The View from Here—The Sunny Side of Aging

Helen Fleder

As we age, time seems to move too swiftly and relentlessly. Our mirror reflects the way gravity reshapes our face and body, and in time, denies us a once full and luxuriant head of hair. We find ourselves walking a bit more tenuously and less erect, stealing inches from our once proud posture and the perfect balance we could depend on for stability.

However, when it comes to having regrets about aging, there is a silver lining. Although we will never regain our once-youthful appearance or enjoy the boundless energy that empowered our multitasking, we are no longer demanding of our expectations for achieving success, or feel the need to apologize for our shortcomings. We have learned to appreciate our admirable qualities that keep us young at heart. We have greater opportunities to socialize, and treasure times we can spend with friends and family who give purpose to our lives and help us remain ageless and unalterable.

We admit to being part of a generation that are unable to grasp the meaning of the words and cadence of current popular music. We may find the acceptable social mores of the youth, distasteful. We are often confused and intimidated learning how to adjust to an electronic age when texting became the preferred method of communication, and the sound of a familiar voice responding to a phone call was replaced by digital messaging. Then again, we can proudly boast of our creative writing skills, cursive handwriting, proper grammar, and correct spelling, an essential part of our education but seriously lacking today. Our years of experience have also given us practical knowledge and wisdom, as beneficial as anything one can learn from social media!

Although we have to admit that our hearing may need a boost, and our memory may be waning, we are now at an age when we have earned the luxury to spend time as we please. We feel free of major responsibilities, have the opportunity to learn new skills, and can engage in activities that may be challenging, but will enlighten our lives.

There is no way to avoid aging, but we can focus on its advantages. With the passing of time we need to replace regrets with appreciation for our blessings and pride in our accomplishments. We lived and were guided by rules that taught us the meaning of honor and respect, as well as how to write “thank you” notes when we received a gift. Perhaps that is why we are thought of as the “Greatest Generation” and have so many reasons to be grateful!

Helen Fleder has been involved in the arts for more than 70 years as a ballet dancer, professional sculptor, and published author. In 2005, the Sarasota Community Foundation recognized her 60 years of volunteer service—teaching dance therapy and body movement to psychiatric patients, physically handicapped children, and the blind. More recently she has done art/collage with Alzheimer patients, worked with the Sarasota Arts Council, and helped develop art programs for a local high school. She lives in a retirement community in Sarasota, FL.

Discussion1 Comment

  1. Well your mind certainly has passed the test of time.. You are sharp as ever, and your energy and vibrancy and zest for life just continues to not only amaze me, but inspire me. You take action, you make things happen, and what is fantastic is that the actions you put in place end up bringing people together, putting smiles on their faces, and gives many folks joy. For so many folks that surround themselves around you, you are their lightbulb, their guide. It’s just your nature, always has been. You have so much to give others, and every day that is precisely what you do. Keep that inner flame burning bright.

    Helen Melon – an absolute life well lived every day!

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