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6 January 2011

Ageing and death - the final taboo

I read a very interesting article in the New York Times last week - Susan Jacoby's  Real  Life Among the Old Old.  It confirmed a theory I have been developing lately - that no matter what I read about research into extending life, and 70 being the new 50, old age is what it is and I'd better get on with it.  When I was only slightly younger I used to wish I'd live till 110.  Most of my friends could tell you some story about me stating that, and being confident it would happen, through sheer will power alone.  Now I hold a different, and dare I say it, a more well informed view.

Taken yesterday, this is how I look most days I'm at home.  No makeup, hair pulled back because I need a haircut, and content with it all. 

I have always wanted to live a long life, and never questioned that I would do it until recently.  But now that I'm getting older - I am technically classified as "young old" - I feel I should play this era out as best I can, then bow out gracefully.  Forget about the antioxidants, wrinkle creams and yearning for my recently gone strength and stamina.  Take this on for what it is, be the best old Rhonda I can be, just like I tried for in my younger ages and accept that all of us only have a certain amount of time here.

Of course there are always the women's magazines that blather on about not looking your age, 50 is the new 30 and cougar women.  Yuck!  I am here to say what I've always thought - that women can be a wide range of things.  They can be daring, bold, confident, timid, shy, over the top, boring, stimulating, interesting, dumb, intelligent, creative or any number of those mixed together, but if they are old, they cannot be young.  Even when told they can be. We've had our turn, now it's time to move along. I know that people are living longer lives now, but at what cost?  Like Susan Jacoby, I don't want to live into my 90s and be racked with pain, I don't want to have high blood pressure and be on the verge of a heart attack or stroke, I don't want to be demented when I'm 80 and locked up in an old people's home.  When my quality of life goes, I want to go with it.   

I wish we'd start developing ethical guidelines for euthanasia.  I know that would never be an option for some folk, and I respect that decision,  but there are many, like Hanno and I, who would like to choose a dignified death over pain and suffering.  When my friend Bernadette was dying and in pain every day, she asked why she had to endure such suffering.  I had no answer for her.  We put down our pets but we don't offer the same kindness to our fellow human beings.  I don't know why that is.  Maybe one of the reasons is that we don't know what kind of old age we'll have until we experience it.  I'm sure if we knew we'd be in pain or demented, we'd be lobbying our politicians for sensible, equitable and kind ways for doctors to end our suffering when we came to it.

Maybe that's all a bit premature for me.   Right now I'm almost 63 and I'm fine and dandy.  I don't take any medication and I'm healthy.  I'm not as fit as I should be, but I'm working on that.  I still go to bed every night looking forward to what the next day will bring, I still feel like I have something to offer, I still feel a great enthusiasm for life.  But I am not going along with the crowd saying I want to be young again, I don't want to look young, I want to look like what I am and who I am.  I like the way old people look - it comforts me.  It's more important to me to be generous and kind rather than pretty and "lookin' good for my age".  I want to inspire others to live an authentic life, to accept who they are and to live well and with grace.  There are far more interesting things in the ordinary course of life than botox, hair dyes and stilettos.  I want to refine my soul and develop my intelligence rather than worry about what I look like.  How dare those magazines and other women say that is wrong - that I will be judged by looks and valued according to how young I look.  And that brings up another significant point - women should support other women.  I see so much criticism nowadays about what someone is wearing and who they're going out with.  Seeking to criticise others for failing to meet your standards is dumb and mean.  Make friends with other women, support them and their choices, and they'll (I hope) return that support. 

I know I've ranted a bit in this post, but the topic is important and one we all face sooner or later.  We seem to have lost respect for older people simply because they dared to get old.  But that's the thing you see, we all age at the same rate and where I am now, you'll be one day.   I'm going to live each day to its potential, be the age I am and  proud that I've survived so long, even though I'm still only young old. 


  1. I agree wholeheartedly! Something wrong when a grandmother looks the same age as her granddaughter. All that plastic surgery...kind of sad they cant accept themselves the way they are.

  2. "I don't want to look young, I want to look like what I am and who I am."

    I couldn't agree more! I'm 47, with plenty of gray in my hair already. I wear no makeup and weigh considerably more than I did just 10 years ago. And I love it. This is me...the way Mother Nature intended me to be at this very moment!

  3. Agree totally with what you're saying. I wrote something similar on my blog last year about clothes and not trying to look young


  4. I agree, Rhonda. I am 65 and a half.... and I had to live a long time to get this way and I deserve to be me, and no I don't dye my hair :)

  5. I agree with you Rhonda. Here in Holland we have fairly well set up guidelines euthanasia and I am grateful for that.

    For a time I too was caught up in the hysterics of 'looking good' with push up bra's, tight underwear to squeeze in the tummy, hair extensions and lots of make-up. And it only made me more self consience and miserable.
    I stopped trying to be picture perfect and am much happier for it.

    So Amen to you dear lady. Amen to you.

  6. I couldn't agree more! I love the look on your face in the "no make-up" picture! :)

    Actually I'm reading a book called "Mercy" by Jodi Picoult. It's about a husband who "mercy kills" his wife who's body is filled with cancer. Pretty interesting. Just thought I'd share.


  7. Very well put! I am 47 and I have (sadly) been having a tough time adjusting to the inevitable changes that come with aging. At this point it is all about appearance but I do expect that I will be saddened when the physical strength and stamina starts to wane as I get older still. I think it is very sad that women (and some men) think that they have to inject Botox into their faces to make themselves look young; when in reality, it makes them not only look older but very strange -in my opinion anyway. give me wrinkles and sagging skin over artificially full lips and waxy poisoned skin any day of the week.
    I am going to print this blog postr if you don't mind and keep it on my refrigerator when I am in need some positive reinforcement.
    Thank you for the terrific insight.

  8. I like your gumption. Why can't a person be just who they are? Each person is created so unique and precious. The magazines and movies would have us all look the same and be the same age. Boring.
    I do disagree about euthanasia- I think that's a slippery slope to start down. But what I'd like to see happen is more people refusing extreme treatments which offer to extend their lives to an unnatural extent, with little thought given to the quality of life. Seems we'll endure anything to postpone death. If we are afraid of dying, we should figure out why...

  9. Hi Rhonda, I am in the same age bracket as you and I agree with everthing you say. I cringe when I look at the latest makeover someone "famous" has had and they look like they have cat eyes and their navels are where their mouths used to be! not looking at all like their former self,this goes for men too Kenny Rogers for example I saw an interview recently where he just wished his 4 year old little boys could tell when he was angry with a frown or see the eyes light up with a sad..a choice people make that I think they regret.Bring on the wrinkles they are our life's journey told on our faces.Carole.

  10. I like being older, I'm happier now than I've ever been as there's less to worry about and I worry least of all about what I look like. I know I look nice for my age and that's fine by me.

  11. Well Rhonda it may have been a bit of a rant, but a good rant it was. really enjoyed reading this powerful post.

  12. I'm sure there must be a place for you Rhonda in Parliament - you talk so much sense!!!! At 57 I too have reached that stage where I accept what I am, the way I am although have to admit I'm keen to lose a few pounds, but that's more to do with just maintaining good levels of stamina & fitness. Ending a life is always going to be a controversial issue - I watched my MIL suffer for 9 years after a serious stroke & always maintained it would have been kinder to let her go instead of condemning her to years of suffering and loss of dignity. Hopefully the laws will change in time - but I know it's a very emotive subject. Your photo Rhonda is amazing - I love it. My man tells me every day I'm beautiful - what more do I need?

  13. Hurrah for Rhonda! I was delighted to see your REAL photo, because I look a lot like you (even though I am about four years older). Someone said that there is a point where you quit lying about your age and begin to boast about it. I've never felt like I needed to hide the fact that I am a certain age. This is what 66 looks like. Get over it! I'll take truth and courage over glamour any day! (Joyce in Utah)

  14. Well said. I am 43 and enjoying one day at a time; actually looking forward to the crone phase of my life.
    A local lady took a similar stance and refused cancer treatments. She was in advanced stages; the treatments would extend her life but at a cost she felt was too high. She died at home surrounded by who and what she loved.

  15. I just want to say I love this post. I completely agree. Also I must say the picture of you without makeup is truly beautiful and I just love it. Thanks for a great post.

  16. I too had a minor diatribe about people using the word "old" as a negative adjective
    and we really need to link more positive phrases with "old" as each successive generation succumbs to magazine myths.

  17. I'm 31, and starting to get a little silver (motherhood will do that! :) ), and whenever I get my hair cut my stylist is on me to start coloring my hair, saying I'm "too young to go gray." Eh. I'm letting it go. I've seen both my paternal grandmother and my mom go through decades of hair coloring (thankfully no surgery!) to try to look younger, only to decide at some point that it's not worth it, and have to grow it all out. My grandmother is now in her 80s with snow-white hair and looks like an adorable little Italian nonna, which is exactly what she is. She hates that she "looks old" but I love it and think it looks better on her than the coloring ever did.

    Watching them made me decide to do my best to age gracefully, to try to accept myself as I am. Do I look at older pictures of myself with a little wistfulness at times? Sure. But most days I don't even have time to worry about it. And I'm sure my daughter would rather have me sit and read with her for an hour than me spend that time trying to look 20 again.

  18. Regardless of age there seems to be something about the eyes. They always seem to stay soulful, honest, deep, and beautiful...and based on your posted picture...yours are all of these.

  19. Having watched my Mum's slow and painfilled death from cancer in her early 50s I think there should be a choice available for a timely,dignified death.

  20. I remember finding one grey hair two weeks before my 30th birthday. I cried like a baby. :) My how I've changed since then! I'm nearly 37 now and I'm sure there are a good dozen or two up there but my mindset has changed. I have a daughter now and I want her to fully embrace life in all its stages and not spend her life racing to beat the's a never-ending, utterly exhausting race that no one wins. So, I stopped plucking the greys and now focus on improving my inner beauty.

    You are truly beautiful, Rhonda, in every aspect of the word, and you inspire me. Thank you.

    Aging seems to be on the mind in this new year. I finally started a blog (I have one whole entry so far!) and the passing of time weighed heavy on me that day:

  21. Amen to that! I don't understand what happened to aging gracefully, nowadays everybody seems to think they need to stay young forever.

  22. Well said Rhonda. You made some really valuable points about ageing and you have made me think about where I am today and also the older members of my family. I am almost 50 and find that I am now more comfortable in my skin than I was 30 years ago - although to look at me then and now you would imagine the opposite should be true! Another of life's little ironies.

    As for your 'at home' photograph, I think you look lovely. However, it is the you we have come to know and admire through reading your blog that is the sum of you, rather than your looks, no matter how lovely you are.

  23. In some ways, isn't the desire for euthanasia similar to the desire for youth? We reject the gifts of age - wisdom, sense of self, contentment - because we cling to the gifts of youth - health and physical beauty. Likewise, we reject the gift of life when it becomes too hard or there is suffering. God never said there wouldn't be suffering. And none of us know what gift our soul, or other souls, are receiving through our suffering. I know not everyone shares a Christian or religious worldview, but I just felt so sad about the talk of euthanasia that I felt I should say something...

    And please don't think I'm brushing aside the very real pain of suffering. I am watching my grandmother deal with dementia and it tears me up, but I still don't know that it's our place to take away the gift of life.

  24. Euthanasia is such a difficult topic. I am all for it and I hope that if I become infirm or demented in the future that by then measures will be in place for me to toddle off. I've worked in a couple of nursing homes and the thought of having that kind of existence for myself because the law tells me I can't have otherwise really worries me.

  25. So beautifully put! Outward beauty is not what matters - inward beauty, intelligence, the difference we make in the world, living authentically - that is where fulfillment lies.

    I disagree about euthanasia though. I believe God is our creator, and He has a purpose for all living people, each person has something to offer, no matter how demented or even in pain they are. Increasing medical strides in pain management seems to me a much more humane and ethical answer.

  26. Excellent post! I love being 53 and I don't try to be younger, but I DO still wear makeup and I DO still dye my hair. I have done both since I was about 16, so it is not trying to looking younger. It is just something I do to look good to me.

  27. Yes, Rhonda - having witnessed my Dad in such a state of pain for so many months, I wondered why we could not just have called the Vet out, as we would have done for a much-loved dog or cat - it's what I would want when the time comes. Having said that, I do like my hair dye :-)

  28. Congratulations Rhonda you hit the nail on the head. I agree whole heartily I have not died my very white hair since I was 40 I am now almost 58. A "friend" commented to me "I wish I was as brave as you to let myself go gray." "What? let myself what?' I could hardly believe this statement; was it a compliment or an insult I never did figure that out.
    I am proud to be who I am and I have earned every wrinkle of my very happy smiling face. Thank you.

  29. I'll be 66 later this month and believe me, I get it! My mother in law lived to be 102, and had unusual stamina, but I would not like to live the last 5 years of her life, after a bad stroke. My husband died with Alzheimer's, but really of a terrible accident in a nursing home. One of the last things he said to me was, "Don't fret. Remember nothing lasts forever." And I was diagnosed with a very serious sort of cancer early last fall. I hope I will live. I have children and grandchildren I hope to see growing and enjoying life, and I enjoy it myself. But I realize it is not forever. And I certainly realize our appearance is not too high on the list of important things. I miss the stamina and strength I used to have, and I think I can work on this. But I can't really remove all my arthritis. I can't be 20 or 30 or even 50 again. But I can do the best I can every day to appreciate the goodness of that day.

    What we can do to help ourselves and others and to see the good and beautiful around us and have a sense of gratitude about it, and cultivate a happy spirit is the best that we can do. And we can do it every day.

  30. Oh Rhonda, Cracking post! I turn 29 in 11 days and The fact that I'll be entering my last year of my twenties doesn't bother me. All my frineds are getting a little bit on edge for themselves. I rejoice at every grey hair I find because I want really long white hair when I'm older. I look at my wrinkle and think "that one is from laughing everyday", "that one is from frowning when I don't understand something". It all tells the story of who I am. I want to be me at 29, 39 or 99. Not striving to be me from 10 years ago. Inside I range from a mischevious 6 year old to a troubled 15 year old to a confident 21 year old. Nothing on the outside is going to change that.

    I'm all for euthanasia. What you wrote about pets is almost word for word what my DB says. The idea of living longer is great but only if the quality of life goes with it. Otherwise I'll bow out a little bit earlier but with more grace all things willing.

    Thanks again for a really thought provoking post

  31. In God's eyes we are all perfect and he would not want us to change a thing. With age, hopefully comes wisdom to realise this.
    God Bless.

  32. Good morning Rhonda,

    I agree with so much of your post today and I understand how you feel about a dignified end to your life. Can I just say though that my beautiful mother spent the last two years of her life with pancreatic cancer. There were indeed many many tough times for us all in those two years but I can honestly say that in those two years she and Dad became closer that they had been in the 60 years they had been married. You may ask " how is that possible?" I can't answer that but that just was the way it was. My mother taught me more of life's lessons in those two years than I had learned in my previous 55 years and she showed me the meaning of true dignity when she had to rely on others for absolutely every thing. In many ways they were such special moments for us. For me they were God given. Those two years changed my life and I am so grateful for them. If I may say something honestly as your friend, even though you may become ill in your old age you will still go on giving till your last breath and even in dementia wisdom and love can be given. I am so grateful my Mum did not choose to leave us before her time. You are one of my heros Rhonda along with Hanno you have given us so much. So heres to life Rhonda and may yours be long and healthy.
    Thankyou for letting me say all this.

    Blessings Gail

  33. I have very mixed thoughts about euthanasia. Part of me agrees with the principle as Mum always wanted it as she went into old age with depression and becoming demented. In fact she tried after her first serious stroke but despite swallowing enough morphine to kill a horse she woke the next morning knowing "it wasn't my time yet." The funny thing was that as she became demented she became happy for the first time in 40 years.

  34. Oh my...I know some people who could really benefit from having the same attitude. We all age - accept it with grace for goodness sake...that's what I wish I could say to them.

    I just think 60-something women running around in too tight clothes and lots of makeup look silly - I don't admire them. I pity them.

  35. Oh, Rhonda, such a brave post to write, in so many ways.

    I'm 35 and the grey is really starting to show but I refuse to go down the dye-road. My husband is three years older and WAY grey-er so I'm sure he won't/can't complain!

    I agree with you whole-heartedly about euthanasia. This was in the news quite a lot last year in Britain and the author Sir Terry Pratchett has been putting his support behind it. Our bodies belong to us and if we reach a point where we feel ready to leave them (because of non-curable physical pain or the certainty of impending demensia), then that is surely a human right.
    Just wanted to express my support for your opinion.
    Karen (Scotland)

  36. Rhonda - you are completely right about upside down nature of our culture that fails to celebrate the wisdom that comes with age and experience!
    I write this as a 31 year old mum who is confident that I will never seek to erase the creases from around my eyes - they show how much I have laughed - or my grey hairs (which I see more and more often) - they show how much I have cried.
    But I believe Karyn's comment is right too. Seeking the right to end life is not the answer. I want to say so much about the euthanasia question creeping into our national debate. But I can't do it without crying. And I certainly can't be very concise. For me it very very personal.
    In short my very beautiful 20monthold daughter past away in 2009 after being in palliative care for a year. It was palliative care that saw her holistically, took away her pain, supported her natural life and gave her quality of life, and supported her in a dignified death. Sadly, no one speaks about this option in our current debate.
    You inspire me daily to live authentically. Palliative care allowed our family to confront death authentically too.

  37. I totally agree with you on the 'dying with dignity' subject. We should have the right to bow out when we have had enough. I don't know how it will ever be legislated or legalised but wouldn't it be fantastic if there was a 'night, night tablet' that you could take when your body had had enough of being wracked with pain and suffering (especially in the case of poor cancer sufferers).

    I laugh at all these film stars who are tweeked and pulled with trout pouts protruding from their faces, trying to wipe years of themselves.

    I do think it is important to make the most of what you have got. I'm 46 and I would never consider plastic surgery but I do wear make-up daily (not if I'm staying home all day), style my hair and have it regularly coloured (although it is not greying at all)and I wear modest clothes, not 'look at me' styles. I feel good when I leave the house knowing I have made an effort to make myself look attractive and well kept. I moisturise at night, have regular dental checkups (never used to until I found a nice dentist who didn't scare me) so perhaps I am a little high maintenance but I feel I am aging correctly. There are a few crows feet around my eyes and my waistline is not quite as trim as it should be but I walk each morning and eat healthily. I am not on any medication and generally feel good all the time. I have been to the doctors once in the past 4 years (for an illness). I have a 60 year old sister and I said to her the other day, if I can be a fit as her when I am that age, I will be happy.

    Your body is what you make of it and I loves your 'au natural' picture. Good for you!

    Cheers - Joolz

  38. It's sad and confounding that women are their own worst enemies.

    I'm 40 in a couple of months and am just starting to feel comfortable in my own skin. I miss being the size 8 of my early 20's but wouldn't give up my two children and now size 12/14 body to go back to those childless days for anything.

    I am lucky that I don't have a grey hair on my head yet; I joke to my husband he'll know when the first arrives because I'll start dyeing my hair again. It's been color-free for almost two years now and I don't think I could be bothered with all of that maintenance even if a grey did appear. I don't wear makeup or perfume, so why bother starting to be high maintenance now?

    I think we should make a large collective noise to the media about how unrealistic their images are and how damaging they are to young girls. Perhaps if readership/viewers drop perhaps voices would be heard.

  39. Well said!
    I'm taking a page out of my mother's book and vow to grow older 'disgracefully'!
    What I mean by that is learning to live YOUR life - your authentic life - regardless of how horrified your friends and family may be at your choices.
    My mom is 66 and is truly happy for the first time – because she’s living HER life. Yeah Mom!
    I’m now doing exactly the same!
    My very proper German grandmother always said she was ‘older’, not ‘old’. She said ‘old’ is in your head. She was a big believer in continuous learning throughout your life.
    No matter how old she got – and she was in her 90’s when she passed away – she always kept her mind active with reading and needlework, and was involved with friends and community as long as she was physically able.
    Rhonda, you hit the nail on the head with ‘quality’ of life, not ‘quantity’. As long as I have good ‘quality’ of life, age is no barrier.

  40. What a great photo Rhonda!!you look lovely!!i had major panic attack's when i turned 60,i just could'nt believe i was OLD in my eyes,i struggled to try and keep being slim,i went on so many fad diet's,which made me so miserable,i kept bleaching my hair,thinking it was making me look younger,i bought wrinkle cream's to try and stop those lines on my face,well that's all in the past now,at 62 i now feel happy and contented,i have accepted my rounded body,and my hair going grey,and my wrinkles,this is me,and i'm proud of who i am and my age,i don't want to change a thing,yes i am very contented being just Me,a great post,thank you,xx

  41. Thank you very much for being brave enough to post this message. I've thought exactly the same thing about euthanasia. I'm hoping the baby boomers will get it fixed before I reach that point in my life. =)

  42. A classic post of yours Rhonda, absolutely classic. Thanks for that photo, I glanced at it very quickly, clicked on the link to Jacoby's article and assumed it was Ms Jacoby. When I came back I realised it was you and a great big sisterhood smile spread across my face.

    Our generation has had it so good for so long that we do think we can cheat death and ageing, yet it's the final reality. And we do have to think about it because there are going to be some choices to make.

    At 55 I'm feeling age creep up on my knees and eyes. I have (controlled) high blood pressure. Most days none of these things bother me but who's to say what it will be like in ten years?

    Tony and I have talked about euthanasia a lot, we've made some theoretical decisions but it's time to go down the path of putting those decisions in place.

  43. I've always wanted to live a long life but I wanted to be 'stuck' on a certain age while I did it so I still had the energy to do all the things I wanted to. 38 would have been good as any previous injuries hadn't begun aching, I'd had a fair bit of life experience and I was still game to try new physical adventures. At 48 I sometimes just can't be bothered and weather changes play havoc with my joints. So I've begun quilting and scrapbooking as my brain and creativity are still 100% and I thoroughly endorse walking as one of the best exercises, especially if you take a camera and a friend.

  44. I thought you had a guest poster for the day Rhonda, didn't recognise you at all. Great post, I think the big thing is "value", age isn't valued as it once was and society has set itself up for a big fall. And people who've had plastic surgery just look like people who've had plastic surgery.

  45. Whoa, I was seriously not ready for this. Just came from watching Dr. Oz and guru Deepak talk about how we can heal ourselves and control our lives. The older I get and I am in my late fifties, I realize how little control I do have.
    Not having been raised in a strong religious tradition, I find it something of a miracle that I rely on faith in something larger than ME. I do not own myself and suffering as painful as it is, serves a purpose that is beyond my finite understanding.
    My father died quickly from a heart attack; my wonderful in-laws both died after extended illness and great suffering. I also believe that sometimes we should let people go without extraordinary interference when it is obvious that they are dying.
    My own mother is suffering from the dementia of Alzheimer's disease right now. I pray that she will be spared long term suffering, but I cannot even begin to imagine that I would be able to live with a deliberate decision to end her life. When my father died at a relatively young age almost 20 years ago, what gave me comfort was that his life was in the hands of the one who created him.
    We currently live in the culture of I will be master of my OWN life. Ultimately, the deception is that I am my own "god". Luther said that there are some things too "high" or "great" for us to know or understand and that we should not even try to go there. That's where I am. V

  46. "Seeking to criticise others for failing to meet your standards is dumb and mean". What of these standards? Where did they come from anyway? What's 'wrong' with looking 40, 50, 60? Who says so?

    I've never been one for plastic surgery either. Just thinking about it and imagining being the subject of a future archaeological dig turns my stomach...a pile of silicone. No thanks! When I'm 80, there are some things that just won't be 'standing at attention'.

  47. Beautiful.....the post and that make-up less, hair-up, that needs a trim...picture.

  48. Unfortunately, the health issues perceived as being those associated with ageing can strike much earlier in life than anticipated - I have lost count of the number of men in their 30s and 40s I have met who have had heart attacks. I have had high blood pressure since I was 36 ( it's hereditary in my case), had cataract surgery at 43( I got sick of hearing people tell me I was 'too young' to have them) and was diagnosed in the same year with a heart condition that usually affects post-menopausal women. It's like the inside of my body is wearing out much quicker than the outside. I'll be 46 next month, have very few wrinkles or grey hairs. I gained a first class degree last year, I go to the gym most days , do cardio, push weights, swim a mile at a time. None of it is to make me look better, but to keep me active both mentally and pysically and to give me a chance of at least living longer than my Dad , who was diagnosed with raised BP at 48 and died of a massive heart attack at 55. I don't feel the need to look young, but I do feel the need to give myself a fighting chance at life.

  49. I totally agree with you about the problem with our society in accepting people with wisdom of age. If we all stop buying those glossy magazines that lie to us about what we should look like in our 50's and 60's then things may change. However, I think we have to be REAL careful when it comes to euthanasia debate - where would it stop.

    We have a daughter with Down Syndrome and a son with Autism. Some people think that a baby born with a disability should not have the chance to live. The love and joy that they bring to our family is immeasurable. Should it be any other way?

  50. As you have gotten older, I wonder if you have given consideration as to where you will spend eternity when you leave this earth? The Bible actually tells us how we can know and what God did to make a way to make us right with him - not by our own goodness. Reading the book of Romans in the New Testament is a great place to start and it speaks to all of us Jew, Gentile etc.

    I have found the peace that comes through a right relationship with the Saviour (not just "religion") is the absolute best part of growing old. I truly have a purpose here on earth as well as something to look forward to when this body dies.

  51. Amen, sister! I too am getting to be the "young old". I don't want to be young and I don't want to get old after my quality of life is gone. I like the age I am at, albeit I'd like it with a stronger and less painful body. It's still a good age to be!

  52. I turn 43 this year, have grey hair, boobs that are defiantely sagging, wrinkles that I call laugh lines and a waist that refuses to shrink. Do I care? No!!! I felt when I turned 40 that I had finally grown up. Become who I wanted to be.Yes I could do with more excercise and yes I am findiing that there are things I can't do that I did with ease even five years ago but that's all part of life. My huband and family love me and my friends are used to me...vbg. That's all I want in life. I'm living more now than I ever was. Taking new directions in my life, feeling more confident about changes we are making as a family and revelling in the challenges life brings. Thank you for a wonderful and thought provoking post. Love your photo - make up or not I think you are stunning. It's the will to live that shines through and is so clear on your face.

  53. Death may not be easy or pretty but there is value in all life, even if you are living (dying) with disease. People learn how to embrace and value life watching others "die". Death is not be be feared for those who embrace God. I do NOT believe in euthansia for humans, we are not allowed to murder each other because we are in pain, mental or physical. We are not allowed to pick the time of our death, that is God's job. There is value in ALL human life, no matter the stage.

    I do agree women can be jealous and unsupportive, we need to love each other and support each other. Not pick at and vie for the most vane among us.

  54. Oh Wow! I often look at your blog but i rarely comment. Do you want to know a secret? I really dislike your profile picture. It looks too manicured a a little bit smug even. Sorry. I absolutely adore your photo in this post. As a woman of a certain age I have spent a fair amount of effort 'presenting' myself. Since I retired to my simple life I am sure my family thinks I have lost the plot, gone to the dogs, let myself go etc. But I am happier now and more fulfilled than I ever was working/slaving for a living and worrying where the next payment on the credit card/mortgage/personal loan was coming from.

    I still hope to live to a good, but healthy, old age. I am taking excellent care of my health...just not my appearance like I did in the past. I also have good genes. My old mum is 94 and we are worried about how long she can remain in her own home. She asked my sister to put the papers in for the local aged care home the other day but then said she hopes she dies before then. We hope she does too. :-(

    Thankyou, thankyou Rhonda for saying all the things I think on a daily basis.

  55. Something I have been struggling with lately is my changing views on end of life care and how we are artificially extending lives. I have worked in aged care for the past two years now and I really struggle seeing the 'quality of life' some clients have (or dont have, as the case may be). Where is the dignity in being force fed and having to wear a nappy because of total incontinence, when your mind is so far gone you are not even aware of what is going on? And at the same time, being drugged up on morphine constantly for pain...There is no dignity, no quality of life. We have taken modern medicine too far and need to learn when to let people go.

  56. Looking at all the responses you have had on this post, I'd say you have really hit the spot with something we can all relate to. I'm there with you on growing old gracefully (I have never used cosmetics or skin care products choosing to clense my skin with a mix of castor oil and olive oil instead) and on the euthanasia debate. I have worked hard all my life and earned every wrinkle and grey hair. I just have to keep the aches and pains at bay and life would be pefect.

  57. Great post - it seems so foolish to want to look younger these days, especially with surgical procedures.

    Watching my brother die an agonizing death with cancer, I was relieved when Oregonians passed the Death with Dignity law. I want to go quickly and on my own terms.

    You look great with or without makeup, thanks for the great post Rhonda!

  58. Here, Here, they are very wise words indeed. I work in a nursing home and have done for many years. I see suffering on a daily basis and sometimes peoples pain really gets to me especially the new arrivals to the nursing home environment. Everybody talks about it but nothing ever changes. It is a sad blot on society and its values and will unfortunately continue this way.

  59. Thanks Rhonda I enjoyed this post. This is a topic that needs to be talked about. We are all unique individuals and we should be happy at whatever season we are in. Wrinkles bring them on as long as we have our health and the love of family and friends what else matters!

  60. Ah yes...aging.
    I was getting on myself about wasting my youth. (I was in my room in a corner having this discussion, mind you)
    Then I realized, I didn't waste my youth, I was in training for when I got older and then had the wisdom to do something smart with my life. Now I will appreciater everything I do, I will appreciate each and every day, I will appreciater all the people who I see each day, whether they bring me pleasure or not.I now know (kind of) what I want to do and how I want to do it.
    I have only just begun...

  61. I agree completely that the world seems be totally infatuated with youth. Youth is fleeting, it disappears quickly and what is left is the real you. Its better to work on me..being who God wants me to be, His child, not to worry about the opinion of a world that is forever changing it's mind on what is important. I turned 60 this past November and am comfortable with who I am. I do admit to being blessed with good kids tell me I look much younger. What I'm most thankful for is being in good health!

    As for euthanasia. Life is in God's hands, not mans. All life has value, and although it's very hard to watch someone you love suffer, never forget that God has a reason for allowing the suffering. I have not only watched three loved ones die, my aunt, my father and my mother-in-law, I was also the primary care giver for each of them. Was it hard? Yes, but I feel blessed and privileged that I could do this for them, and caring for them taught me so much about life, love and what is really important in life.

    And never forget, euthanasia comes with a very slippery slope. Many only think of it as being their choice, but its a very real concern that if allowed you will lose the will become the government deciding who will live and who will die. The old, who can no longer work will not be valued and so are not needed.

    I do understand that the pain in some end of life illnesses are horrible, BUT..if they receive the amount of pain management they should have the pain would be a lot less. I have talked with many doctors who admit they are afraid to use the drugs needed to control pain.
    As for dementia..for those I know with dementia and their loved ones its not the person with the illness who suffers most, but the family who watches and feels the loss of losing their loved one. The person with dementia does not always realize what is happening, some I know are even very content in their own little world. Is it easy? No, yet it is a life to be valued. Marsha

  62. I was once told by my late mother-in-law that I looked like an 'old hag' because I didn't (and still don't) dye my hair, wear fashionable clothes and make-up. Bless her cotton socks, she had her view and I had mine.

    Well... I'm proud of my gray hairs, it means I'm a survivor! I have survived many trials and tribulations in my life, and I think I've been awarded a gray hair for each one! LOL I think of each gray hair as a badge of survival...

    I don't chase youth. I am very comfortable in my stage of life, even looking forward to an ever changing ride of unexplored challenges and joy. I don't hide or lie about my age. To me, growing old gracefully means gracefully accepting the changes wrought by time.

  63. Dear Rhonda,
    You wrote very well about a subject that a lot of people tend to ignore. Now I'm still in my 30s. However I"m even noticing some of the excesses that people are going to to stay "young"..and it's not working. I love the look of age on a face. It has it's own beauty and wisdom :) :)

    I don't wear make -up most days either..and other than my weight..I'm very content. I haven't really thought about getting older, other than it'll happen and when it does, I hope I'm still in possession of all my mental faculties :) :) I want to age gracefully/naturally :) :)

    Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

  64. oh you have a way of putting my thoughts into a nutshell...or hitting the nail on the head. i have earned every white hair on my head and every wrinkle on my face. i would not want to look in the mirror and not know the face looking back. i am of the age where i am content with my lot and want nothing more than to live out my life with a little grace and dignity.

  65. Rhonda, I love this post. All of it. I am only 30, but I have seen many people suffer both literally and figuratively, whether that be literally as in physical pain or figuratively as in worrying about gray hair and wrinkles. Someone asked me the other day who I would like to meet if I could pick anyone in the world. I chose you, and I mean it. I find your way of life and general way of being absolutely inspiring.

  66. Fantastic post,Rhonda and totally agree with your sentiments on all subjects.
    I too am in my early 60's complete with crinkles, tuckshop arms,grey hair and almost always, no make-up - and its just so comfortable being here.

    And just loved your pic.


  67. Though I certainly respect your views, I have to agree with Karyn...Euthanasia, to me, seems to be motivated by a fear of aging. If you are a person of faith, I think it's important to trust God's plan for your life and recognize that not a second of your suffering or discomfort, whether in age or illness, would ever be wasted by him- rather, if he wet him, he will use it to teach us and mold into the eternal beings we were meant to become. Of course, if you aren't religious, then I can see how that would be of little comfort. Anyway, I love your blog- just had to share my thoughts.

  68. A topic that could be spoken of until I'm blue in the face Rhonda.
    Great post.

  69. Oh Rhonda, what a timely post.

    As a 29 year old woman, i was in hospital recently and put in the first available bed which was in the surgical ward. Next to me was a lady called Norma. She was quite old, had dementia and the other ladies in our room said no-one had been to visit her, she had come straight from a nursing home and would go back after her recovery. She called out day and night to the nurses to 'help me please' even though she didn't know what she wanted help with. She broke my heart and when i was discharged a few days later i came home to tell my husband how much she had made me think about quality of life vs quantity. It has been a hard question to ponder....what would I want done if that was me?

    I do believe all life is precious, and that our elderly have so much yet to give...but it has rocked me...i still I don't know where i stand.

    Thank you again Rhonda, for being open to talk about the deeper things. xox

  70. Like my ancestors (Native Americans) I shall take a nice long one way walk into the wilderness.

  71. Hello Rhonda

    Yes I agree women should really support each other rather than been so critical of each other.

    On the topic of euthanasia, I feel quite differently. I am not religious (although feel spiritual) and with my work as a medical doctor I will never kill someone. Adequate palliative care in a terminally unwell patient is a different matter. I know this topic is popular amog the community at large but it is astonishing when confronted with death how many people hang onto every last thread of life. Anyway this is my experience. I am not taking away that there have been peoples experiences otherwise.

    In Australia GPs are trying to encourage well functioning people to discuss their wishes given an irreversible disabling event. It is called an Advanced Care Directive in NSW, otherwise known as a "living will". I would really impress those who feel passionate in this area to talk to their Doctor.

    Brave and honest of you to write about such an important topic.

    Hope you have many years left for your grandchildren. Your healthy lifestyle will likely ensure.

    Thanks again


  72. Hi miss rhonda,just read your post as i do every day ,wisdom is found in someone with gray hair, sadly in todays society a older person is not respected as when we were growing up.and society sees life too cheaply. You see it in all the abortions that are done daily that kill inocent babies who have no choice, now we want to have a choice to die with "dignity" with older people, we are not God.

  73. Rhonda - you put it so well. there is a serenity about my older friends who are content to be at their life stage. I am 65, recently retired and loving every moment of just being me, making the most of each day God gives. I've worked hard for every grey hair on my head - and proud of it. I've always noticed how flattering a little extra weight can be to a wrinkled face, and how much kinder grey hair to those same wrinkles !
    Harsh artificial hair colouring and stick insect shape does nothing for us old girls !
    Twan Renwick - Hilton, South Africa

  74. I love this post.. thank you! I am only 31 but the authenticity you talk about is what I am aiming at too.

    I feel happy and enjoy how I look much more now than I did when I was holding down a 'proper' job, dressing up in suits and wearing makeup daily.

    Now when people like my sister says 'ummm.. WHAT are you doing with your hair?' I just laugh and think I don't need to do anything because when I feel happy and authentic I have more confidence.

    All those superficial measures only breed insecurity.

    Thank you for your inspiring blog and please feel free to check mine out sometime too..

  75. Rhonda I enjoyed reading this post and the comments that followed. For over 12 months I kept on saying to my 'forty-something' male hairdresser that I no longer wanted permanent hairdyes as I'd come to the conclusion I wanted to go 'grey gracefully'. I asked him to suggest a strategy for 'growing out' the colour...his answer was to insist a lighter colour???? His prices kept going up and I found another hairdresser and she listened and understood and now my grey is peeping through and the 'landing strip' dark bit has a few foils in it...less than half the price and the main thing is, I'm very happy with it!!!

  76. Of course, the word euthanasia brings them out ... in droves.

    I vote for it. Definitely. You are right.... why should we be forced to watch our loved ones die horrible deaths ..with not nearly enough painkillers to dull agonizing pain. And... by the same token...why should we force someone else to watch us die an agonizing death too? I like French Knot's definition of the situation. A timely and dignified death. That's what we should be allowed. It's what we should lobby for. When we've fought the good fight...and there is no more left to give and too much pain to bear... why should we not have a choice that isn't illegal or unacceptable?

    I watched and waited for my Mom to die...for months. She was ready to go... her body hung on... in pain.... and it was not right...just not right at all...
    Nobody will ever convince me otherwise.

  77. Bravo Rhonda - it takes a brave woman to publish a photo of herself a la naturel. And it is a photo you can be justifiably proud of - you look lovely.

    I, too, subscribe to the natural way - in fact I told my husband (of 30 years) when we were first married that I wasn't one who would undergo plastic surgery, etc if ever the time came for that - I totally believe in aging naturally - your life is portrayed in how you look - and I have nothing in my life I am ashamed of, so why shouldn't that apply to my appearance too?

    My grandson asked me a couple of months ago wny I had so many lines on my face - I told him it was from laughing and smiling :-)

  78. P.S. Regarding euthanasia - I forgot to mention that in South Africa one can have a Living Will - a will that will dictate that you should not be kept alive by false / mechanical means nor resucitated should the need arise?

    Not quite euthanasia, but it certainly helps to inform others of your wants / desires - and, in addition, the Living Will is made when one is healthy and in full control of one's mental facilities.

  79. I am 51 I still weigh the same as I did at 21.I do gym classes ,swin training and at least one 10 mile walk a week. I wouldnt go out of the house if my hair wasnt done and my make up too.I dont wear training clothes unless that is what I am doing.I teach and have a family I take sewing lessons and am always ready to have fun.I read a great deal keep up with friends on the net .I have projets for this year ,this decade,life.
    One of my uncles died at the age of 105 with all his marbles another one at the age of 94.I live in a country where a person who dies in there early 80s is considered to be too young!
    I think that I owe it to myself to keep young and do everything to stay that way but I will say that it takes longer to get the same results!.
    There is a but ,someone who has been very ill or had to put up with hardships all their life may not have the strength to do all of this and therefore not want to carry on when they get older .I have yet to meet one like that though.
    When my longtime friend was dying of cancer she talked about what we would do later.My mums just had cancer too at the age of 68 and it didnt enter her head that she wouldnt pull through. she kept house and fed her family just as always did her cleaning ,washing and ironing the same. some days it took her all day to make an evening meal but she did it.Always made up and hatted! the wig itched!
    I dont want surgery but perhaps needles I will see later.
    I think that if I was suffering too much then euthanasia could be an option,but must be the patients choice not the family's.

  80. I would be much more likely to want to chat over a cup of tea with the woman I see at the head of this posting than with the made-up lady at the top of your blog heading - even though that too is an attractive face whose makeup has been applied with taste and discretion. But 'made-up' faces have always turned me right off, and I've very rarely worn any makeup myself in my 66 years. Think of having a heart-to-heart talk with a man who is wearing make-up and lipstick, and that's pretty much how I feel when I'm talking to a woman wearing the same. A little lip gloss maybe, but that's about all I can bear.

  81. Anyone who has faught cancer or dimentia (two people I know have) and eventually lost the battle, *did* die with dignity. They are without a doubt, the most dignified and humble people I've known.

  82. I apologize for my less-than-perfect English (I am French), but I think I have to comment this post. I totally agree on our society obssessed with youth..but I totally disagree with the desire for euthanasia (as Karyn said). Life is a precious gift and we should find a way of relieving pain for the very old instead of organizing their death, even if it is for dignity...Suffering people or people with dementia are not without dignity, and we can still receive a lot from them.

  83. Wonderful post Rhonda - thank goodness someone is putting forward an alternative view to what we see in the press.

    I'm 46 and happier than I've ever been. I decided a long time ago that I wanted to live simply in the countryside and have made that happen. Now I'm looking forward to continuing to simplify.

    I wear a little make up for work - but most of the time at home I don't. It horrifies me that my Sister feels she can't leave the house without make-up! So many young women are at the mercy of the cosmetic industry....I would certainly agree that true beauty comes from the person you are and not out of a bottle.

    One of the challenges I've set myself this year is only to buy clothes from charity shops. I have a good basic wardrobe and I don't want to be seduced into spending more than I need. I have to say that I am happiest at the allotment or out walking with my husband and make-up, and old shirt jeans. I'm comfortable and at peace with myself. I can tell you are too.

  84. I know this is one amidst many replies, but Rhonda this is so timely. I am a few weeks of 50, I have gone from a nest empty 10 years to again the on hands mother of two aged 12 and 15, did I want to be? No. Is this what I expected as I approached this age? No - not really but we do what we do to benefit the children. Many of my dreams and hopes changed when my nest filled with children from another mother... I am a Grandmother and funnily I want to grow old without plastic surgery, without worrying if I will be judged for my extra kilos. I want to be remembered for the wholesome, clean home that I could make, for what I could share, would I could teach, for the love I could and did give. I have lived more in my life than a lot of woman I know and I think I deserve to take the time to fill my well. I want to be who I am, and to be that person without guilt.

  85. Hey! In your profile picture you look more glamorous, however in your today's post picture you look younger an more vital! Your eyes are big, clear and ALIVE! Come on, do not think about those years, they are just for statistics!

  86. What a brilliant post Rhonda.
    I'm 20+ years younger than you, but I have the grey hairs creeping in and if I ever do wear makeup it's a bit of borrowed lippy from my teenage daughter! I don't care for fashion much.
    We need to see more women role models NOT buying into the "youth is everything" culture.

    While I'm on a rant too - it is not only young-old women pressured to look a certain way. A term I detest at the moment is MILF. The pressure on women to look pert, perfect, young, skinny and sexually attractive at all times - even immediately before and after birth - riles me.

    While I don't buy the mags you talk of that perpetuate this rubbish, I find it difficult to know how to be supportive of those women who DO buy into it. I need to be more tolerant perhaps...

  87. Oh you have hit a few nails on the head here Rhonda. I stopped dying my hair over a year ago because I had a yearning to be me. I'm 44, not 24. I want the freedom to be the age I am, and who ever I am. Thanks for the post. You have obviously articulated what many of us are feeling.

  88. This is a wonderful post--and well received judging by all the comments. My husband and I are very young--27 and 23, respectively. But your words really resonated with our thinking.

    I don't wear makeup, I don't wear the latest fashions, and I'm happy with that. You're comment about women reaching out to one another was especially meaningful. I've noticed it's difficult for me to relate to women my age because they are all trying to keep up with celebrities and trends.

    My husband and I have realized that trying to be something we're not does not make us happy. Trying to build a life of substance does make us happy. Not worrying about how we look or "keeping up with the Jones's" has been really liberating. We're thankful to have come to this conclusion so early in our life.

    Despite our age difference, your blog has been and continues to be an inspiration to me. Thank you!

  89. I could've written this post. (turning 64 in a few weeks here) We have what they call "Living Wills", where we can say we do not want to be kept alive by artificial means. But if we can still drink water and consume food we have to wait for the Grim Reaper regardless of our condition. They just pump us full of drugs to "make us comfortable" and we lie there. I'm sure you've heard of Dr. Kevorkian, who was "helping people die". He had the right idea, but the powers that be decided he was a murderer. Such a complicated world we live in.

  90. Dear Rhonda,

    Have you read C.S. Lewis's The Problem of Pain? He was a thinker, as you are, who wrestled with the questions of suffering and came to some very wise and wonderful conclusions. I hope you'll find a copy and read it, along with the later companion A Grief Observed, written after experiencing his beloved wife's suffering and death.

    A Faithful Reader

  91. Hi Rhonda,
    I've been followig your blog for a long time (esp your posts on simple living and finance management) but couldn't comment....i created a blog just to be able to comment on your blog........

  92. How timely this is for me. Ageing and death has been on my mmind constantly as my father passed away on Monday.

    I love how you said an authentic life. That is such a fantastic description, that is what I long for and strive for. It has occured to me more than ever these last few days what is truly important.

    Thanks for this heartfelt, honest post. It is beautiful!

  93. I am quite sure that when my dad was near his time of passing, he was given a few more pain killers than necessary at the hospice, and I was grateful they did this. He was suffering from colon cancer, and it was time for the suffering to stop.

    I used to think that it would be great to be young always, but I don't think I would like the struggles of my 20s all over again. At 43, I'm comfortable in my own skin, know who I am, and whilst I like to get a nice haircut, exercise to keep the weight off, and wear some sunscreen and makeup, it is so I can be the best "me" that I am. That is not trying to look 21, it is looking nice at 43. As for Botox, I wonder what our descendants will think of us for injecting toxins in our faces to look "better." Makes just as much sense as the propensity of some to undergo a surgical procedure where fat from their bums is used to fill out their cheeks on their face! Absolutely crazy.

    AM of the bread

    PS: I'm glad you are OK in Queensland and congrats on yet another grandbaby! I was on holiday/away from the internet these past couple of weeks.

  94. I love the "natural" photo. You look so very genuine. As a 50-something woman I understand more and more the importance of being authentic. Freeing, isn't it? Great blog!

  95. Must be something in the air. I have been saying the same things as you posted just this week. I LOVE the natural photo and think you should put it up on your page--I think you look younger and more vital. I haven't worn makeup since my 20's and will be 50 this year--woohoo! Love all your posts Rhonda--thank you for speaking our minds! You are one terrific lady.

  96. I love your look, don't change a thing

  97. It's so nice to read this post and all the like-minded comments. I'm nearing 31, and know I don't yet have the years under my belt to really participate in this conversation, but I have to say I couldn't agree more. I was kind of disgusted when my girlfriends joked on my 30th birthday if I was "turning 29 again," and when they freaked out at their own 30th birthdays. I never could understand what is so terrible about getting older. We used to respect our elders and learn from their wisdom and experiences. Now we've essentially marketed ageing as an illness to be "cured" and stopped listening to the voices of those who've been around longer than we have (and who know a lot more than we do!) When I found my first gray hair recently, I was excited not depressed. It made me feel real, healthy, and just right in the world. Thank you, yet again, Rhonda, for the inspiration and encouragement to feel that this mindset is more than just OK -- it's essential. My daughters (and someday perhaps granddaughters!) thank you too.

  98. Such a lovely post Rhonda. I am only 35, but the grey hairs are starting to sprout and I've been wondering lately if I'll go the route of coloring my hair when it gets too noticeable, or if I'll be brave enough to do what I always said I wanted to do and just let it go grey. I am going to bookmark this post for times when I need inspiration and encouragement to accept the changes that will inevitably come. I want to embrace them, not fight them. I, too, want to look like who I am. Thank you for the reminder!

  99. Rhonda,

    This such a good post ...but I was wondering if you had any advice about naturally going through the change of life or "menaopause". How did you deal with all the changes that your body was going through?


  100. THANK YOU for this post! I'm farther down the pike than you are. I'm 73 pushing 74, and this is a frequent thought... Wishing there was a way to pick the time to end our life, with dignity.

    But wow! Try to say that! In Pretty Blog Land. And run for the hills, if you do!

    THANK YOU! You are a valued part of Blog Land. You can say such things, and people will listen. Or at least, they won't dismiss you, out-of-hand, as they well might dismiss me.

    And the, "look-your-age" is a given, when one hits the 70's, even if it never happened to be before. Common sense and looking closely at all the women, trying to "paint youth on their faces," has to convince one of the futility of that approach.

    It's surely more relaxing, when you come to terms with age! And the sooner, the better.

    Hugs, hugs, hugs...

  101. How wonderful - I have just come on here to post my support, then the second comment totally reflects me! I am recently turned 47 and have far more grey hair than most of my contemporaries, and whilst I feel like I should actually get round to colouring it again - I don't actually think it is important enough to do so, especially after a long day at work. I wish more people had the confidence to be themselves and not worry about it.

  102. Thanks for this post Rhonda. Finding peace within is one of the greatest achievements.
    PS you look beautiful with and without makeup.

  103. Anyone who has endured the lingering death of a loved one surely agrees with your point of view regarding euthanasia. I am only 44 and have lost both parents in a slow undignified manner--all while raising little ones. Your post says exactly what I've often thought...although I am guilty of coloring my hair :-)

  104. I actually like you best without the makeup.
    I am 67 now and my how my views have changed about how I should present myself to the public. Now, cleanliness and comfort are my only concerns, lol.
    I love your blog...just discovered it in October and have begun to read it from the very beginning.

  105. Beautiful post Rhonda, and I too like the "unvarnished" Rhonda better than the coifed and lipsticked one. :) I just turned 65 and I wouldn't turn the clock back a day. My silver hair and wrinkles are badges of honor!

    As far as dying goes, those who say, "Just give more pain meds," don't work in medicine or they'd know that there are no pain meds effective enough to relieve the intense suffering many people go through. Enough morphine to stop the agony of a patient with terminal cancer simply depresses the respiratory drive and stops the patient. I've seen it done, and it is a compassionate act, not meant to end life but to ease suffering. The physician may quietly say, "We can sedate you deeply enough so you are in no pain, but it will hasten your death, you do understand?" And many patients say, "Yes, PLEASE, DO IT NOW!"

    The "God purifies through suffering" argument was used in the 19th century by the clergy in opposition to relieving the pain of women in childbirth - they said to do so would "rob God of the screams of women, who were still making payments for the sin of tempting Adam". I wonder how many women here refused pain meds while giving birth because she felt she owed God a "scream payment". She may have refused meds for other reasons but that's not one I've ever heard offered up on the wards. :)

    Let's hope that as we go forward pain meds become more effective, so all those in pain can find relief.

    As always Rhonda, a deeply-felt and thought provoking post. What a privilege to be able to have these conversations, with our varied viewpoints and convictions!

  106. Such a powerful post Rhonda.
    Thank you :)

  107. Thanks for a wonderful post! It really soothed my middle aged soul!

  108. Absolutely wonderful post, Rhonda! I agree 100% regarding euthanasia for people. I sure as heck don't want to end up in one of those "homes". The thought terrifies me!

  109. What role models are we for our daughters and granddaughters when we think that how we look defines the person that we are? Where does heart, soul, intellect, loving kindness etc come into this? Is how we look all that we are worth? What would my grandmother have said? She who would have considered herself blessed if she should have had a very small amount of the opportunities that I have had. A good education;good health and maternity care; equal pay;an old age pension;material wealth (though very modest)way beyond what she could have ever have hoped to attain.I am 60 and about to retire.If all I leave for my daughters is that I did well to retain my black hair, slim figure and young looking face, then I have failed. None of these remain but they are of no worth anyway. Thanks a million for your honesty and grounded words Rhonda.

  110. Like Donna D I always said that I would go grey gracefully but I crumbled when family and friends kept commenting on how grey I was like it was such a bad thing. The most insulting part was when grey headed men would say it! Then something in me shifted when my psoriasis on my scalp got worse. I thought to myself - why the hell should I suffer so that other people can 'accept' what I look like. It has been well over a year now since I coloured my hair - it is going grey quite quickly (I am 44)and I don't mind at all. This is me - like it or lump it.
    As for your other points about death - I agree - we should all have the choice. Life should be enjoyed not endured and I certainly don't agree with religions that don't apply to me making the laws about my life.

  111. I love this photo of you Rhonda!its beautiful,it showed you in a whole different light,a softer look:)
    I think people's fear of aging in our society is really our unhealthy fear of death and dying,we are not conected to the ritual of death anymore,like birthing it has been taken away and leaves a void.
    Before we came to live in this way (or modern society if you like),we handled our own loved ones bodies and buried them,just as women birthed themselves without to much fanfare or assistance.
    Women and Men entered their Crone/Elder years and were respected for their wisdom and knowledge and you were honoured for your time worn path.It would be wonderful if we could reclaim ourselves again:)

  112. I admire your willingness to grow old gracefully. Your question as to why we put pets down and not people is quite simple. We are people, with souls, and not animals. We are also, not God, it is He who chooses our days and I am much more comfortable with him taking care of that, rather than "someone" else.

  113. I like you *so much*, Rhonda! You speak for many of us, who think about the Life we live and why.

    One thing I will predict for you.....when those grandbabies come, you will find new life and many of those thoughts will become framed around how you will pass on real meaning for those precious little ones.

    I just love stopping my for visits~to hear your thoughts, that I may *think*, but you articulately express.

  114. Rhonda, this is your NEXT book! I just turned 62 and agree with everything you said in the paragraph where you told us YOUR age!

  115. I am more than happy to live my age. For the most part I think that women in particular who go to extreme methods to not look their age end up looking like the old saying mutton dressed as lamb.

    Better to be happy in your own skin, let your joy shine through your eyes and you will invariably look better to others too.
    To be young at heart with a never ending delight in the world we live in.

  116. Fantastic post! I turn 40 this year and am slowly coming to terms with not being young anymore. It's not an easy transition for me, but reading thoughtful and honest posts like yours certainly help. Thank you.

  117. Just read this post.
    What a breath of fresh air.
    My mother was kept alive in an old peoples home for 2 years, zero quality of existence, I can't even call it living. At such cost that I had to sell the house I bought for her, and intended to retire to, to pay the outstanding fees when she finally died. The doctor told me she had so many things wrong with her he didn't know which to put on the death certificate.
    I told my son, if ever I get into that state, just stick the silver needle into my arm.

  118. I've just got to say Rhonda, that I couldn't agree with you more on this topic. p.s. I much prefer this photo of you, you look lovely and real

  119. Dear Rhonda, this post really touched my heart. I have just turned 50 and after the initial panic, I seriously feel like a new woman. The past heartaches are dealt with, my confidence to follow my instincts and enjoy every single day of my life. I was adopted in South Africa and spent quite a few years embarking on a heartbreaking journey to find out about my heritage. Somehow, turning 50 was literally a "before" and "after" moment. Now, I look forward and not backwards, I cherish my life, my husband, my two children and my beloved parents who are now in their 80's. I accept that I am worthy of a place in this world, regardless of not having extended family, I always felt I had failed my children that I did not have Aunties, Uncles to offer them. I look in the mirror and am glad to see my reflection. I plan to grow more vegetables in our vegetable patch, make home-made pasta more, source more organic meats and make my own jam this year. Without you knowing, your posts have brought so much joy to me, to embrace a simpler life and to be grateful for everything I have with my family.

  120. Dear Rhonda,
    It was such a relief to read this article. I have a mother who insisted that I dress more youthfully, have my hair coloured (have never had it coloured, and the stylist even once told my mother to leave me alone as my hair was naturally highlighted), that I was too fat (I wasn't, just not stick thin), and that I looked frumpy. I have come to realize that my aging makes her feel her age, and she's so unhappy with that. She is model thin (due to surgery), buys the newest fashions, has been colouring her hair since she was 19 (she's now 64), wouldn't even consider going a whole day without a face perfectly made-up, and is so unhappy that she verbally and emotionally attacked me until I said, "No more." I always wondered why she couldn't just be happy being a mother and grandmother and looking like it. I don't want to feel as though I'm constantly assessed over what I look like; I'd just like a mom and grandmother for my sons that WANTS to be there. I love every stage of life that I'm at, and feel that I've earned the right to be matronly (a complimentary word many years ago). I hope that I'm dignified, lady-like, and respectful of others, make-up and fashion or no. Thank you for showing me that my thoughts are correct, and that other women do know how to age gracefully.


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