The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven’t changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don’t change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion.~Doris Lessing, 1992
Yes, it does! The quote above made my day. Referring to the first sentence, I’m so much younger in my mind than in my chronological age. However, I have changed. Haven’t you?
So, this all came about after I wrote a line in a book from a character who said he had ‘good genes.’ Finding another way to procrastinate, I thought about inheriting good genes and ancestral health issues. Oh, procrastination didn’t stop there. Next, I found a way for my thoughts to drift to life-long learning and other musings.
As a young person, I wondered who I’d be when I aged.
Do/ did you wonder too?
Would I still be able to write? To be creative? Type? So far so good there (minus the procrastination phases). My paternal grandmother had arthritis in her hands to the point of deformity. She could still lift a cast iron skillet with two gnarled hands and cook her favorite recipes.
My mother had arthritis in her hands, and her knuckles showed early signs of what would come. Arthritis caused both of them a lot of pain. When I started writing full time, I truly worried about inheriting arthritis in my hands and fingers. One of my fingers feels stiff now like arthritis is setting in. Instead of having it in all of my fingers like them, I have it in my big toe joints and knees, which hurts something awful and limits physical activity, though I push myself through the pain when taking walks and carrying groceries and laundry up a flight of stairs.
My paternal grandmother had a good amount of dark hair when she passed away in her eighties. My dad had more natural color than gray, and so did one of his brothers, while another of his brothers had a full head of white hair.
My dad and mom never looked their ages even in their seventies and beyond. Her hair had turned gray. They both had nice skin without a lot of wrinkles. I wondered if I’d take after my mother and not show my age? Hmm. Now that I’m there, the jury is still out on that one. I have a feeling when my youngest son and daughter-in-law visited, my son saw his grandmother instead of me. Oh, my!
All of my grandparents, and parents, had sound minds and a good outlook on life. I try to stay upbeat and nurture my creativity both in writing and photography. My dad had a creative mind. After retirement, he walked and read daily even through chemotherapy. Later in life, my mom walked over a mile each day, even during radiation treatment for breast cancer. She read magazines where my dad read the newspaper and a handful of magazines. I guess I have good genes, too, but my family has had a lot of health issues to keep in the forefront of my mind.
Anyone who stops learning is old, whether this happens at 20 or at 80. Anyone who keeps on learning not only remains young, but becomes constantly more valuable, regardless of physical capacity.~Henry Ford, 1929
Don’t we all want to keep learning no matter our age? Am I right? Last night while watching a show on TV, I learned something new about bees, and for the first time, I saw a baby bee hatch!
Is there something new you’d like to try or have already?
Since I’m a writer, I’ll use this as an example: Many of us have been writers our entire lives. Even before we knew what it meant to be a writer in the true sense. A self-publishing writing career is constantly changing, as I assume is the same with hybrid and traditional publishing. It doesn’t matter if we’re twenty or ninety, we have to continue learning all the new ways of writing and publishing. If we don’t, we will soon get lost. Is it no different in other careers and hobbies?
Wouldn’t it be easy to give up? Throw in the towel so to speak. Who of us wants to give up on our dreams? So, we keep learning. As my life goes on, I’d like to learn new things like how to paint and write calligraphy.
During lock down my son and daughter-in-law took an online painting class. My youngest son sent me the picture he painted, and my daughter-in-law sent hers to her mom. (My daughter-in-law painted a cow in her way and colors she chose to use.) I never thought I’d love a cow so much, other than the cattle my fictional cowboys raise, but I sure do love this one.
One year for my birthday, the same son sent me a beginners guide kit to learn how to do calligraphy. He remembered after many years that I had always wanted to learn how. However, I’ve never taken the time to teach myself. YET. Two reasons: I don’t have the dexterity I used to have. My handwriting now proves it. In addition, my eyesight isn’t good for up-close work. New glasses should do the trick.
Never say never, huh? One day I’ll give calligraphy and painting a try. After all, I’ll have to find something to do when I choose to retire from publishing books.
No matter what happens from here on out, I hope I’ve inherited more of the good genes than the bad ones, so I can continue to feel young, if only in my mind. How about you?
Have a joyous day! ~Mary
Featured Image: mcredifine @Pixabay
Hands image: MarinaVoitik @Pixabay
3 thoughts on “Living, Learning, Good Genes?, and Other Musings”
D. Wallace Peach
Lovely to see a post from you, Mary. I remember my 60-year-old grandmother telling me that she felt 18 on the inside. I thought that was so funny. I couldn’t relate to it then, but I do now. I hope you got the good genes and that you can keep doing the things you love to do for a long time. As well as continuing to learn and grow and discover. Hugs.
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As long as we’re learning, we’re growing 🙂
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Mary J. McCoy-Dressel
Indeed we are, Jacquie!
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