Still The Same

Some friends and I were talking about getting older today. Sometimes we feel the age creeping up on us. Little bits here, little bits there. Knees creaking and protesting as we climb stairs. Not able to run around as much as we used to. Feeling the cold more. Feeling the heat more.

And then there are the funny ones – facial hair that seems to have a mind of its own, sagging in unexpected places (including butts), that line on the corner of your mouth that you think has been caused by the way you have been sleeping but is still there six hours later. Walking into a room and forgetting what you are there for. Farting when you bend over.

Despite all these physical changes we all agreed we still feel the same. Inside. The essence of who we are is still there. Will always be there.

And each of us have realised that with every year that passes we have gone a little deeper into understanding our true selves.

And all of us, more than we ever did, long for a bit of serenity.

There is an 8th century Chinese poet named Wang Wei whose every word fills me with peace.

This is one of his best –

The breeze in the pine trees makes my belt flutter.

In the mountain, I play the zither under the moon.

You ask me what is the last word of philosophy?

It is the song of a fisherman returning to shore….

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29 thoughts on “Still The Same

  1. Yes, the same is happening to me.

    I always say that I am the same person but that there is more of me really than there was before. I don’t mean that just in a physical sense (although sadly that is true too!)but just that I think my personality is much broader than it was when I was young, simply because I understand more about myself (and about others too perhaps) and am more accepting of my weaknesses.

    I remember as a small child being surprised if a granny-like figure seemed unpleasant. I think I thought Old People were a separate group of people, not just people like the rest of us. My experience of Old People was confined to my grandparents who were always kind to me so I assumed all Old People were like that. I don’t think I realised that Old People thought anything except kindly thoughts about small children and how to bake apple pies.

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  2. Selma thanks for this post. It inspired me and I went to my blog thinking I was going to write about silence- I’m enjoying a day of it in the middle of school holidays. I wrote something all together different, but I so understand what you are saying about aging and how valuable serenity becomes. All the drama and frantic activity seems so unneeded. I love growing old myself and feel bad when I hear people who suffer with it.

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  3. Bill Bryson once said you know you’re getting old when you bend down to tie your shoelace, and you wonder what else you can do while you’re down there.

    Was the Fred Wedlock record ‘The Oldest Swinger in Town’ ever released in Australia? The words were hilarious, but all I can remember is ‘When it takes you all night to do what you used to do all night/You’re the oldest swinger in town’

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  4. I actually feel healthier and stronger on many days now, in comparison to my younger days. I attribute it to living (or trying at least) a healthier more thoughtful lifestyle, not drinking and “cavorting” (and all that word can entail) till all hours… Yes, I remember it well!!!

    Great post Selma. And remember: You are only as old as the person you are feeling. LOL

    Big hug, G ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. Those ancient Chinese writers do it for me every time. My favorite is Lao Tzu, of the Tao Te Ching fame. I figure as long as I’m capable of doing what I’ve always done and I’m not sick or in pain I won’t mind the aging thing. After all, the increase in self-knowledge and experience are a pretty good consolation prizes.

    Here’s a trick: If you’re feeling old at our age (40’s) try hanging out with people who are old enough to think you’re young. People who can tell you what it was like to live through World War II as an adult. That’ll cure you of any feelings of self-pity.

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  6. In a lot of ways I feel younger than i did when I was in my twenties and i haven’t starting sagging yet, but yes i know what you mean. I don’t have a complex about ageing, and yes like you I enjoy the insights that ageing brings

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  7. >>try hanging out with people who are old enough to think youโ€™re young.<<

    I try to be in the coffee shop every Wednesday lunchtime, to hook up with Tadeusz … a former WWII pilot, who’s one of the few people who still adresses me as ‘My young friend …’

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  8. RELUCTANT – I think that’s a really valid point. As kids we did tend to associate older people with our own definitions of them – grandmotherly figures of comfort and so on. I remember the jolt I got when I was about ten and I caught my grandmother crying over the loss of an old friend. I realised she was a real person, with real thoughts and feelings like me, not just someone who wrapped me up warm in the winter and made me crumpets for tea.

    My personality is definitely broader too. One thing I like about getting older is that I have become less afraid to stand up for myself. And I finally know how important it is to be true to yourself!

    DAVID – classic line from a classic Aussie movie!!!!

    LAURI – I am so glad to be older too. Even if I was offered the chance to go back to my twenties, I don’t think I’d take it. Even if things haven’t turned out exactly as I’d planned, there is still a sense of relief in getting to this point. I think that in many ways, getting older is a joy.

    KAREN – sometimes I forget I’m not 21 any more too. But it is nice to still feel young inside. And as all the fashion mags say – 40 is the new 30!!!

    TRAVELRAT – I haven’t heard that song but it sounds hilarious. I’ll see if I can find it on YouTube.

    ANTHONY – hahaha. Classic!

    GERALDINE – that is definitely true. LOL.
    I often feel better than I did when I was younger too. All that partying wore me out. I don ‘t drink anymore and tend to have a healthier lifestyle. It does seem to pay off in the end!

    NECTARFIZZ – I try not to bend over in public or at work. ๐Ÿ˜†

    RICHARD – I am a big fan of the ancient Chinese writers. Such wisdom in their work. It’s true what you say about self-knowledge. That really is one of the benefits of getting older. My neighbour who is in her late seventies says to me all the time : ‘When I was young like you.’ Speaking to her really puts things into perspective. I think if we went back to revering and respecting our elders as we used to there would be less focus on holding onto our youth at all costs (like with the trend towards plastic surgery at younger and younger ages). Growing old gracefully is a good thing!

    MELEAH – no one told me about that. If I ever lost my tweezers I wouldn’t be able to go out in public. LOL.

    CRAFTY GREEN – it is so good to feel happy with the process, isn’t it? Why fight it? None of us can turn back time. Enjoy it, I say. As my Dad says:’It’s better than the alternative.’

    TRAVELRAT – hahaha. That is actually a lovely story. Wow. Imagine the things he must have seen as a pilot during WWII.

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  9. Hi Selma,
    Its all in the eyes and its called wisdom.
    I have met young people who are old and old people who are young. Its all about perspective and attitude.

    I am not in the ‘vintage’ class yet, I prefer to consider myself in the ‘classic class’ (I’m 55) and you know what? I don’t care and I am actually happy about it!

    Long live learned life experience.

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  10. Honestly? I felt a great big surge of relief when I turned 40. I guess I never really thought I’d make it for some reason. Now, at 44, I totally embrace the aging thing. Well, except for those strange little pouches that are forming on each side of my jaw line…and that big one forming around my abdomen. But other than that, I’m golden as far as going into my golden years.

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  11. Hi Selma,
    Epiphany’s right. Being golden is the ‘alchemical gold’ I was referring to on a different post. Its not about physical beauty, its about inner beauty (self awareness and respect and spiritual growth). I think that cosmetic surgery can be a dangerous practice (not referring to deformity corrections of course) if employed unwisely. It sometimes seems to me that the ‘stars’ are hiding themselves from their ‘real’ selves behind a facade of physical ‘youthfulness’. It rings of self delusion.

    As for Epiphany’s little pouches, HA!, the only way I can get rid of the bags under my eyes is to do handstands! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  12. I hope I will live long enough to experience what it is to fart while bending over. I still can’t stop laughing at that one. It made my day – I’ll be getting news tomorrow – I’ll keep you posted. My friend keeps telling me a spring chicken and to wait when my body is going to start creaking on me. And then i tell her that she likes having a young friend because when we are together people always tell her how young she is, well to start of with she doesn’t look her age either. It is funny when I was younger and would think that being in your late 40’s (like her) was someone who was ancient! And now I have an older friend who is far from being ancient! Funny how we see things different as we get older!

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  13. PS: Bravo Chris, your attitude is right on!!! Just had to add that. Great to read positive stuff about being middle-aged and beyond. There’s too much of the opposite out there and I think it colors younger people’s attitudes especially in a very negative way. G

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  14. Im in a darkened hospital computer room, lookin out on blanket of clouds when its supposed to be spring here in Melbourne ;)…

    and yet with your words

    I sense the constancy which
    runs deeper than
    the clouds

    The song of the fisherman
    that will not
    be silenced.

    Thank you for bringing this warm light into this bordered room,

    With love from Melbourne,

    Maithri

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  15. CHRIS – it does all come down to how you hold onto your joie de vivre, I think. I have also met some people who appeared older or younger than they actually were. A sense of humour is important to keep the clouds at bay too. And keeping in touch with young people. The list just goes on and on….

    EPIPHANY – it was a relief for me too. Some of my friends cried when they turned 40, but I was like ‘YES. At long last!’ Not sure how I’ll feel about 50 though. Having said that I have a plan to be really elegant in my 50s. A bit like Catherine Deneuve. I want to be 50 and FABULOUS!!!! I’ve got 7 years to get my act together.

    CHRIS – I would never have plastic surgery but especially not in an Australian hospital. Far too much MRSA for my liking. I would end up with the weeping wound under one eye that never healed. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    TBALL – you have made me laugh with that one. I sincerely hope you do too. XXX

    GERALDINE – it’s important to stay positive where possible. And you’re right, our attitude does affect the outlook of the younger generation.

    CHRIS – ๐Ÿ˜€

    MAITHRI – how nice of you to stop by. If I remember correctly you left that profound comment on Jonas’ blog the other day about too many words turning into swords. I had no idea you were living in Melbourne. Yay for another Aussie!

    You know, it’s been an odd spring in Sydney too. Quite cold. The other day I had a cardigan on which as you know, is unheard of for this time of year. Thank you for your lovely, lovely comment. Nice to meet you!

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  16. Hi Selma,
    There is something I have been wodering for sometime now,
    how come your smiles are bigger than mine? ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ๐Ÿ™‚

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  17. And if I may Selma….

    To Chris:

    Thank you so much Chris, you have made my day. And I agree, what a wonderful group of people that has converged at SITC, perhaps coincidence, perhaps much more. What do you all think?

    I would love to meet so many of you in person. I don’t meet too many people these days in ‘my real world’ that I seem to connect with on more than a very superficial basis. No common ground…nada. It’s depressing at times. But a trip to the blogs on those days always restores my faith in the goodness that is out there, the creativity, the originality and the inspiration.

    Thanks for being a part of all that ‘good stuff’ Chris, you really, really are. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you start posting again,on a regular basis, real soon, ok!!!

    Big hugs, G

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  18. Hi Selma,
    NOW look what you’ve done! I’ve just received my first ever Big hug from Geraldine on the internet!
    You’ve effectively destroyed my individualistic, solo, go it alone throne. So much for my charismatic machismo!
    So, you asked for it! Big Hugs to both you AND Geraldine!!

    Geraldine,
    I don’t think that it is coincidence. I think that you’ve nailed it on the head with your, “No common ground…nada.”, comment. Selma’s ‘friends’ are all smart enough to know when we’re not ‘connecting’, so I think that what we have done is either consciously or sub-consciously gone searching for gregarious common ground. And guess what? We’ve FOUND it! Yahoo!! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    PS, I’ve had 2 comments on “Let Me Hear Your Body Talk” and 1 on “Hope Exceeding” for a few days now, so I don’t know whether WordPress has e-mailed you or not?

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  19. CHRIS – I have no idea about the smilies….

    TRAVELRAT – that clip is hilarious. Love the silver bomber jacket. One of the comments left on YouTube was hilarious. Someone said :’I was 24 when this came out and I laughed my socks off at the poor old guys. Now I’m 51 and it’s HAPPENING!’ Sad but true. LOL.

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  20. I’ve been way behind with my reading here – just a very busy time right now in non-virtual life, but I wish I had gotten here sooner. This is such a great discussion – so much wisdom.

    I am amazed on a daily basis how my body so accurately reflects my frame of mind and my feelings about myself. For sure there are a lot more wrinkles, silver hairs, and, and, and – but I am convinced it is my perceptions underneath that fuel a great deal of my well being or lack thereof.

    Case in point, my partner and I spent two days this summer hauling cinder-block and building a BBQ enclosure, which was big work – even for a younger me, and I was pretty darn pleased that it got done, I didn’t injure anything, and I enjoyed it. And with the job done, we headed out for a burger and a beer. And the waitress carded me. I’m 48 and haven’t been carded in about 15 years. I figured it was just flattery to help improve her tip, but when she took my ID she looked incredulous and pulled up a chair to chat. “…I just can’t believe this, I mean we card everyone, that’s what we do, and I figured you were in your 30s…” She was about my age,and we ended up having a great chat about the glories of doing things like hauling cinder-block for one’s self instead of hiring it out, but the point is I clearly must have looked like I felt. And I see it day to day too, the mirror tells me right away what my inner dialog is.

    I wouldn’t trade the experience and perspective I have gained over the years for anything. And I can relate to what G. said, about feeling better at this age. Me too – I feel so much better than I did 20 years ago. I absolutely believe this is due in large part to living in a much more self-aware and self-owned space, and being open to the flow of life, and not fighting where it takes me.

    Thanks for this post Selma – it is so wonderful to be able to participate in this conversation with everyone. I’m so very glad I met you all – that is such a great group of people!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  21. Farting when u bend over….hahahahaha. But us men do that from when we were kids!!
    But I know what you are talking about. I know 32 isn’t a huge age but I don’t feel that young anymore. Seeing the odd gray hair (in my nostril and no where else) and the receding hairline. Sigh!

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  22. KAYT – totally with you on that one. I do think there is a lot of truth in the saying :’You’re as young as you feel.’ I often see the results of that too when I look in the mirror. A zest for living is so incredibly important, I think!

    ROSHAN – hahaha. 32! You’re just a young ‘un. I found a gray hair in my eyebrow the other day. Freak out. Nobody told me that would happen!

    WESSENOUDGE – very nice banners. Good job!

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