Ricardo

Irwin, as usual your posting was informative and well thought out concerning time and how we spend it in our later years, or for that matter during any time in our lives.

I guess that I view time as a bank account, it is precious and eludes us, especially as we age and question the time we squandered in our bank accounts, We question whether wasted to much time on this or that. Unfortunately, unlike a bank account, we cannot add to our "account of time", what's left is left....not knowing when our last withdrawal will be.....OFTEN times we wish that we could have added to that account....sometimes just a minute, a day, an hour, a week, month or year, YET, we cannot.

Did we save for a rainy day or not?

Once our time is gone it is gone forever and never to return. So I say, cherish those remaining "savings" in your account, for no one knows when their account will be closed.

At that point in time we will be asked, "did you spend the time in your account wisely being kind, helping others, or did you not?" At that point it will be to late to "add to the account of time."

I understand
by: James

I understand where you are. As for myself; I read, drive, use the computer, study Japanese, listen to music, but am often thinking about the future or living in the past. In other words I now have too much time to think.

Helping the mind
by: Anonymous

Use turmeric herb, at least 3 times a week.

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