Tag Archive: Ageing


  1. Growing Old is Obligatory; Growing Up is Optional.*

Sunday 5th April 2015

Berta-The Barber of Seville 1984

This morning I woke up old and I realized, my obligation had to be fulfilled like everyone else’s.

The image I saw in the mirror brought to mind the photo you see: my 30-year-old self, singing the role of Bertha, a mid-60s maid, from Rossini’s Opera, The Barber of Seville.

At the time, I was quite convinced I would never reach such a ripe age. I dreaded both, reaching it and not.

Today, as I scanned the prune-like face in the mirror, I felt, as I often do, so happy and triumphant that I have made it this far!

I dare say I have also kept growing up.

I have grown in wisdom, therefore, in self-acceptance and self-love.

Death doesn’t frighten me as it used to. Neither wrinkles do.

Berta’s aria finishes with the lines:

“E vecchietta disperata

mi convien così crepar.”

And old, desperate

It’s more convenient that I kick the bucket.

First I thought of writing that, Non mi convien cosi crepar,

But then, as I am learning Italian, I checked in the dictionary and crepare also means: to splitting one’s sides laughing. You only need to add “dalle rise”.

Therefore, I will crepar dalle rise, and continue to laugh into any age, genes, fate and my own efforts, take me.

Happy growing old and up!

* I wish the quote was mine. I translated it from Spanish, and I guess it comes from my cheerful 82-year-old brother-in-law, Luis Carlos, who spends a lot of his time sourcing interesting, wise and funny quotes and stories from the Internet.

** For the old or young, but curious, go to my Music Matters… to Me, for some links to Berta’s aria, none sung by me as in those days in Colombia (1983 and 1984), live performances weren’t recorded. You will also find a trip to memory lane from my days with the Colombian National Opera Company.

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How to Grow Old the Right Way Up

Saturday 10th May 2014

 

18. Apple, Pear and Spaghetti

 

 

My mother considered herself enormous: probably elephantine. Not surprisingly everyone agreed with her. I remember her complaining often about her feet and commenting about the strain on them of having to carry “such weight”.

 

However, compared to modern standards dictated by our affluent culture, she was just moderately obese: a typical apple shape with a middle that was, probably 1/3 bigger than her hips and breasts.

 

My father instead was spaghetti shaped: a slim, delicate bone structure supporting what seemed to be just skin.

 

It is interesting for me to read recent scientific conclusions about the effects of body shape on the possible illnesses that will affect your health in the future.

 

My mother, a true apple shape, died, age 73, most probably of a combination of Alzheimer’s and diabetes, but ultimately of a severe sugar drop caused by the difficulty to monitor if she needed an insulin injection or a sugar bust. She had a strong, healthy heart, till the last day of her life.

 

My father had a waistline that would have won a Miss Universe contest. However, he had his first heart attack at the age of 63. The disease finally killed him 10 years later.

 

I am sure my mother, daughter of a wealthy salt mine owner, never knew the meaning of hunger, let alone starvation, but I don’t remember her particularly overeating and, although, in comparison to the average Colombian, she was a sweet tooth, she would hardly fit the current western standards of the misnamed ‘indulgence’.

 

Instead my father, an adventurer, ran away from home at the age of 12, to become a cabin boy in order to escape a domineering mother. He must have endured a fair share of hunger in those days. As an adult, being an Insurance Broker, he used to walk the length and width of broad Bogotá, for 12 to 14 hours every day. His heart should have been strong… Sadly, he smoked: no more than 20 a day, but I suspect he started very young… Perhaps at the age of 12.

 

I am half my mother, half my father. Unfortunately I did seem to inherit my father’s chest, therefore I am a Pear! I hope I have inherited his heart only in nobility, honesty and love. Like him I was the spaghetti type until about 10 years ago (when I met my partner! You can blame him, and blame the ease and happiness of my current life in comparison to my younger years!). I do struggle at the moment, trying to keep my weight down; more so since my Thyroids has had different problems since my early childhood. It has decided to be slow now!

 

So, whether we are Apples or Pears or Spaghetti, more important than being classified or ‘Determined’ by inheritance, early habits, etc, I think moderation is the key, but also the conviction that we can change many aspects of our life/body/mind, with the power of our will.

Most diets work, simply because they regulate our eating habits. But of course watch out for the ‘indulgence’ in excess of dieting.

 

Particularly, be aware that no diet, no remedy, no exercise routine, can replace a peaceful mind, a heart full of love, a purpose for your day, a purpose for your life.

 

Paraphrasing Mystical writer Andrew Harvey: The mind is a berry patch; eat only the best ones.

 

Happy eating.

Patrissia Cuberos

 

 

News: Talking about ‘Determinism’, the publication of my first novel, The Secret Life of a God, and Book I of The Thermodynamics of Love Trilogy, about a boy ‘Determined’ by birth and upbringing to be powerless, yet, ‘determined’ to change his luck, is hopefully imminent.

The novel is dedicated to the hidden God in each of us.

 

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMERS

1. I am not a health practitioner of any description. The tips I will be giving are directly related to my personal experience and my experiences with family and friends who seem to have benefited from those tips. Please if in doubt, always consult a qualified practitioner.
2. With their permission I will be mentioning in these pages the names and expertise of many people who have contributed to my current state of health. See also the Links page. Whenever possible  and relevant, I will be leading you to their websites or giving you a direct contact if you ask me. Nobody is or will be paying me or rewarding me in any way for doing so. I will be doing it because they are wonderful practitioners, to whom I owe much and to whom I am very happy to direct people to, for the benefit of all. I don’t and won’t recommend anyone whose help and expertise I haven’t experienced and benefited from directly.

15. And the Killer was…

How to Grow Old the Right Way Up

Saturday 12th April 2014

15. And the Killer was…

All of them looked innocent. Further more, they honestly believed they were.

I interviewed them several times after the tragic events surrounding Sarah’s demise. Each of them had a perfect alibi: they were at home; she was in Hospital.

According to them, they had just been performing their functions as they were meant to, without any ulterior motive or dubious intention.

First I interviewed Sofa. These were his exact words: “I’ve always been here; still, soft and comfy… even though Sarah got me in a charity shop and I was already quite battered. I imagine I might not have been good enough for her; I know I have a weakness. I could never be firm with anyone… I am a softy.”

“But, didn’t you notice that something wasn’t quite right?”

“Sorry, I am very ignorant. I am not like TV or Computer who know all the answers. I just made sure that Sarah as comfortable as possible. I did notice that she spent more and more time on me and I felt really cherished. Not as much as Computer or TV though: they were her favourites.”

“Are you sure you didn’t notice anything?”

“Well… I noticed she became more comfortable herself: bigger and softer. I loved it. I could tell, week by week that her behind was getting better for me. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with that.”

I had no choice but to declare Sofa, free of all evil intentions.

Then I interviewed TV, who I knew was all excited and ready to be turned on…

“I’m always innocent!” She declared enthusiastically before I managed to ask any questions. “My jobs are to entertain and instruct. Mind you, Sarah liked to be entertained, best. I did my best; therefore Sarah spent many hours sitting on THE SOFA…” TV ended, looking accusatorily to whom she believed to be the culprit.

I ignored her and decided to interview Chair. Same as the others he denied all responsibility.

“Look,” he said quite indignantly: “I was the only one doing any serious job in this house! Sarah only used me when she was doing some proper work, and besides, at least I am firm!” Then, he signalled me to come closer and murmured in my ear: “If you are looking for the assassins, look no further: I know Computer and TV did it! Sofa also… and you haven’t asked bed!”

Bed? I thought. It hadn’t occurred to me that she might have anything to do with it, but I decided to interview her also;

“I did nothing!” she swore. “All I did was to provide her with a place to sleep and rest.”

“What about the hours she spent doing crosswords in the morning? You knew she was getting pain in her neck. You know you did much damage!” Chair shouted from his place.

I realized that Chair definitely knew something, even though I didn’t like his self-righteous attitude. “So…” I addressed him again: “Can you tell me how the symptoms started?”

“I am innocent! I am innocent!” cried Sofa, TV, Computer and Bed in unison. I suspected neither of them was innocent; not even Chair, but at least he was ‘firm’ as he had said, and he might be able to provide some answers and make the other’s chip in.

“I’ll tell you what:” I said trying to pacify them. “Let’s say that all of you are innocent until proven otherwise. I just need to know what happened, and the order in which it happened.”

“It was while working with me that Sarah first complained about her right shoulder…” said Computer Sheepishly, “I think you should ask Mouse… He was never good for her.” He ended.

“Sorry… Sorry!” Mouse squeaked, sniffing loudly. “I didn’t know. I’m just made this way. I’m so sorry!”

“Actually, she was also complaining about her sitting bones… particularly the left side…”

Chair confessed, losing his initial arrogance.

“And I know she always got a neck ache when the cross words took her too long.” Bed admitted, avoiding my gaze.

At this stage Sofa begun to cry: “I knew I wasn’t firm enough! I never was! Her poor lower back was aching awful when she sat on me for too long!”

“But, what did she do, when she had all those aches? Did she stop doing whatever she was doing?”

“No!” they answered mournfully.

“She took painkillers.” Said bed.

“Did she change position? Did she do some exercise?”

“No.! The mournful choir burst again.

“But, Computer and TV: you could have told her to do more exercise… to move more.”

“We tried.” They answered “But she was too busy to pay any attention.” Computer ended.

“She just got worse and worse, ended in a wheel chair, then in hospital with liver dysfunction. She was taking lots of remedies: painkillers, anti-depressants, laxatives, remedies for her liver and digestion, vitamins and minerals…We couldn’t do anything to stop it!” Bed sobbed, hugging Bedside table who had opened her mouth to show a drawer full of medicines, pills and bottles of all ages, colours and sizes.

“Don’t worry guys…” I reassured them writing my final statement: –Slow suicide. – on my notebook. “I can see it was not your fault. You are all exonerated of all blame. Try to take care of your next owner, but I know that we humans are able to use, even the best of our inventions against ourselves.”

 

For the last few weeks I have been suffering the consequences of my favourite activities. Two weeks ago, my shoulder seized up due to too much writing (and here I am again!) and too much sewing (proud about my accomplishments, but in pain!) A body like mine doesn’t take kindly to any excesses. I’d love to write, play the piano, and sew, in excess. For good or for bad, my body gives me the pain signal, so I have to change to an activity that doesn’t involve sitting down or using my right hand and arm. I have let it go too far this time and going for long walks, stretches and yoga, writing standing up, watching TV squatting or doing stretches, won’t do the trick. I will have to take myself to my osteopath on Monday, and for today, I will have to resort to a (one!) painkiller with anti-inflammatory properties. I can’t remember the last time I took one. At least three years ago. By the way, my wonderful Osteopath is Clive Lindley-Jones from Helix House. A real magician. I’ll tell you how I do, next week, although I will try first to intensify the yoga and back exercises.