Thursday, March 13, 2008

LORI On Aging

In spite of illness, in spite even of the archenemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways.
****Edith Wharton

HANK: So Edith had it right--about so many things. Still, you've got to admit, the aging thing has its downside. But if anyone can make the downside have an upside, it's the always hilarious Lori Avocato. You know her from her series of mystery novels, and from mystery and romance conventions--she's the one in the middle of group where everyone is laughing.
And she's now the Chief Commanding Officer of the Mystery Chix and Private Dix, a fab and funny group of mystery/romantic suspense authors making its debut at the upcoming Romantic Times Convention. (Some of us Chix and Dix are going to wear costumes. Not me. I'm going to dress up like someone who knows what they're doing at such a convention. That'll fool 'em.)

Anyway, besides her very funny mysteries about nurse Pauline Sokol (the newest is Dead On Arrival), Lori's branching out into other writing. Essays on whatever strikes her fancy! And we convinced her to try one out on anything-can-happen-Friday on JungleRed.

Ah, aging gracefully.

Who the heck came up with that one? I mean, as far as clich├ęs go, this one has to be right up there with good things come in small packages--leaving out: cars, houses, boats, planes etcetera.

Here’s how graceful aging can be. Your eyesight starts to blur so you can’t even read the newspaper without glasses you rarely can find, and soon the food on your plate blends into a fog of color. Thank goodness the sense of smell doesn’t go as quickly or we might starve.

“What?” becomes a frequent flyer off of your tongue. Of course if you have teenagers, who tend to mumble, your hearing may not be as bad as you think or at least as bad as they claim it is. But before you go spending a gazillion dollars on a hearing aid, have your ears checked. My doctor told me to tell my kids to speak up, and I’d save a gazillion dollars.

Skin is the body’s first defense against infection. When it gets cut, the chance of getting germs inside your body highly increases. So why with the “aging” process does the skin insist on increasing? Are we more prone to infection mid-life that the skin over our eyes droops down to nearly impede our vision? Does the skin below our jaw line really need to stretch out and fold itself over and over and over? And, really, does the skin of our upper arms have get my point.

Aging gracefully? Puleeze.

Those creaking sounds you hear in this graceful process are your joints. Joints that have “matured” so that bone clicks against bone, causing you to “ooh,” “ah,” “aye,” and all together writhe in pain as you merely stand up from your seat, making it difficult to appear poised.

One would think that we’d want to spend less time sleeping as we hit the middle age mark of our years. I mean, if this is halfway shouldn’t we be going gangbusters the next half so as not to waste any time?

Let me put it this way: I call my daily naps “power siestas.” Somehow this legitimizes them and certainly lets others think that I am aging gracefully. After all, a power siesta implies, well, that I am powerful and following a tradition practiced by many countries for years. Surely it has to be good for us along with a proper diet.

Ah, diet and exercise. They really should go hand in hand. I’m not saying part of aging is dieting. Far from it. I think if you hit your eighties, you should imbibe in whatever strikes your fancy. In your seventies you should imbibe in half of whatever strikes your fancy and so on. Who cares if you enjoy a daily Martini, a cupcake or two, or a handful of salty potato chips? Age smage.

When I say diet I do not mean eating only grapefruits, all carbs, no carbs, carbs disguised as food (don’t get me started on “Tofurky”) or any other “diet.” I mean our daily intake of food--balanced from all the food groups (which I understand has recently been overhauled. However, I refuse to do any research on the new group structure unless chocolate has been added as the tip of the pyramid.) Against our wishes, we are what we eat seems to be proven on a daily basis.

To age gracefully, we really do need to keep moving. Our joints will attest to the fact that the longer we remain immobile our bodies will assume this should be our position for all eternity and give get my point.
So, motion seems to be a very good idea. Daily walking, swimming, playing tennis, or doing mild aerobics is all part of the process. However when we hit middle age, the word exercise receives an honorary degree into the four-letter words hall of fame. A necessary evil. Oh we can try doing it in tandem with a friend, a group, or to jazzy music, but the thought of that power siesta always teases our bodies as we age gracefully.

I chuckle when a relative or friend now says they just can’t seem to wake up as early in the morning or they now take their own version of my power siesta every afternoon.

The irony of life and this thing called “aging gracefully” slaps us in our faces once again.

Age gracefully, one and all, and do not under any circumstances remain stationary for more then thirty-three minutes at a time.
If this is a slice of life...I’m way too old to lift my fork.


  1. Welcome to Jungle Red Lori! for those of you who don't know her, she's not only hysterical and high-energy, she looks maaahvelous for a woman of certain age.


  2. As my 68-year-old-friend tells me, "Getting old is not for wimps!" I look on my kitchen counter and alongside my Magic Bullet (not what you might be thinking... ) are bottles of vitamins and supplements, a couple canisters of powder power drinks, hair and nail tonic, and a box of Thin Mints!

    Downstairs at the ready is my trusty treadmill, weight machine, the Bean for abs and Bosu for balance training. And what am I going to do right this minute?
    Go take a nap!

  3. Hey Marie,
    I'm with you. Napping is the fountain of youth!

    And welcome to JungleRed Lori!

  4. Ah, Roberta, thanks. I'm lobbying congress to do away with age for women past thirty. I just did a blog on it over at my blog (Promo op!)

    Marie, LOL So true! I take my power siesta every afternoon--for medicinal reasons!

    Hey, Jan, thanks so much. This is a cool blog!

  5. Lori and Jan, if I took a nap, I wouldn't get up til the next day. And I'd have puffy eyes.

    I'm more of the "latte is the fountain of youth" school.

    They're saying vitamins--may not be the way to go. Did you read that? On the other hand, so many of my pals swear by them.

    But then my doctor just told me to take a lot of vitamin D. She said since I wear sunscreen and don't get the benefit of the Vitamin D from the sun, I'm supposed to take supplements.

    How are we supposed to know what's best?

  6. Green tea with a touch of steamed skim milk and a little paint daub of lavender honey.

    Yum --and lots of nice benefits, too. I drink about five cups a day!

    (Great post, Lori!)

    -=Susannah, now unable to drink lattes in any form, no matter how great her desire.

  7. Well, I'm not a caffeine sort of gal. With that said, I've started to force myself to have half a cup of Joe each day. But I put in five Splenda packets and twenty of those little half and half guys--thus, I don't drink it much!


  8. At least most of us women get to keep our hair, and we don't face that embarassing moment for men when hot young women insist on holding doors for them. (I get smiles from hot young men now, because I remind them of their mothers.)

    As long as you don't lose your sense of humor, Lori, you'll be fine!


  9. Susannah--who steams the milk? DO you have a little machine? That sounds so--delicate and lovely.

    Hallie taught me to put the milk in the microwave for a few seconds before putting it in coffee..yum.

    Lori, are you kidding about the 5 splendas? You are, right?

    I'm so in love with coffee. Sometimes in the morning I'll think--I'll just hit the snooze one more time. And then I think: If I get up, I can have coffee. And that does it! Probably a bad sign.

  10. Man. I used to have such a wanton relationship with coffee. I didn't drink it until I became a flight instructor in my late 20s, and sometimes when I had a 5 AM duty-in, I was first to the coffeemaker and would stand there trembling like one of Pavlov's dogs until the coffee made.

    O how I loved it. And O how I regret last year's sad circumstance that took it from me forever!

    ::wipes a tiny tear::

    Ahem. Anyway. Steamed milk in green tea. I make the tea, and while it's steeping I put the milk in a little ceramic beaker, zap it in the microwave for about 15 seconds, and then I whir the milk with a little handheld frother. This one!

    Then I pour the milk in the tea, tab in a little lavender honey (drizzle it over the milk foam), and transfer all to a thermos, so I can sip through the day. Sounds complicated, but isn't any harder than making a good cup of coffee, really.

    All kinds of good reasons to drink green tea! Tazo's "Zen" is a lovely version.

  11. Lori, I loved your post. Amen to requiring chocolate on any "diet" since it has been scientifically established as a health food (dark, in moderation, but who cares). Thank you, Dr. Oz!

    I am of the 20 cup a tea habit (black, decaf unless my butt is dragging. Wait, my butt is always dragging these days...) and swear by it for health. I rarely get sick and attribute it to all that tea (and chocolate) and I'm quite certain my kidneys are clean.

    Ladies, watch this hilarious clip if you want to appreciate aging:

    Felicia Donovan