Happiness & Aging
I had a job interview last week, it went ok, I was definitely a bit rusty and not at my sharpest. Being completely out of the work environment for fifteen months will do that to you. In my mind I was doing two things at once during the interviews, both with the committee and with the president of the college. I was both answering the questions and also evaluating my performance in real-time, trying to compensate for bad answers, think of the connections between questions while still being myself. I know that sounds a little nutty, but that’s how my brain works, there are always multiple tracks running at once.
One of the things I noticed about my answers was how much my grandparents informed what was going on for me in the interview. I actually directly mentioned my grandfather, in terms of aging and my personality. I love telling people that he got in a street fight at age 87, particularly because the result of that was him telling me the following; “I hit that guy up in his gut with everything I had and he didn’t go down. I think I might be getting old.” The reason I love that so much was the authenticity in his eyes when he said it to me. It really seemed that he had never truly considered the idea before that he was getting old. He wasn’t a moron, he obviously knew he was aging, but he was someone who in spite of aging, walked everyday, gardened and truly enjoyed life.
During the interview my Granny was also on my mind. I didn’t take one of her best pieces of advice to me on the writing assignment, do the hard thing first, and in addition to mishearing the timing it caused me to have to turn in an incomplete result. Hopefully it didn’t kill my chances at the job. But I thought about her words a lot on the way to the committee interview. But I also knew what she’d be saying to me at that moment, it’s over, can’t change it, get over yourself. I smiled at that thought and let it go, I got a second shot to talk about that exercise in the interview and so hopefully it all worked out ok.
Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength. ~ Betty Friedan
Both of my grandparents, my Grandpa Kane and my Granny Cordato lived until they were 90. I hope like hell I get that many years, part of what I think got them 90 years were their attitudes. You see they were both tough, Granny was a hillbilly who had survived poverty in Appalachia, a hard up bringing, the early loss of a husband, breast cancer and the loss of her vision in one eye. She was sooo tough and was always a fighter, and yet always had so much love in her heart particularly for her grandchildren.
My grandfather survived Normandy and being a prisoner of war in World War II in Germany, not only that but he once escaped and was recaptured. The Germans reported him dead, we didn’t talk about PTSD in the 50’s but I’m sure he suffered from it. His marriage also dissolved right after the war and he never remarried. He was tough as nails, always a brawler, literally into his 80’s. But like my Granny, gave unflinchingly and was much softer with his grandchildren than with anyone else.
They’re lives taught me that attitude counts for so much, so my friends, be fighters, but take the other lesson as well, love people, be soft with the little ones, they have enough hardness in their world. Stay positive and have purpose it matters, it will keep you young, and above all, forget about getting old, we all have to age, but none of us have to get old. Remember that and hopefully you’ll have many, many, happy days my friends. ~ Rev Kane