May 8, 2013

Why Do I Blog? "Crabby Old Lady" Explains Better Than I Could

First, a confession. I came down with a nasty head cold on Sunday, and for the past few days, I haven't felt like researching and writing anything for the blog. I'm taking this opportunity, and you the reader should be thankful, to share the elegantly expressed wisdom of two women whose writings about aging I have enjoyed and admired. 

Yesterday, I quoted from Diana Athill's beautiful memoir Somewhere Towards the End, in which she perfectly expresses my sentiments about the joy -- in old age -- of having young friends. 

Today, I'm turning again to my favorite senior blogger, Ronni Bennett. Last month, I posted her blog essay "A Few Words about Elder Sex," because she came so close to describing my own thoughts on the topic. The self-described "Crabby Old Lady" has done it again, this time capturing my take on blogging.

Still, there are key differences between us. Ronni is 72 or 73 years old, I think, and seems in pretty good health; I'll soon be 84 and have two progressive ailments: Parkinson's disease and prostate cancer. I'm ten years further into the aging process. I'll elaborate tomorrow about why I blog.

But now, here's Ronnie:

IN HER OWN WORDS: Ronni Bennett on Why She Blogs
Several times I have told the story here of how and why, 17 years ago, I started researching aging. I was still working in 2003, when I launched this blog as a place to write down what I was learning and try to make some sense of it all. And here I am, a decade later, still doing it.

The longer I do it, the more complex and compelling the subject becomes and what I had not counted on ten years ago is that it would change me from being merely a reporter of aging issues into an advocate for elders' well being.

That has led to participation in some local boards that work to better and enrich the lives of the aged in my community and together these things have become as much a full time job as any I was paid to do over more than 45 years in the workforce. . . .

In the beginning, I never thought “researching old age” would take nearly 20 years and that even then I would still be nowhere near done. Nor, if you had asked back then, would I have believed I would still care about it today.

Now and then, when I get frustrated with some of the consequences of the blog or just tired of the hours it takes to do this reasonably well, I try to imagine my life without Time Goes By and I don't like what I see: vast amounts of time with no purpose to them.

I'm pretty sure I would find other ways to fill the hours, days, months, years and that some of it would interest me although probably not with the passion I feel for what I am doing now. But maybe that's not so. I am capable of great amounts of work (certain kinds) but also of equally great sloth for long, long periods.

Time Goes By and The Elder Storytelling Place give me purpose in retirement. Even if only a handful of people read these blogs (which was true for many months when I began), it would provide the same purpose for it is in trying to write clearly what I have learned that I am able to understand it myself.

(British novelist and essayist E.M. Forster once said, “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” which proves true for me every day.)

From what I gather in various media about retirement, many people carefully plan what they intend to do with their time after their careers end. For me . . . I didn't plan to retire. In fact, it was a shock, after a layoff, that no one wanted or was willing to hire a 63-year-old.

Nowadays, 10 years after the launch of TGB, I am grateful I had the foresight to start it before I really needed it. Okay, that's a lie – I didn't start it to have something to do in retirement; it just turned out that way and sometimes I wonder what would have become of me by now without it.

UPDATE: Geez - after the first couple of comments, I think I need to say that I am surely not looking for blessings and thanks (what a bore). I was hoping some of you would talk about your experiences or thoughts about purpose in retirement.

1 comment:

Pepino izmir said...
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