Joanie,

I've been thinking, since we're both struggling with every aspect of getting older, wouldn't it be fun (and also a way of keeping in touch in a relevant way) to have an exchange about this set of surprises at the end of the road so to speak . We could e- mail back and forth (and if you agree to this...I'll start off) . Hopefully, we can offer something different from main stream pronouncements on the subject. You will be anonymous and so will I as real names are never used. The only problem I see is that the "Hawthorne effect" may kick in. Being aware of being observed (or read) will alter the performance. But...so what. It could be titled, "Age rage ...age sage...age page...age cage...age stage...you pick it.

Love,

Gingeranium

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Dear Gineranium:
I love the idea of a "forum" to speak about the "unspeakable". The way I feel today, I will call the link, Age Rage. But that's not fair to the overall idea. I think it is very relavant to you and me and maybe others of our generation to share how we are dealing with this "new territory". Old landmarks are gone, support systems vanishing, friends dying on us .Ugh. This idea of your could be a first step in building new landmarks, new ideas, new vision. I am excited about it as I have been feeling so "useless" lately. I understand the answer doesn't lie in going out to volunteer my time (altho that could be a small part of it). I think what you have in mind, goes deeper than that. I don't know how it will go, but, I guess that is the purpose of it. Where do I sign up? Let me know how it goes. Let's get to my favorite phrase: "What's the purpose of this meeting".
Love, Boney



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Dear Ging:
Had another idea about your idea. You mentioned "surprises" and how important they are. They wake us up from a predictible {boring) result in life. I am reading Daniel Gilbert's book, Stumbling on Happiness. He is Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. He uses humor alot to explain the workings (malfunctioning) of the brain.
We could use this (or another book title) as a format for discussion to get us started.
What thinkest thou?
The Bone

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Sounds good Boney...bring it on! I have a feeling we are going to go all over the place with our topic because we will have to go deeper and deeper until we confront, not only that quaint visage in the mirror but the sense we make out of the whole ball of wax.

Let me ruminate a bit on Picasso's old man. Some may see a tired, bent over has-been (tell me what you see) but I focus on the fact that he has his instrument and his music which is part of his being. He looks serene to me as I project on to him the notion that he has not lost that defining aspect of himself which so many misplace when they find themselves out to pasture.

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Dear Ging:
SENEX is ok with me. I guess that was a root (sen) for the word "senility", duh! I guess I can relate. In fact, senility can be an excuse for not knowing everything which in turn, leads to some form of freedom. I think old age is about achieving freedom, freedom from what?
Senex sounds like a pharmaseutical for "not having sex anymore". Again, freedom!!
Sooooo, let's begin by declaring, as a first attempt to describe it, that, Senex is a prescription for freedom. Hey, its a start!
Love, The Bone
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Boney,

You're right. Senex probably IS the name of some medication for what, I don't know ,but your "not having sex anymore" suggestion seems sadly logical.

Now if Senex really is a perscription for freedom, I'm sure the insurance companies would refuse to pay for it. O.K. so we pay for it out of pocket, there's always the question of dosage. I mean, how much freedom can you take or want? I guess we're going to have to define freedom. I assume we are talking about internal freedom and so I immediately think of Ego and the obstacles it poses to freedom. Hell, Boney, you're a buddhist so you know all about this.

Gingeranium

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Dear Ging:
In referene to your serene old man with the musical instrument: you describe him as bringing into old age that "defining aspect of self", that so often gets misplaced (left behind) as we get older. Wow, that is a mouthful. I tried to uncover what MY defining aspect of self was. Since your man in the picture represented music, I thought I would start there.
The only interactions I've ever had was with a ukulele during college years and when the kids were little. They loved it! I also bought a ceremic bird in Peru which had a hole in it that you blew through.
The results sounded like the flatulent discharge of a large male orangutan, (not in the least bit bird-like).
Needless to say, I got discouraged and gave up.
I will give your idea some thought and try to pin down,"my defining aspect of self". I don't know!
I will write about Freedom tomorrow as that is a rather long assignment and requires some thought.
The Bone

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Boney.

Are you still alive?  Check out the April 30th New Yorker. It's got an article on aging that will depress you further because the focus is on the corporal aspect  of this whole process.  Let's see how all this fits in with the Ego factor of identifying with the body which is what we all do. What if we could shed our individuality  and instead realize that we are but grains of sand etc. etc.?

 

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Dear Ging:
Didn't e-mail 'cause I thought you would be busy with the family visit.
I'll check out the New Yorker article but, you are right: we seem to identify with the body (the body is the Home of the Ego), and within that mis-identification lies all our suffering. 
The Buddist say the cause of all suffering is Attachment (self-grasping), Anger and Ignorance. 
To gain freedom from this kind of suffering, which all originates in the mind, we need to retrain our thinking.  That is where meditation comes in and is so important to begin the process of wittnessing the minds activity and gaining control of it.  When we stop the chatter of the mind, we then access the vastness of "no-thingness" and begin the journey of experiencing that.  Experiencing that Peace can change one's whole outlook on our habitual way of thinking.  So what does this have to do with the aging body, you say?  Getting older and seeing decay means we cannot deny anylonger that at some point our body will be nolonger here.  That idea, if you believe you are a body, can be scarry.  Socrates said you have to be in this world at least for 50 years before you can begin to short this thng out.  Before that we are busy making a living, raising kids, building fortunes, etc.  Thank goodness for old age to give us the Freedom to be gin to re-identify ourselves.  This is no easy task and it is also no joke as our "life" depends upon it.
Nuf for now, more on this later.
Love, Boney
 
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Boney,

Wow...you're on a roll! Nice going. I was hoping you'd get into that Buddhist stuff because, as far as I can see, it's our only way out. I mean, there's got to be some reason for old age although, I'm aware that nature probably never thought we'd get to the point of living so long so maybe there is no challenge in it except to endure until the final nuts and screws fall out and go clink-clink on the floor.

Now I'm going to hunt down your Daniel Gilbert book that you mentioned awhile back so we can throw that into the mix. Meanwhile, keep humming along with Socrates and the rest of those good guys.

Gingeranium

 

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Booney,

Years ago the damage done
before bad press befell the sun
to catch those rays we all stretched out
and now these nasty nodules sprout.

 

A little verse I drummed up while the dermatologist was zapping my little pre-cancerous crusty bumps. A little while ago, I had a prosperous village growing on my chest...too many to zap so I had to apply a cream which would slowly massacre them over a period of days. They failed to tell me what an ugly week I was in for with blistering and burning necessary to the extermination process. So now I wear sunscreen even though the horse is out of the barn. But there I go again...talking about the body ...that old identification problem again.

Gingeranium

 

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Dear Ging,

Last night, I reviewed the classic "Zorba the Greek". A really great classic by one of my favorite authors, Kazanstakis (sp?). It teaches all life's lessons and how to live life fully. (Zorba reminded me of Enzo in alot of ways).

Sounds like we are looking at the notion of "dropping our body-bag", (as the new-new agers would say as a way of avoiding the word death) through films. I guess that is as good a distancing tool as any.

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Boney,

My distancing tool is verse...it allows me to treat just about any subject with irreverence. For example:

 

Sometimes I wonder how I'll die

what ending of this story my

will it happen suddenly

or death prolong it's time with me

I'd like to stand apart and watch

this saga up it goes a notch

what moment this in history

at last the age old mystery

That done there's nothing more to be

and that, my dear's, the end of we

except the dust... there's always dust

some remnant of what once was us.

Before we sparked to life T'was naught

unless forgetting we were taught

if that's the case...and might well be

amnesia reigns eternally

So that is all I have to say

no deeper thoughts no nothing nay

the world went on before our stamp

and will do so when out our lamp.

 

Ging

 

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