Six Octogenarians -Schooling for my 80s

Intimate involvement with six octogenarians, of whom three are relatives and three are friends, is a dominant part of my life right now. These

relationships are teaching me how "I can be" in my eighth decade.

From Aunt Gert, who died recently, I learned that even right to the end I can be gentle, loving person, and that my voice quality - right up to my death, will reflect my essence - in her case, kindliness to the core.

From Same I am learning that even with sudden chest pain requiting instant medication I don't have to panic or be afraid, I can just lie down and rest. I'm also learning that at age 89 I can maintain a ready sense of humor and despite severe arthritis in one leg I can manage to take care of myself with self-assurance and dignity.

From Mom I'm learning that attitudes towards food become crucial in the eighth decade and that having a reservoir of friends, if only via he phone, is an important lifeline.

From Zellig I'm learning I can continent my professorial work and intellectual alertness right into my eighties, I can even have one of my articles
published in a leading newspaper for the first time at age 81.

From Lucia I'm learning that at age 88 I can continue to travel widely and keep strong connections with friends and creatives scattered throughout the world through letter writing and visits.

From Uncle Ed I'm learning that I can be very assertive about my rights, courageous, physically and emotionally strong, very loving and generous,
and deal with the realities of aging head-on.

How fortunate I am to have my very own - school of aging

Vivian Listain-Carlin

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