AGING AND INTELLIGENCE

Aging and Intelligence. Is aging just a number and a concept?  

I keep telling myself I am perfectly ageless. I don’t feel like I am aging. My brain doesn’t feel like it is getting older and when I look at others my age I don’t see my self looking as old as them. Is the mirror image truthful or am I seeing what I want to see?  How does this happen?

I recall recently being asked how old I was. Deep within my body, I felt a tiny jolt. My mind quickly played mini vignettes of what it means to be older. I saw aging as a change of body shape, less visibility in society and aloneness. I saw myself as an observer. An observer of others and observer of activities all around. I saw all this in a flash and felt a sense of shock and surprise. How did I reach this age and not really notice I was getting physically older? Is this what happens? You skip along, enjoying everyone and everything around, soaking up the goodness of life and then bam! someone or something shakes you into the now moment.  Is this the norm? Do other agers feel every bump and knock, and a continuous growing weight of fatigue? Are they aware of the slow, ongoing decline and feel the dread about the passing of time? Do they focus on what was and what will probably never be again?

The only time I actually acknowledge time and my age is when I note the changes in my body. Where did that little skin tag come from? When did those toned arms get traded in for semi toned arms? My legs look less muscular and have the shy company of cellulite. (There I said it!) What are the options when my lower hairs do not match my colored head hairs? Do I remove those nasty buggers or ensure all intimacy remains in the dark?

My facial skin is smooth, soft and maybe a bit saggy. But the gradual change goes unnoticed till I see a glimpse of myself in a store window. I catch myself gently rubbing my finger tips over my chin, feeling for little pokers. I feel them but when I look for them in the magnifying mirror they retract in a game of hide and seek.

Why does everyone seem older than me? Others seem little softer, a little more gray, a little more tired and a lot more intolerant of others’ behaviors. Covering the ugly, festering sore known as “getting old”, I see stubborn and crusty behavior.

My grandmothers seemed so old when I was young. Were they old?  My mother seemed old when I was younger. Today it is not so easy to grow old. The pressures of advertising shows aging is less than attractive. The numerous miracle lotions and potions to keep youthful looking and to prevent the crustiness, supports the belief aging has no place in our society.

The other side of the aging story is how 60 is the new 45  (my fantasy). The focus not so much on maintaining youth but rather maintaining a youthful attitude and presence. Staying open to the continuous changes in the world. Accepting what is, even if not fully understanding what it is. Can you see your mothers and grandmothers having open discussions about the sexual continuum? There was a time, and not that far in the past (or so it seems) when homosexuality was a big taboo. Now there is bi sexuality, transsexuality, transgender and gender re assignment. These are exciting times. Individuals are safer than ever to express themselves for who they are. I recall when as a young teen, wanting pierced ears and my father having a fit about holes in my ears! Of course being the rebel I thought I was, I flipped him the imaginary bird. Look around you. There are holes in ears, noses, eyebrows and lips and these are only the visible piercings.  Clothes were pretty basic, as were hair styles. Now it doesn’t matter what you wear,  how you wear it or who wears it. Can you imagine Men in Skirts cleaning your windows in your mother’s time. Better yet, can you imagine your mother even hiring someone to clean your windows! It’s wonderful the world is shifting forward with the real issues of today; Kindness, caring, love and respect, without judgment of one another’s way of being and recognizing our similarities rather than perceived differences.

Aging is an honor. An honor given to those who see the future as an opportunity to keep learning, to demonstrate unconditional caring and to show leadership towards a peaceful planet where we are ONE.

As my body changes, so does my mind. Aging is not only a physical transformation, but more importantly, aging is an intellectual transformation.

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