Friday, October 17, 2008

Growing Old

When I first began to blog, one of the first things I posted was a poem that I had written for a poetry class that I took several years ago. Today I ran across that poem and it seemed as real, as meaningful, as revelant to me today as it did to me then. So I thought I would share it again with those of you who are more recent readers.

Perplexed

Some days I can find the beauty in growing old,
Time to read, write, explore cyberspace.
Time to knit, try new recipes or fix old favorites.
Sleeping in, staying up late -- no schedules.

Time to read, write, and explore cyberspace,
Which in turn leads me to discover things now out of reach.
Sleeping in, staying up late -- yeah, no schedules.
It's suddenly far too easy to discover just what's wrong with that.

Which in turn leads me to discover things that I miss,
The excitement of meeting a deadline on a project, a night on the town.
It's suddenly not so easy to find what's wrong with that.
And looking forward to a night of dancing the tango, oh, the best!

The excitement of meeting a deadline on a project, a night on the town.
I miss that kind of "busy", the feeling that my life had a real purpose,
And looking forward to a night of dancing the tango -- still the best.
I am learning new things, doing new things, but it's not the same.

I miss that kind of "busy", the feeling that my life had a real purpose,
Not just time to knit or try new recipes or fix old favorites,
And I am learning new things, doing new things, but it's not the same.
Still, some days I can find the beauty in growing old.

5 comments:

Rain said...

I like that poem and yes, that is the mix of feelings I often feel too. There is a purpose to old age though but it's not what it was when young. It's a new purpose and often it's hard to look at it when the world around is all oriented to youth

Judy said...

I like your poem very much and I can see a lot of truth in it. I do miss my working life and my social life before I retired sometimes but mostly I am happy with the way things are now. I have mellowed a lot and life seems not nearly as stressful.

pticester said...

I know what you mean in the poem. I miss the satisfaction of completing a job - I miss seeing the people I used to work with.

I'm working now to develop a routine that involves getting out and meeting people, finding some satisfying volunteer work and just getting myself out of the house more. The lower stress level is worth missing the job.

Everything's a little harder now than it was just a few years ago, but I'll get there.

Love the poem.

Darlene said...

I think it's a trade off. When we were young we were so busy and there were exciting things to look forward to, but I wonder if we really had time to appreciate it. Now we have freedom from hectic schedules and can go at our own pace and are not slaves to a schedule.

Kate said...

I'm so glad I live as a retiree now rather than in the past. Your poem got me to thinking about my favourite one - which I have known all my life and was framed and hung on my Mum's bedroom wall.. As sister of my grandmother wrote poetry, we assumed that she who had written it but I have subsequently found out recently that not to be the case. - I warn you though - It's a bit of a tearjerker but I love it !

What do you see, nurse... what do you see?
Are you thinking - when you look at me:
"A crabbit old woman, not very wise;
Uncertain of habit with far-away eyes,

Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice 'I do wish you'd try.'"
Who seems not to notice the things that you do
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe;

Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill.
Is that what you're thinking, is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse. You're not looking at me!

I'll tell you who I am as I sit here so still.
As I move at your bidding, eat at your will:

- I'm a small child of ten with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters who love one another;
- A young girl of sixteen with wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon a love she'll meet;

- A bride at twenty, my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep;
- At twenty-five now I have young of my own
Who need me to build a secure, happy home.
- A woman of thirty, my young now grow fast.
Bound together with ties that should last.

- At forty, my young sons have grown up and gone,
But my man's beside me to see I don't mourn;
- At fifty once more babies play 'round my knee
Again we know children, my loved ones and me...

Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead.
I look at the future, I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing young of their own,
And I think of the years
and the love that I've known.

I'm an old woman now, and nature is cruel.
'Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles, grace and vigor depart.
There is a stone where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,
And now again my bittered heart swells;
I remember the joys, I remember the pain
and I'm loving and living life over again;

I think of the years, all too few, gone too fast
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last;
So open your eyes, nurse, open and see...
not a crabbed old woman.
Look closer... see me!

Now I gather that was written in the early 1900's... Wow, always moves me to tears...