May 07

Learning to Love Growing Old

I just read an article that I want to share with all ofyou.

It emphasizes that Fear of aging speeds the very decline we dread most.

It looks to me like we have our work cut out for us. To teach a generation of baby boomers to accept the aging process and let go of the fear.  I promise more reflections on this soon.

In the meantime, go read the article

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May 04

Wisdom – To Celebrate Growing Older

Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio .

“To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I’ve ever written.

My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short – enjoy it.

4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick.  Your friends and family will.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument.  Stay true to yourself.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God.  He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others.  You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye But don’t worry;  God never blinks.

16.. Take a deep breath.  It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful.  Clutter weighs you down in many ways.

18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It’s never too late to be happy.  But it’s all up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie.  Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive but don’t forget.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything.  Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don’t take yourself so seriously.  No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Don’t audit life.  Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time.  Accept what you already have not what you need.

42. The best is yet to come…

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”


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May 03

Virtues of Aging by Jimmy Carter

“We are not alone in our worry about both the physical aspect of aging and the prejudice that exists toward the elderly, which is similar to racism or sexism. What makes it different is that the prejudice also exists among those of us who are either within this group or rapidly approaching it. When I have mentioned the title of this book to a few people, most of them responded, ‘Virtues? What could possibly be good about growing old?’ The most obvious answer, of course, is to consider the alternative to aging. But there are plenty of other good answers–many based on our personal experiences and observations. ”

From Publishers Weekly

When President Carter’s 1980 electoral defeat brought involuntary retirement, at age 56, from his position at the White House, he had no set plans for the future. According to this sprightly essay, he and wife Rosalynn, now in their 70s, have continued to lead full, active, productive lives because of their willingness to explore new commitments, their abiding refusal to be mentally dormant. Besides serving at the Carter Center in Atlanta which they established to help negotiate peace agreements, to monitor elections in emerging democracies and to assist the elderly and mentally ill the Carters are both university professors, and they roll up their sleeves to build at least one house per year for needy families. Further, claims the former president, they run three miles a day, take 15-mile cross-country bike rides and their sex life is “more complete and enjoyable” than ever. Carter dispenses sage advice on how older people can fashion an interesting and challenging life, strengthen interpersonal relations, maintain good health and face death with equanimity. While most of this counsel is not especially original and occasionally veers toward the platitudinous, he fleshes out his prescriptions with practical tips and pertinent examples of friends, relatives and associates who have remained productive. There are some remarkably intimate moments, as when Carter shares cathartic free verse that enabled him to face his ambivalent relationship with his father, or when he discusses the compromises that contributed to the success of his 52-year marriage. (Oct.) FYI: A volume in the Library of Contemporary Thought series.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

At age 56, Jimmy Carter “involuntarily retired” when he was defeated for a second term as president by Ronald Reagan in 1980. Despite his achievements in office, Carter and wife Rosalynn faced many of the same challenges confronting other new retirees. The disappointment of Carter’s political defeat was complicated by an uncertain financial future for the couple resulting from mismanagement of the family business during Carter’s political career, their not having jobs, and the need to care for elderly mothers. In this brief book, Carter sketches how he and Rosalynn created new careers and new lives for themselves as authors, educators, and senior family members and as a couple growing old together. He adds statistics about the aging population, makes suggestions for healthy living, and defines successful aging. Carter covered much of this same material in his Everything To Gain: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life (LJ 7/87), coauthored with Rosalynn. Still, at 74, Carter writes as someone who has experienced the “virtues of aging” firsthand, and this work is a thoughtful addition for collections that don’t own the previous book.AKaren McNally Bensing, Benjamin Rose Inst. Lib., Cleveland
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Apr 30

Movies about The Aging Process & Healthy Aging

The Geezer Flicks List began in November 2006, with contributions from many of AS TIME GOES BY blog

. I have not seen them all and they are not personal recommendations, but most, according to contributors, meet the criteria that were set up when the list began:

  • Films about being old or growing old
  • Films with elder characters that are respectfully portrayed and well-acted
  • Films that may not be about aging overall, but include good scenes about or with elders
  • Films that add to our understanding of or celebrate what getting older is really like

They are sorted alphabetically by Title (year release) Genre, and each title links to its page in the Internet Movie Database where volumes of information can be found about each film.

Additionally, Ziv Schteinberg keeps a list of movies about aging that are available on DVD.

Availability or not on DVD is not noted on the list here.

Geezer Flicks is a dynamic, growing source of films that treat elders and getting old with dignity, respect and, frequently, humor. It becomes more valuable if it is kept up to date, so your suggestions of older films that have been overlooked here and new films as they are released is actively sought. Please send them to: ronni AT ronnibennett DOT com.

[Last updated as of 12 October 2008. Documentaries are in their own section at the bottom of the page as are Non-English Language Films.]



About Schmidt (2002) Comedy/Drama
After Life (2005) Comedy
Antonia (1995) Comedy/Drama
Assisted Living (2003) Comedy/Drama
Atlantic City (1980) Crime Drama
NEW Aurora Borealis (2005) Drama
Autumn Spring (2003) Comedy
Away From Her (2006) Drama
The Boynton Beach Bereavement Club (2005) Comedy/Drama
Bubba Ho-Tep (2002) Horror/Comedy

NEW The Bucket List (2007) Comedy/Drama
Calendar Girls (2003) Comedy/Drama
Checking Out (1995) Comedy
The Crew (2000) Comedy/Drama
The Dead (1987) Drama
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005) Drama
Do You Remember Love (1985 – TV) Drama
Driving Miss Daisy (1989) Comedy/Drama
Enchanted April (1992) Drama

NEW The Evening Star (1996) Comedy/Drama
Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) Comedy/Drama
The Gin Game (1981 – TV) Drama
Gods and Monsters (1998) Drama
Grumpy Old Men (1993) Comedy
Guarding Tess (1994) Comedy/Drama
Harold and Maude (1971) Comedy/Drama
Harry and Tonto (1974) Comedy/Drama
The History Boys (2006) Comedy/Drama
The Holiday (2006) Comedy/Romance

Ikiru (1952) Drama
Il Postino (1994) Comedy/Drama
I’m Going Home (2001) Comedy/Drama
I’m Not Rappaport (1996) Comedy
In Her Shoes (2005) Comedy/Drama
In Good Company (2004) Comedy/Drama
Innocence (2000) Drama
In the Line of Fire (1993) Suspense
Iris (2001) Drama/Biography
Keeping Mum (2005) Comedy

Kitchen Stories (2003) Comedy/Drama
Ladies in Lavender (2004) Drama
The Last Lieutenant (1993) Drama
Last Orders (2001) Drama
The Lion in Winter (1968) Drama
NEW Lonely Hearts (1982) Drama
Make Way For Tomorrow (1937) Drama
NEW Man of Flowers (1983) Drama
The Memory of a Killer (2003) Crime Drama
Miracle at Sage Creek (2005) Western

A Month By the Lake (1995) Comedy/Drama
The Mother (2003) Drama
Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005) Comedy/Drama
Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont (2005) Comedy/Drama
Murder Ahoy (1964) Mystery
Murder at the Gallop (1963) Mystery
Murder Most Foul (1964) Mystery
Murder She Said (1961) Mystery
The Notebook (2004) Drama
Notes on a Scandal (2006) Drama

Oh, God (1977) Comedy
On Golden Pond (1981) Drama
The Other Side of the Street (2005) Thriller
NEW Pather Panchali (1955) Drama
Pauline & Paulette (2001) Comedy/Drama
Providence (1977) Drama
The Remains of the Day (1993) Drama
Requiem for a Dream (2000) Crime Drama
The Road Home (1999) Drama
Robot Stories (2003) Sci-Fi

Rocket Gibralter (1988) Drama
Rocky Balboa (2006) Drama
Rooster Cogburn (1975) Western/Comedy
Saraband (2003) Drama
NEW The Savages (2007) Comedy/Drama
Schultze Gets the Blues (2003) Comedy/Drama
Secondhand Lions (2003) Comedy/Drama
Seconds (1966) Sci-Fi/Drama
The Seven Samurai (1954) Drama
Shadowlands (1993) Biography/Drama

Shirley Valentine (1989) Comedy
The Shootist (1976) Western/Drama
The Simian Line (2000) Western/Drama
Something’s Gotta Give (2003) Comedy/Drama
A Song for Martin (2001) Drama
The Son of the Bride (2001) Comedy/Drama
Space Cowboys (2000) Action Comedy
The Straight Story (1999) Drama
Strangers in Good Company (1990) Drama
The Sunshine Boys (1975) Comedy

NEW Tea With Mussolini (1999) Comedy/Drama
Terms of Endearment (1983) Drama
That’s Life (1986) Comedy/Drama
Tokyo Story (1953) Drama
Tough Guys (1986) Comedy
NEW Traveling North (1987) Comedy/Drama
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) Drama
The Trip to Bountiful (1985) Drama
Turning Point (1977) Drama
Tuesdays With Morrie (1999) Drama

Twilight (1998) Crime Drama
Umberto D. (1952) Drama
An Unfinished Life (2005) Drama
Used People (1992) Comedy/Drama
Venus (2006) Comedy/Drama
The Way Home (2002) Drama
Waking Ned Devine (1998) Comedy
NEW A Woman’s Tale (1991) Drama
The World’s Fastest Indian (2005) Drama/Biography
Wrestling Ernest Hemingway (1993) Drama
Yi Yi (2000) Drama


Ballets Russes (2005)
Brother’s Keeper (1992)
Exit (2005)
NEW Goodnight, We Love You (2004)
Nine Good Teeth (2003)
Number Our Days (1976)
The Open Road: America Looks at Aging (2005)
Ram Dass: Fierce Grace (2001)
NEW Surfing For Life (1999)
Sunset Story (2003)


Les Petites Vacances (2006) Comedy/Drama


Have you seen any of these?  Would love to hear your review.

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Apr 30

Celebrities Aging Gracefully

I just finished watching “The Iron Lady” with the magnificent Meryl Streep. What an amazing model of how to age gracefully.  It got me thinking about other celebs who have been in the limelight lately and I thought I’d share some of them here with you.  Add your own favorites please.

Thank God that not every celeb succumbs to the prevailing “pro-youth” pressures. The music and entertainment businesses can, in fact, be excellent places to look for examples of men and women who are reaching out and embarassing the aging process with enthusiasm and grace.


Helen Mirren

Modesty and a healthy dose of humor are keys to Mirren aging so gracefully. When a gym  gave her Body of the Year, she told the women of The View that she just sucked in her stomach.

“It was a beautiful thing that these fitness people did, I have to say,” she said. “I think it was recognition of the fact that you don’t have to be perfect.”


And then there is Lauren Becall

The iconic actress, who is in her late 80s, has been honest about some of the physical challenges of aging, but is notable for her continued zest for work and for her craft.

In her book By Myself and Then Some, Bacall writes: “The need to work remains — movies, theatre, TV — I don’t care really. As long as it’s good — interesting — new — I love new — it will take me out of myself and into someone else. Always a pleasure.”


And weighing in for the males:
George Clooney

The actor, who is 50,told Parade that he emulates actors like Paul Newman, who he thinks “handled growing old onscreen” well.

“I find that as you get older, you start to simplify things in general,” he told that publication. “By the time you get a subscription to AARP, which I just got, you have some idea of who your friends are, at least.”


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Apr 26

Healthy Aging – Maia and Jane’s stories

Thanks to Maggie for pointing out this video – Let’s find more like this!

We need positive examples of healthy aging to inspire us as we grow.


One of my teachers just turned 79.  I wanted to share her reflections on her birthday and on aging in general:

Happy Days

by janeclaypool


I enjoyed a perfect birthday. I am very happy I was born in April and I have especially enjoyed it since “they” named April 22 the official Earth Day. I know it has more to do with Spring and blooming flowers than me, but it feels personal. Then there were all the flowers, cards, messages and gifts from family and friends to remind me that my presence here on Planet Earth does make a difference.

Mother Earth and I are One – we are in perfect accord. I stop and smell the flowers, I smile at the blue skies, and I visit the ocean often. Like RW Emerson and the other Transcendentalists, I find God in Nature.

Did you know that more people are born in April than any other month? We are closer to our animal nature than we might like to think. We pop out and announce our presence with gusto, just like little sheep or goats. We are on the same schedule as the spring flowers and go through the same process of youth, maturity and old age as they do.

In my heart, I am the same person that I was at age 11, 18, 35, 50 or 65 but this was birthday #79. That makes me old and I notice it physically. However, I find the ageless Jane is a very active part of my emotional and spiritual nature. I am One with all the different ages of Jane.

Memory is part of what makes me different from those little goats and sheep. Since I am human, I can think about the past and the present as well as the future.

I have memory and I am capable of thought and belief. I think and believe that I am one with a Power For Good that is eternal and greater than my physical body. I am One with Life.

Birthdays are great days for reflection and as I have aged, I have become more reflective. This year felt very special to me, partly because I have more time and partly because writing this blog has made me pay more attention to my life.

My birthday seemed perfect in so many ways and I did focus on the many blessings of the day. There were some surprises but no disappointments. I was surprised my coffee maker died but I was happy that I had an answer when my daughter asked the proverbial birthday question. “I want a new coffee pot,” I answered. “I want one just like the old one  – with no fancy buttons – just on and off.

So I got a coffee pot and everyone was happy! I also got to choose a restaurant for lunch after church. When the Greek restaurant had a sign on the door that said, “Never on Sunday,” I got a second choice and that was Mexican. I probably would have gone for Chinese if I had to come up with three wishes but two were enough.

Today, my house looks like a florist’s shop. The church sent flowers home with me. My nephew gave me an orchid. A friend who lives a long way off sent me a big lovely bouquet by telegraph. I love flowers and have taken up drawing them as a new expression of my art hobby.

Perhaps the best gifts of all were the ones from my artistic friends. Leah Oviedo gave me her new book about building your own affirmations. It is filled with delightful illustrations and ideas suitable for young adults. To see her book, go to writewhatyour

My friend Jo sent me a set of note cards that featured her brilliant photographs. I will probably keep them all because they seem too precious to use.

My brother John sent me a new link to his enlarged website. I love the way he has developed into a serious (if non-traditional) outside artist. You can see some of his work by checking out … but be warned that it is neither sweet nor pretty. It may startle you and/or make you think.

I started out as an art teacher many years ago and I’m now illustrating a book with my friend, Gina Ogden. Although I’ve always been interested in art, this is an entirely new venture for me. They say it is good for the elderly to do new things and I guess doing the drawings for a pillow book about love and sex is a new thing.

Old age is more than a time to recite your health problems or count your money. It is a time to do new things and more importantly, it is a time to reflect on the blessings in your life. I took Sunday afternoon and evening to reflect on some of mine. If you are reading this post, you are a blessing in my life and I am grateful for you.

One of the gifts of maturity has been to see how well people actually do over the long haul. About twenty years ago, I began to see that my friends and family really were like the characters in novels. They may have struggled through heroic trials and tribulations, but they achieved a great deal. I have learned that you should never give up.

I have learned many lessons in life. One is that perseverance pays off. Another is that the aging process brings a lot of joy. I count my blessings nearly every day and I am truly grateful for how well most things have turned out in my life.

If you were one of the many people who sent me a birthday greeting, thank you. If you didn’t then next year will be even better because I’ll be entering an exciting new decade. Imagine that – I once dreamed of being grown up and now I am. Isn’t life amazing?

Ask yourself

How do I feel about age?

Am I grateful for my life so far?

What are ten things I am grateful for?


janeclaypool | April 24, 2012 at 10:50 am

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