“Gradual Change”

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One of my favorite maple trees is a couple of blocks down the street. I enjoy watching it slowly turn from green to orange and red. Trees don’t change all at once, but rather gradually move from one season to the next. I have the privilege of living in New England and watching them daily transform then shed their leaves.

I am grateful that age comes on me in the same way. It would be dreadful to have the Dorian Grey experience going from youth to advanced old age in an instant. Instead it comes on little by little, giving me a chance to adapt to the changes. More often than not, my conversations with friends also include mentions of new physical changes. At church a couple of weeks ago I compared my crooked little finger with a parishioner’s  crooked wrist, both signs of arthritis. We compare status of our “age appropriate” cataracts and wonder which one of us will have the eye surgery next. The group of us who work with the same trainer at the gym constantly have our exercises “modified” to adjust to our bodies’ quirks.

Millions of Americans are coming into old age since we were born right after the War in the baby boom. After we give up trying to plead that “70 is the new 50” (it isn’t) may we accept the gifts and the losses that come with aging. A.R. Ammons puts it beautifully in his poem on age “In View of the Fact:”

until we die we will remember every
single thing, recall every word, love every

loss: then we will, as we must, leave it to
others to love, love that can grow brighter

and deeper till the very end, gaining strength
and getting more precious all the way. . . .

 

21 thoughts on ““Gradual Change”

  1. I don’t know know… 70 might be the new 60 at least. I think millennials are as confused in their 30s as the generation before was in their teens and early 20s, so I’m guessing that pushes everyone back at least a decade. No? 😅

        1. Well….that’s the fault of the generation before millennials. 😂 They didn’t raise their kids to be adults, so now those kids have to be learning what their parents should have taught them about picking classes, boiling water, ironing clothes, paying bills, handling debt etc.

          Third World life thankfully makes me immune to these inadequacies despite the fact that I (as my mom often says) raised myself. I haven’t had proper adult supervision since about 5th grade, but it was survive and thrive or fall behind and the latter was not a choice for me.

          Some people roll with the punches and some people get…well, punched, I suppose lol. 👀

        2. Haha, I don’t know if that would count as your generation. My mom is 50. My grandma is 70 something. Jamaican woman prior to my generation generally believed in getting the kids out of the way quickly so they could get on with their lives. 😂 My grand-aunt made a career out of chastising me for not following that route.

          But I think most of my friends here my age, their parents are in their 60s going on 70s.

          You should be proud that you produced an exception! You would be surprised to see the statistics on how many millennials don’t know how to sew on a button or boil water.

          My Dad says that part of the problem is that millennials were raised by parents from that generation when Americans were experimenting with drugs without any real understanding of it’s effects IE the hippies. Dad calls millennials coke babies. I’ve heard several other people say that since, mostly in Atlanta. Not sure if that’s just true of the south or true overall.

        3. Well I am your grandmother’s age so maybe my kid escaped the horror of being 20 now instead of 43. I don’t think it is the drugs as much as overvaluing hovering.

        4. So your daughter is closer to my Mom’s age then. Mom is 49 to be exact. She turns 50 in November. Congrats on missing the millennial generation 😂 Your daughter is safe!

        5. Indeed!

          Millennials in Jamaica have issues too, but ours are much different. I think what our millennials struggle more with is facing less economic opportunities than our parents and grandparents. That’s a problem here in the US too, but it’s way worse in Jamaica. As you can well imagine, our unemployment rate is much higher and since we don’t have fancy social security benefits, the older generation holds on to their jobs for as long as possible. Morbid as it sounds, until they die or get fired, my generation is pretty stuck.

          I think in other things, we are often better than the generation before. Our generation of women, for instance, wait longer to get married and have children. And our generation of men are more active in their children’s lives. Absentee fathers is fairly common in Jamaica, so for us, this is a pretty big deal. I think you may have read on my website before that 80% of our families are matriarchal, which is partially what inspired by Moreau family. My family has also been matriarchal for about 200 years, even when the men are around.

        6. I’ve been trying to track it, but it’s not easy. Their first names were common and Jamaica doesn’t keep good records, especially back then.

          They are originally from Ireland though, surname Fennell. It seems they were landed aristocrats back there, which makes sense. They owned a lot of land in Jamaica. The wife was head of the house according to my grandma, but the husband was around too. I guess the stereotype of hotheaded Irish women was true for her. I also found a few family names on Masonic lodges roll sheets, but beyond that, not much.

        7. Hadn’t thought of Ireland to Jamaica. On the other hand many Irish land owners were really from England and had been “granted” land in Ireland.

        8. Interesting. I’m not sure if they are one of those. I’ll have to ask my grandma about their accent, but she always said Ireland. I’m not sure if the son was born there or in Jamaica though, and that’s who my grandma grew up with.

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