Words to live by.

December 30, 2010 § 5 Comments

Hi friends!

Hope you’re all having beautiful, fulfilling days, as I am. Fulfilling, because I just accompanied my two girlfriends to see Tron. In 3D no less. My eyeballs bled. Yes, we ditched the men in our lives, and decided we needed a hearty dose of sci-fi, cheesy one-liners and geeky video game references. Don’t ask me why; it seemed like a good idea at the time.

I would have infinitely preferred Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere, but apparently I am banned from seeing it until a certain cinephile buddy of mine gets his butt back to NSW.

Anyhoo, trivial details of my day aside, I wanted to properly recap Christmas day. Because besides the present butchering and the face stuffing, we actually accomplished something meaningful that left me with some thoughts i’d like to share with you.

Family shot (note: not my dad, my mum’s lovely new partner Andrew)

On Christmas day, after we attended to our own display of giving and receiving, Mum and I decided to try to give to others who may not have the good fortune of spending the holidays with loved ones. We organised to help out for the morning at a retirement village and serve bourbon-spiked tea and sugar-encrusted shortbread to the residents, and generally provide fresh ears for conversation and company. This was no great sacrifice, as I personally find older people fascinating and was looking forward to breaking with tradition on Christmas day.

I feel it’s a sad indication of our collective fear of aging and death, that the elderly are so often hidden away in homes and villages where their wisdom and worldliness is diminished; forgotten, lost. In other cultures, including many Asian ones I believe, families live in extended form, together, with grandparents looked after and supported by their growing families, and in turn imparting invaluable knowledge and helping shape the lives of the young. They are respected; a respect that is all but lost in Western society where ageism abounds.

As you can tell, it’s an issue that’s close to my heart, and on the day I felt quite emotional speaking to people who (for the most part) had so much to offer, yet who evidently lacked living, nearby or simply concerned relatives.

After chatting with some wonderful, insightful, wise individuals, I came away not only with the friendship of a few amazing characters but also a new sense of what it is to live, live well and reconcile with the inevitable physical decline of old age.

One lady, Betty, who agreed to adopt me as her surrogate granddaughter for the day, was exceptionally witty and grounded, and shared some invaluable advice that I felt would be nice to pass on.

She spoke frankly about aging and death, and said the most important thing is to simply get out and do as much as you can throughout your life; seek out adventure, embrace change and create those fond and happy memories that will later sustain you when you are no longer physically capable.

Being content with the sum of your achievements and knowing you grasped each and every opportunity must be a comfort when you are faced with the imminent possibility of your own non-existence. That confounding condition that is so utterly incomprehensible to us, as we make every effort to stave it off each day until we are forced to reflect upon it’s significance; when we too may find ourselves old and alone.

Heavy stuff, right? I didn’t intend to get so dull and dreary, but for a gal who contemplates daily the meaning behind our bizarre little life, preferably à la Monty Python, it seems an opportunity to learn from more experienced parties.

As someone who also likes to play it safe, be a bit of a wuss and embrace her inner nanna, it pays to remind myself that challenge, adventure and experience is what gives life it’s colour. And as much as i’d like to stay home on a weekend, sipping tea and perfecting the latest vegan cookie, I also have to temper this with a little excitement – shooting to fulfill my life in deeper ways than simply seeing Tron on a Thursday afternoon with two of my silliest girlfriends. {Although, the main character was rather cute (sorry Jarad). And I did happen to enter into a raging discussion with the girls as to his greatest physical attribute (Sorry again Jarad. No one compares to you, and I totally would not launch myself at the man if he were in the nearby vicinity).}

I’m so glad I spent some of Christmas day with new faces; ones that ultimately challenged me to consider not only how we treat the elderly, but also how it is that I want to remember my youth when I become old, stiff and incontinent. Moreso, obviously.

What are your thoughts on getting old? Do you feel you are ‘living to the full’?

Peace out, hombres.


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§ 5 Responses to Words to live by.

  • paijery says:

    You.are.awesome. Your Christmas day was awesome. What a selfless act. 🙂 🙂 Elderly people deserve so much more respect!

  • Shellet says:

    Great post and a great way to spend Christmas Day!

    Getting older does scare me. My nanna is actually in a care facility with advanced dementia, and I’m really scared of going the same way, as it just sucks the life out of them.

    Can’t do much about getting older, but we can all control how we get there at least 🙂

  • Great post Katey. I did a similar thing a few days ago! Very eye-opening, and you’re right, a blunt reminder of some of the pitfalls of society. Also, sound advice from your lady-friend Betty – I love being a homebody, and sometimes need a big fat kick to get out the door and go live life 🙂
    Happy New Year xx

  • bonne_santé says:

    Thanks everyone 🙂

  • babs says:

    love the goals. i went off the pill last month, and so far it hasn’t been too bad.

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