Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 994306

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Re: aging issues in and out of therapy floatingbridge

Posted by pegasus on August 22, 2011, at 8:46:13

In reply to Re: aging issues in and out of therapy sigismund, posted by floatingbridge on August 19, 2011, at 18:39:36

Interesting stories about older animals. I like looking at it that way. If only our society would recognize the value that experience and wisdom bring.

I know what you mean about being dismissed as you age, as if you had never been young, and the people dismissing you will never be old. Our youth focused society is so shortsighted, aren't we?

It's like dealing with teenagers as an adult. They think that their parents could never understand them, and so have no wisdom worth considering. What they don't realize is that their parents were once teenagers (albeit in a different era), while they have never yet been middle aged. So, the parents *do* tend to have relevant experience, but the teenagers have no way to know that.

Maybe things will improve, in the sense of valuing experience more, as the baby boomers age, because there will be so dang many of them. I'm one year short of being one myself, so I can say *them* ;).

- Peg

 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy emmanuel98

Posted by pegasus on August 22, 2011, at 8:53:46

In reply to Re: aging issues in and out of therapy, posted by emmanuel98 on August 19, 2011, at 19:20:50

Thanks for the advice about the anti-aging creams. I was suspecting that they wouldn't be worth the high price. But everyone else I know in my age group uses one or another. And still looks their age, in my opinion.

You're luck to look youthful. I don't. I look old for my age, I think. Part of it is having had a very active outdoor lifestyle, in a sunny, high altitude place for a long time. Tends to be hard on the skin. Even so, my husband, who is 2 weeks older than me, looks younger. I have more gray hair and more wrinkles. Sigh.

I had a lovely chat with my husband about it last night, though. He said that he'd much rather have had (and keep having) all of those experiences with me than have a youthful looking wife. And that he thinks that my beauty has not diminished one whit. He's a real treasure.

One thing that helps me feel youthful is that lots of things in my life are at a stage where most people experience them younger. I've started a second career recently, and my daughter is young (we had her relatively late). It does help me feel young, although then I look in the mirror and realize how much older I look than my peers in these realms, which can be a bit of a shock.

- p

 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy Phillipa

Posted by pegasus on August 22, 2011, at 8:58:39

In reply to Re: aging issues in and out of therapy emmanuel98, posted by Phillipa on August 19, 2011, at 19:56:12

Yes, I know I'm lucky to have a husband my same age, going through some of the same aging challenges. Such as physical stuff getting harder, and injuries more frequent. And being considered and old fogey by some. He's in a technical field, and he chuckles that anyone who experienced the rise of the internet in the 90s is considered ancient. He does have some gray hair, but - darn his genes - he has very few wrinkles.

But, as you point out, it is helpful that at least we think similarly, in terms of our age. It must be challenging to have a partner so much younger, as you go through this transition.

- p

 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy annierose

Posted by pegasus on August 22, 2011, at 9:01:50

In reply to Re: aging issues in and out of therapy, posted by annierose on August 19, 2011, at 22:22:01

Good point. I think that older women might understand better, but perhaps younger men have less of their own issues about themselves to get in the way of the discussion. I think I will bring it up sometime soon. I really need to.

You know what I really need, though? I need a group of older women to hang out with, and maybe talk about this with. Or maybe just to know, and love. I have so few in my life. It adds to the challenge, when I can't experience what I want people to feel about me.

- p

 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy Daisym

Posted by pegasus on August 22, 2011, at 9:44:21

In reply to Re: aging issues in and out of therapy, posted by Daisym on August 20, 2011, at 13:19:28

I wish I had your therapist. :) He gets it right so often.

I know now that I'll have to bring it up. As you said, talking about it will probably help. And I trust him to be soooo careful about the minefield this is. Maybe if we're just very open about what feels awkward, and what we're avoiding talking about and why, it will be a bit easier.

Sigh. Sometimes just every day life is so hard, even when it's going along normally, isn't it?

It is interesting the professional transition as you age. Yes, there is more pressure, and some of my younger coworkers think they're as good as I am at things that they really need a lot more experience at to be at my level. It's maybe the one area where being older can be helpful, even if that's not always recognized by others. I'm so much better at everything I do at work than I was 10 or 20 years ago. And I know that some people value my experience and do rely upon me as someone with a high level of expertise and competence. I like that a lot.

Dressing is a tricky area. I'm not sure I know how to dress. I think I tend to dress younger than some my age, and I think I'm relatively stylish in terms of current fashion (this may be denial). I'm not sure whether that comes off as a positive youthful attitude, or as a crazy old lady who think she's still 20. I try to choose clothes that are professional and flattering, at least.

I did have a chat with my T once about the difference between dumpy and frumpy. I see myself as dumpy, but not frumpy. He thought they were the same thing. Which doesn't bode well for him understanding all of my issues. But I trust him to really try. ;)

- P

 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy lucielu2

Posted by pegasus on August 22, 2011, at 9:50:37

In reply to Re: aging issues in and out of therapy pegasus, posted by lucielu2 on August 20, 2011, at 17:04:03

Yes, I feel that trade of youth for power in one of my careers, sort of. But I'm not exactly climbing an organizational ladder, by my own choice, so it doesn't help me as much as it sounds like it helps you. I also have another career that is relatively new, so in that realm, I am totally *not* wise and powerful.

I guess the trade off is that I won't be struggling so much to re-identify myself when/if I retire, as you fear. But where is there something lasting to hold on to as you age? I see this as part of the challenge of aging, which I really think can be met well. I just don't know how.

One thing I want to ponder more around this is: what could be a good goal in terms of personal growth as I age? Is it to stay as youthful as possible? Or maybe to find ways to deeply value age (not just silver lining things)? Or maybe to detach myself from the usual judgements of our society around youth and aging and beauty?

- p


 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy

Posted by emmanuel98 on August 22, 2011, at 21:51:58

In reply to Re: aging issues in and out of therapy lucielu2, posted by pegasus on August 22, 2011, at 9:50:37

I feel very lucky about a few things. My husband, who is three years older than me, has many more physical issues than I do. We are both in good shape and exercise, but he has stage 4 arthritis in one knee, a bulging cervical disk for which he needs physical therapy and a rotator cuff problem which never seems to resolve completely. He is also always nursing his lower back with ice and such. So I feel, in comparison, in great shape. No aches or pains. His BP is high, mine is normal. His cholesterol is high and he takes crestor. Mine is normal. He even takes fosamax because his bone density came in low, while my bone density, on the last test I took, was equivalent to a 20 year old.

So he feels himself to be aging and deteriorating (though he fights this, he is an exercise nut) while I do not, though I am 56 and usually women in menopause experience a lot of these problems that he is having.

Also, our sex life is good. I was afraid menopause would dry me out, but it turns out not to be an either/or thing, but a gradual thing and right now, I am still okay.

But one of the things that makes me feel young is having a lot of friends of different ages. My best friends are 50 and 46. I have three friends around 65 who I really love to talk to. Being in AA, I also spend time with younger women. I get together every Monday with a 32 and 34 year old woman for coffee before a meeting. I realize they have their own set of issues and I can help them with some perspective and experience.

Also, I teach college, so I am endlessly mentoring and working with young people. I teach at a public urban college, so my students tend to be in their mid-20s to mid-30s.

Despite my depression, which came on just as I was about to enter menopause and my daughter was about to graduate high school, I haven't felt obsessed about growing old. I feel physically good and have a lot of good things that make me feel, if not young, at least engaged by life.

My hero is my p-doc who is 72 and, mentally, seems so young and vital and engaged, that I can't really imagine him being old.

 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy pegasus

Posted by Tabitha on August 23, 2011, at 3:31:48

In reply to aging issues in and out of therapy, posted by pegasus on August 19, 2011, at 11:38:12

Hi pegasus, aging has been tough for me too. I hate the changes in my skin, hair, face, and the increase in aches and pains and mysterious health complaints. I have the hardest time with the decline in my memory and cognitive skills. I didn't see that one coming.

I'm in compensation mode now. I know the losses of aging will keep coming-- more health problems, more deaths in my parent's generation. So that's inevitable. Thus all I can do is compensate. What can I still do? What can I even do better than in my younger days?

One thing that's helping is to lose weight. I can't control many of the aspects of aging, but I can change that one (with difficulty). That helps my vanity and my feeling of loss of control.

Another thing that helps is I found a mate recently. That makes loss of general attractiveness so much more bearable. I don't really have to appeal to the market any more (not that I've had much general market appeal since my 30's anyway).

On the skin care, if you're using sun screen, you're already using the only effective anti-aging product :-)

Since this is the psychology board I feel I have to offer some kind of self-acceptance advice. This is the closest I have. I've noticed that I started feeling too old to be pretty anymore in my late 20's. Man was I nuts. Looking back at old photos, what I wouldn't give to look like that now! I remember feeling that same way over and over and over as years passsed. Reality is, the way I look now is the best I'll ever look for the rest of my life. I'll be in my 70's (if I survive) looking back at now wishing I looked like I do now. So shouldn't I be able to feel attractive now? Well I really can't But I should be able to. Sometimes this line of thought is a bit comforting.

 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy Tabitha

Posted by pegasus on August 23, 2011, at 10:36:33

In reply to Re: aging issues in and out of therapy pegasus, posted by Tabitha on August 23, 2011, at 3:31:48

I find that even with a solid partner, I worry about my appeal to the opposite sex. Because, what if *he* stops finding me attractive? He obviously values my being attractive, and yet he says he'll always find me so, even as I become an old lady. He is very genuine when he says this, and I know he means it. But I worry that he just doesn't know what it'll be like. Which I know is kind of insulting to him.

You are so right that there is much to appreciate in our bodies at any age, as long as we're alive. And we're so conditioned to look for the parts that we *don't* like. It's heartbreaking, really. I do find that it helps to work at appreciating some of the good things. And really, there are a lot if I look for them. Thanks for the reminder.

- P

 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy emmanuel98

Posted by pegasus on August 23, 2011, at 10:38:01

In reply to Re: aging issues in and out of therapy, posted by emmanuel98 on August 22, 2011, at 21:51:58

See, that's what I need. Younger friends who don't see me as a grandma, and older friends who can be positive role models for aging. I'm going to go look for them. :)

p

 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy pegasus

Posted by lucielu2 on August 25, 2011, at 12:30:22

In reply to Re: aging issues in and out of therapy lucielu2, posted by pegasus on August 22, 2011, at 9:50:37

I had a long talk with my husband on this subject. We concluded that in the absence of the things that normally define us, e.g. children and work, then we must find new definitions. These can be hobbies or avocations because you keep young when you are active and interested in life. I think it is also well worth it to fight the physical effects of aging to the extent that it is under your control just to give yourself a healthier and more active life. And finally, relationships are very defining. We have new opportunities to relate to people in different ways as we age. Maybe less competititon for some, more companionship. All in all, it doesn't sound so bad... sounds like a challenge in a good way. Please understand that I am talking to myself here too!

 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy

Posted by sigismund on August 29, 2011, at 19:10:01

In reply to Re: aging issues in and out of therapy pegasus, posted by lucielu2 on August 25, 2011, at 12:30:22

>Maybe less competititon for some, more companionship.

That has been my experience of it.

People, as they age, become more aware of the care they need to have for each other.

 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy

Posted by Dinah on August 30, 2011, at 20:16:23

In reply to aging issues in and out of therapy, posted by pegasus on August 19, 2011, at 11:38:12

I've felt bad about how I look since my mid thirties, when I gained a lot of weight on Depakote. My face shape (or lack thereof) does not handle extra weight well.

But I do have issues about aging. Issues that my husband, oddly enough, shares. We were wunderkinds. Precocious. And now we aren't. And never will be again. I'm middle aged. I'm one of those "middle aged women" that are so often spoken of with disparagement. I had no idea how often until I was one. Now I hear it everywhere.

I don't feel old. I don't even feel mature.

I've been calling myself 50 since I turned 45, because I figured it would take five years to be able to say that without fainting. At first I'd know it wasn't true, so it wouldn't hurt as bad. Then it would be true, but by then I'd be used to the idea. So... The five years are about up. I'm not sure I'm used to the idea. I never ever minded turning any age up until now. I never minded thirty or forty. But fifty... I probably won't mind any future ages either. Once you've turned fifty does it even matter? I suppose if you get old enough it becomes something to be proud of.

I've been thinking about death a lot lately. Not just because I'll soon be fifty. Two people from my immediate social circle in high school are already dead and have been for a while. A coworker was told she had three months to live with an inoperable tumor. From feeling fine to having three months to live. She found someone to operate, and she seems to be feeling ok - though her husband looks like he's gone through h*ll. I don't think my husband would want me to go for the slim chance and the difficulties and expense for him. So I've been thinking about death a lot. I'm on the skeptical side of agnostic regarding an afterlife. I'm thinking it's more likely to be like going under for surgery and never waking up. I won't mind being dead, because I won't know it. I think I'll mind more not living fully in the remainder of my existence here on earth. If this time is the gift we have, I shouldn't spend it walking around in a fog.

But then I'm middle aged. A relatively despised age, apparently. Is it even possible to start living now?

 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy

Posted by emmanuel98 on August 30, 2011, at 22:37:08

In reply to Re: aging issues in and out of therapy, posted by Dinah on August 30, 2011, at 20:16:23

I came apart and detoxed from drugs and alcohol when I was 49. At the same time, I started seeing a p-doc for therapy. I think one of the things that made me feel desparing was that I was too old and it was too late to change. But that turned out not to be true. Therapy changed me. AA changed me. I made new friends and developed a life for myself. I went back to school when I lost my job. (i've since gotten my job back). So fifty barely registered for me. So much was going on in my life.

 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy emmanuel98

Posted by Dinah on August 30, 2011, at 23:41:29

In reply to Re: aging issues in and out of therapy, posted by emmanuel98 on August 30, 2011, at 22:37:08

I'm tired tonight, and that may be making me feel more negative than usual.

When I was growing up, my father said over and over and over that life ended at forty. That life wasn't worth living once you were forty. I think I was seven or eight when he turned forty, and I was half afraid he'd drop dead on his birthday. He lived to 76.

My husband says my fifty is my father's forty. Maybe he has a point. Maybe I did absorb his point of view.

 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy Dinah

Posted by Phillipa on August 31, 2011, at 0:14:28

In reply to Re: aging issues in and out of therapy, posted by Dinah on August 30, 2011, at 20:16:23

Dinah and hear me loud and clear you are the best age in life would trade in a minute with you. I just turned 65 almost six months ago. I have nightmares nightly of death. If only to be your age again. I sincerly mean this. 65 the government says retirement. So that is old. Phillipa

 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy Dinah

Posted by floatingbridge on August 31, 2011, at 19:58:56

In reply to Re: aging issues in and out of therapy, posted by Dinah on August 30, 2011, at 20:16:23

> But I do have issues about aging. Issues that my husband, oddly enough, shares. We were wunderkinds. Precocious. And now we aren't. And never will be again. I'm middle aged. I'm one of those "middle aged women" that are so often spoken of with disparagement. I had no idea how often until I was one. Now I hear it everywhere.
>

I so dislike that disparagement you speak of. It's wrong you know. But I think it still can sting.

> I don't feel old. I don't even feel mature.

That's one of the screts of aging I have heard people older than me, heck, my own grandmother tell me. She would sayshe felt like a teenager or young woman inside. That some things didn't change. She thought growing older would be more synchronious (made that word up I think).

>
> I've been calling myself 50 since I turned 45, because I figured it would take five years to be able to say that without fainting. At first I'd know it wasn't true, so it wouldn't hurt as bad. Then it would be true, but by then I'd be used to the idea. So... The five years are about up. I'm not sure I'm used to the idea. I never ever minded turning any age up until now.
I never minded thirty or forty. But fifty... I probably won't mind
any future ages either. Once you've turned fifty does it even matter? I suppose if you get old enough it becomes something to be proud of.
>

I had great difficulty with forty. Maybe it was like your dad's forty. I didn't think I'd ever make that age. I guess for me a PTSD foreshortened future type thing. Fifty was like, okay,
here we go--. But I've been very depressed.

Pride? When read your posts, I am always so appreciative of your communication skills online. I think you taught yourself those skills over time, and they have real value in the world. Last week my son didn't want to draw because he said I drew so much better. I startled him by laughing. 'I hope so', I said. 'I've been practicing for 50 years.'

> I've been thinking about death a lot lately. Not just because I'll soon be fifty. Two people from my immediate social circle in high school are already dead and have been for a while. A coworker was told she had three months to live with an inoperable tumor. From feeling fine to having three months to
live. She found someone to operate, and she seems to be feeling ok - though her husband looks like he's gone through
h*ll. I don't think my husband would want me to go for the slim chance and the difficulties and expense for him. So I've been thinking about death a lot.


Life really does have an end. I doubt I'll be 100. So at 51,
the future timeline is shorter. And I know more now. Kind of a shame in my eyes. A waste.

>I'm on the skeptical side of agnostic regarding an afterlife. I'm thinking it's more likely to be like going under for surgery and never waking up. I won't mind being dead, because I won't know it. I think I'll mind more not living fully in the remainder of my existence here on earth. If this time is the gift we have, I shouldn't spend it walking around in a fog.

(((Oh Dinah))). Life is so imperfect if one is an idealist.

>
> But then I'm middle aged. A relatively despised age,
apparently. Is it even possible to start living now?

But do you despise it in others? I don't despise any age. You have been living. Maybe it's a let down in retrospect to
what youth expected, but yeah, I feel you can live better if you want to. How is my question.

These are big questions. Essential and uneasy. I say break the mold regarding age and let your own appreciation of life and your natural appreciation of others be your guide. Jettison as much as you can that way some look at the
middle-aged and older. Your curiosity is still intact. That says so much.

You feeling a little differently today?

 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy floatingbridge

Posted by Dinah on September 1, 2011, at 7:59:40

In reply to Re: aging issues in and out of therapy Dinah, posted by floatingbridge on August 31, 2011, at 19:58:56

Well, perhaps it's a bit further below the surface today.

I certainly don't despise people at any age. But when I meet many people my own age I have a tendency to call them "ma'am" or "sir", and see them as an authority figure. Not all of them, certainly. But it's always a shock to see people who look quite matronly, and discover they are my age. Thank heavens no one seems to see me as an authority figure.

I don't think of myself as an idealist. Just someone who tends to hoard scarce resources. I have three diet cherry cokes left, and can't seem to find more. I sure do worry about how I use those three diet cherry cokes than I did when my pantry was full of them. Well, I'm not exactly down to three diet cherry cokes of life, but neither do I have a pantry full. I get angry with myself for squandering them.

 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy Phillipa

Posted by Dinah on September 1, 2011, at 8:03:04

In reply to Re: aging issues in and out of therapy Dinah, posted by Phillipa on August 31, 2011, at 0:14:28

Well now, there are benefits to being retirement age. :) Once I get near 67, I'll likely be looking forward to getting older. Unfortunately I'm still 17 long years away - far too long to see it as a goal.

Why do you fear death? I find life ever so much more scary.

 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy pegasus

Posted by Dinah on September 1, 2011, at 8:07:35

In reply to aging issues in and out of therapy, posted by pegasus on August 19, 2011, at 11:38:12

Sorry, Pegasus. That was hardly supportive or positive of me. I think it just hit a nerve on a bad day. That being said, I think women are staying sexy and attractive far longer than they used to be. Time and gravity do terrible terrible things to the body. But I think even so, it's possible to stay attractive. It's a good age to grow old.

 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy

Posted by emmanuel98 on September 1, 2011, at 18:42:51

In reply to Re: aging issues in and out of therapy emmanuel98, posted by Dinah on August 30, 2011, at 23:41:29

They say 60 is the new 40. I am 56 and feel great. Our generation will live longer, healthier lives than our parents. My mother died at 61, my father at 63.

 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy

Posted by emmanuel98 on September 1, 2011, at 18:49:16

In reply to Re: aging issues in and out of therapy Dinah, posted by floatingbridge on August 31, 2011, at 19:58:56

I don't think middle age is despised. After all, given the size of the baby boom generation, about a fifth of the population is middle aged. I am around young people a lot (teaching college and AA) and don't feel despised at all. I feel respected. Recently, I spoke at an AA meeting about getting sober at 49. The next day, this very young woman came up to me in a meeting and told me a friend who had come to yesterdays' meeting with her cried when I spoke. The friend said, if she can get sober at 49, maybe my mom can get sober. We all have so much to teach one another.

 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy

Posted by emmanuel98 on September 1, 2011, at 18:55:55

In reply to Re: aging issues in and out of therapy pegasus, posted by Dinah on September 1, 2011, at 8:07:35

I think at 56, I am still somewhat attractive. Certainly no less attractive than my husband is at 59, so we still find one another attractive.

I find Dinah's comment about "squandering" those diet cokes very interesting. Do you feel you have squandered your life? Used it up thoughtlessly and unproductively. I don't feel that way. I had some good years and some bad years. I raised a good child. I did some useful work. I feel now like I have a lot of wisdom that I didn't have 5 or 6 years ago, some idea of the pain life can bring and how to cope with it. Therapy has made me a much better teacher and mentor to my students. I don't feel my life is over by a long stretch.

 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy Dinah

Posted by Phillipa on September 1, 2011, at 20:02:34

In reply to Re: aging issues in and out of therapy Phillipa, posted by Dinah on September 1, 2011, at 8:03:04

Dinah being married to someone 13 years younger doesn't help. But that aside I love life. It's not scarey to me. I get bored easily. Used to love being active very active and don't want to slow down. Plus already traveled all over Europe, Carribean, Mexico, Hawaii, California, The East Coast. And had two careers I dearly loved. Would like to go back and live it all again. Seriously. The thought of a hole in the ground isn't my cup of tea so to speak. Phillipa

 

Re: aging issues in and out of therapy Dinah

Posted by pegasus on September 2, 2011, at 10:37:51

In reply to Re: aging issues in and out of therapy pegasus, posted by Dinah on September 1, 2011, at 8:07:35

No worries about being negative. It's helpful to hear what comes up for different people when they're handling it well, and when they're not. Because I'm having those up and down days with it myself.

Today I feel matronly, dumpy, and not at all sexy or attractive. 50 feels like a big number, and I know it only gets bigger from there. I'm glad to be living that long . . . and I'm really challenged by the changes that go along with that. And the lack of support for the way I'm trying to come to terms with it.

I've tried out my idea that maybe accepting the visible signs of aging can be a form of valuable personal growth, on a couple of people recently. They were more or less shocked (and not in a good way) at the idea of not doing everything one can to look younger. They were very against leaving nature alone (in terms of anti-wrinkle potions, etc.) and instead accepting the increasing wrinkles and jowls etc. as part of that stage of life. Which was profoundly disappointing to me. But what do I expect in this youth obsessed culture?

Then, the other day I dressed up rather smartly for work, and during the day my husband had to stop by to get something from me. As I met him, he got all flustered, and distracted, and later he told me it was because I looked so good, he completely forgot what he was there to do. So, I guess I still have some modicum of sexy attractiveness left. At least in his eyes. ;)

So, I go back and forth, wanting to be younger, and wanting to accept being older. All perspectives, in all directions, from others are helpful around this.

- Peg


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