Pabitra Mukhopadhyay


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What are the side effects of getting older?

Laura Carstensen gives one account. When I watched it, it felt like there are some more about it. What does aging do to you? Apart from 'aching at the places where I used to play' of course.

It doesn't have to be only an old person's quest.

  • Jun 6 2013: To be perfectly honest, I love getting older, and if the things that I feel are side-effects, then I love those too.
    When I was a kid, I wanted to be a grown up. And now that I'm a grown up, I feel like I've got a long way to go yet till I am actually grown up.
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      Jun 6 2013: Dear Lizanne,
      Don't ever grow up!

      "We don't stop playing because we get old.....we get old because we stop playing"

      I don't know what I'll be when I grow up, and I LOVE it:>)
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      Jun 6 2013: Here's a cartoon for your enjoyment.....and Lizanne, I don't know what you are doing in this conversation. LOL
      • Jun 7 2013: Love it!!!
        Mary, I think I just want to fit in...!
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          Jun 7 2013: As I have said in the OP, this question is not exclusively for the senior people. As a matter of fact, the inspiration behind the question actually comes from my son. He wanted to know what else happens to a person when one gets older apart from loss of youth and physical challenges. Then when I saw Laura's talk, it felt as if everything in old age is simply superb, which didn't strike a chord in me. I feel that there is something in older age that I cannot put my finger on.
          I think it's absolutely fantastic for you to join the discussion and by your own right Lizanne. You don't have to fit in. Welcome on board. :)
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          Jun 7 2013: You fit in fit in....we get older every day.....all of us....
      • Jun 7 2013: When I tell my kids that, Mary, they are thrilled to bits. We so this thing, where they are busy playing or working, and I stop them in whatever they're doing and gasp and say, "You GREW!" The looks on their faces are priceless. Then they ask me, "How can you tell?" and I look over their entire bodies, from the tips of their noses to their toenails, and say something like, "I see it right here, on your left nostril" or "I can tell, because you have two more eyelashes than yesterday". And they just love it. And I love it.

        My son told me the other day, that he would be sad if I died. I told him, I would be sad too... but that's what happens to all of us. It's as natural as being born. I wouldn't even classify death as a side effect of getting older, because who wants to live forever?? Ugh. Not me!
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          Jun 7 2013: That is so funny Lizanne.....I remember when my kids were little, and they stood on tipee toes to see me behind the kitchen counter.....and they were curious to see what I was cooking. And then little by little, their forehead showed, then their eyes, their nose, their mouth, their shoulders.....and now they stand and the counter top is at their waste....and they can help me cook. You know, you mention death. It is interesting when our kids learn about human mortality, and then they realize that one day we'll be gone. I have had the same conversation with my kids. I've explained to them that all living things die, and that this is how it is. I've also told them not to fear death, as it is something normal. And when the time comes, it comes.
          But the look on their faces Lizanne, the look on their faces........

          I like the idea of living forever.......if the conditions on earth were different.

          Here is a good one for us Lizanne.....heeheehee

      • Jun 8 2013: Mary, I may have discovered a side-effect last night, although I don't know if it can be classified as one either, really...
        When we were doing the 'how did you grow' game, my daughter looked at me intensely and asked me, "Mama, can you REALLY see, or are you pretending?" Suddenly, I realized this is the beginning of true intelligence and rational thinking. This is the beginning of not believing in Santa. This is yet another way that she is pulling away, and I am having to let go. It breaks my heart and mends it, all at the same time.
        I feel enormous sense of pride when my children show independence (like that field trip moment in that video I recently posted), but also a void that is gradually getting bigger. At the same time, that void is being filled with an entirely new relationship with them.

        Your story reminded me of my Mom and I in the bathroom. We'd get ready together, and then I'd stand next to her. For a while, I fit under her arm. Then, my hear reached her armpit. Then, I passed her shoulder. Now, I am taller than she is. We loved looking at ourselves, and marveling over growth. I see that same marvel with my kids. Strong stuff.
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          Jun 8 2013: These are the "AHA" moments for little ones.
          Yes, it is wonderful to realize that the kids are now aware that you are playing with words. But at the same time you are sad because 'innocence' is gone.

          I used to play a game with my son every morning, I used to grab his right ear and say, "hey, this ear belongs to me", and I'd take it and hide it behind my back. He'd come after me to get it back. Then one day, he realized his ear was not 'gone', and he just laughed, but that was the end of the game.

          Yes, we feel pride, but still, to see them grow happens so fast....that is why you have to enjoy them when they're little, and play and have fun. All too soon reality comes in.

          I did not have this type of relationship w/ my mom Lizanne.
          She was not like me. No hugs, no kisses, no talks, no games.
          A totally different generation, so so different.
          And still today, we are world's apart.
          My kids see this and wonder how I am the person that I am.

          I use this as a teachable moment to explain to them that you do NOT have to become who your parents are. You have choices. I chose to be me. And to love them and have a close relationship with them, because that is what I would have wanted growing up, and I did not have it. So I chose to be different from my mother.

          Strong stuff for sure Lizanne. Being a mom is awesome!
      • Jun 9 2013: Shoot, I'm out of thumbs up for you this week, Mary. You've been striking all the right cords with me this week!!

        I just read Jah's comment about his absent father, who made a similar decision, to be unlike his father. Your kids are so lucky to have you as their Mom, Mary!
        As much as I feel the need to be an example to my kids, my daughter in particular, I agree, that my kids are free to be the people they ARE, that they never need imitate me, 'just' because I'm their mother. Allowing that freedom to choose, and watching them go their own way, is the best part of being a parent.
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    Jun 8 2013: As I thought about this topic, I came to realize also, that a side effect of growing older is dealing with how other people perceive you.

    Sometimes, the older one gets, the less important in society we seem to become.
    It is like we get 'transparent'....noone can see us.

    And still, other times, the older we get, the more people see us.
    We get louder, and call attention to ourselves.....where we are not transparent at all, but still some people might try hard to avoid us.
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      Jun 9 2013: "Sometimes, the older one gets, the less important in society we seem to become.
      It is like we get 'transparent'....noone can see us."
      I think it's a cultural thing Mary. Some cultures seem to worship youth and physical beauty.
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        Jun 9 2013: That reminds me of the quote:

        "Youth is wasted on the young".

        I do not think it is a cultural thing altogether, though Pabitra.

        I have seen young people stand up and move away from the elderly because they are grossed out by them.

        I have also known young people who absolutely have no desire to associate with those that are not of their age group. They see the older ones as "out-of-date"

        What they fail to understand, and what they fail to perceive, is that we ALL get older, and that an old person today, was a young person years ago, and has alot of valuable things to share.

        It is only a foolish person who feels that it is beneath them to be around older people. And foolishness, in mho, has no culture to speak of.

        It is sad to hear older ones speaking of being disliked by the young. It breaks my heart.
    • Jun 9 2013: Mary, did you see Jane Fonda's "Life's Third Act"?
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        Jun 9 2013: I'll be honest with you.....when this talk came out I started listening to it, but then I stopped, and did not finish it.

        I just listened to it in it's entirety now.
        She mentions alot of wonderful things.

        I found it interesting that she mentions that older women are the largest demographic group in the world.......what did you think of her ending words Lizanne?

        She states:

        "If we can go back and redefine ourselves and become whole, this will create a cultural shift....."

        Is she trying to imply that older women are lesses individuals lacking something?
        I think she is stereotyping women.
        What do you think?
        • Jun 10 2013: My impression, Mary, was that she was conquering that stereotype, not enforcing it.

          There is, I think, a sort of society 'norm' that says, once you're over 60, you should just sit in front of your window and look at your geraniums. You're not allowed to dream anymore, achieve anymore.

          When I heard this talk, I was reminded of conversations I've had with my Mom. She is 67, but feels she now has the time, the space and the energy to do things she aspired to do decades ago. Our longevity seems to be increasing with every generation (I heard on the news that kids who are born now, can live to be 100!), there IS more time and space and freedom in that 'third age', and in future, perhaps even a fourth!

          Her final words, though, I interpreted to mean: if women can view their lives as a whole, instead of viewing them as three separate stages, they can utilize their true potential, causing a shift in, as I see it, personal validity.

          Anyway, I shared it with my Mom, and it truly inspired her. I think there are some women out there who need to hear this. I have a feeling, Mary, that you ave already mastered the idea of taking full advantage of your life!
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        Jun 10 2013: Thanks for the reply Lizanne.

        You know, I also was very impressed by the talk.
        I am still dealing with raising children, so I am still in the second act....although my age fools alot of people....alot of my friends are grandparents already.

        I do think she is very inspiring. It was confusing to me the way she spoke and said "become whole". But I think, taking the entire talk into view, then your take on the ending is reasonable.

        I think lifestyle and genes play a big role in the quality of life we enjoy in life's third act.
        Just yesterday a long time friend of mine passed away. Leaving behind a little daughter. So sad. Some of us do not even reach life's third act Lizanne.
        • Jun 10 2013: Same here, the third act seems years away still... But even my second act feels like my first. I think that's the difference - you and I, if I may say so, seem to share the idea of seeing life as one thing. Others seem to want to split it up. My Mom is like that. I was, a few years ago. I talked about my life in terms of before and after I moved to Europe, or before and after I became a Mom, or before and after my accident. Then, I realized, these things were all just the stories of my life, and that my life was one big journey, and those stories were the paths I took. Taking different paths didn't mean my life was cut up into blocks. Whatever story I was 'in' at that moment, I was still me, for Pete's sake.

          I'm so sorry for your loss, Mary. I wrote a song about a friend of mine, who passed away when she was 22. It gives me the chills to think of her now.

          You said in another conversation, "Life is s very beautiful", it truly is. In beauty, and in grief. Everything counts.
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        Jun 11 2013: I think that little by little, our life is the sum of it's parts.

        If you had asked me 30 years ago if I ever invisioned myself writing back and forth to people all over the world and discussing all kinds of subjects via a computer screen, I would have said..."Ah, get outta here, you're crazy!" I wonder what the next few years will bring? Can't wait to find out.

        Life is sure beautiful.
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      Jun 7 2013: LaMar, I think that you reflect maturity in your answer.
      Sadly, not everyone who grows older matures.
      And, even though their hair might be white with age, their demeanor and attitude towards life reflects immaturity, and lack of wisdom, discernment, and insight.

      Thank you for your thoughts.
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    Jun 9 2013: Pabitera Mukhopadhyay, my cousin, :)

    I think we move along the same path in our mind. I was down with pain for a long time. Then, I made a discovery, a life changing secrete.

    Remove all processed sugar from your diet. All of it!

    I'm starting to feel like a teenager again.

    That sore, tough skin that surrounds my big toe is turning into pink healthy flesh. I walked out on the wet grass this morning and enjoyed the thrill of it under my feet. The burning pain in my feet that made me worry about my blood sugar level was gone. I can breathe, deeply and calmly. My muscles can relax. It's great.

    If I continue to see progress like this, at 62 I think I could reach 90, easy, and perhaps still physically enjoy life.

    I'm beginning to believe that processed sugar is a poison for the human body.

    This all started when I put a few grains of sugar in a slide of Paramecium I was culturing. The paramecium, which normally move pretty fast slowed down and finally stopped dead. It made me think. Is sugar doing this to the microbes in my body? The sugar in fruit and vegetables don't appear to cause such effects. I've lost 22 lbs in four weeks.

    Is this a cure for old age?
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      Jun 7 2013: Kate!! Hi.

      I googled "cartoons about old age". So many funny drawings and funny cartoons to look at.
      I think having a sense of humor helps us with growing old.

      I can genuinely empathize with those that have chronic diseases, and struggle in their golden years.
      Illness is one of the side effects of aging that wears away at our life force.
      Sometimes it becomes unbearable to wake up every morning with pain all over our body.
      Other times it's the relying on others to help us out with tasks.

      Yes, how true, the alternative to aging is not as exciting.

      It was Maurice Chevalier who said: "Old age isn't so bad, when you consider the alternative".

      Good to see you again Kate.
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    Jun 6 2013: Consequences can be good or bad..Side effects usually means harmful effects.
    Pabitra is that what you ask?

    Except unavoidable physical limitations as a consequence of aging, growing older is a wonderful and rewarding journey.
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      Jun 7 2013: Hi Adesh !
      I know what you mean. Yes, that is the popular meaning of side effects. But actually side effects mean secondary, undesirable effects of a process. Undesirable, but not necessarily harmful.
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    Jun 6 2013: Pabitra, I think perhaps your reaction to this talk was the same as many of our reactions.
    I did not agree with the sweeping generalizations that she made.

    What are the side effects of getting older?

    We may become happier, we may become sadder.
    We may become bolder and outspoken, we may become timid and withdrawn.
    We may begin eating healthier, we may start eating what we want, forget healthy!

    We may become more patient and tolerant, we may become impatient and demanding.
    We may become kind and considerate, we may become rude and ornery
    We may become open-minded, we may become closed-minded.

    I am hoping to, when I become older (clears throat), to display the positive side effects on my list.
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    Jun 6 2013: Suddenly the only one shorter than Mom in the family is the dog, and there needs to be a different argument for who gets the most crowded seat in the car. Kids are the ones who get things for Mom from the high shelves rather than Mom reaching things for the kids.

    The balance of time spent reflecting on what life has been like and what life will be like may switch in many people, as some of the big unknowns in a personal life are resolved.
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      Jun 6 2013: "as some of the big unknowns in a personal life are resolved".......

      yes Fritzie.....I see it alot among our elderly friends
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    Jun 6 2013: I think it makes you argue with strangers on the internet.
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      Jun 6 2013: Isn't that part of being sophisticated?
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        Jun 6 2013: Yes it is less patience for "sophistication"
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        Jun 6 2013: Good one Mary....LOL!!!
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          Jun 6 2013: I couldn't I had been reading the other conversation on what it means to be sophisticated.....All in good fun. :)
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    Jul 5 2013: Pabitra......great conversation.
    I enjoyed participating in it.

    I hate the fact that really good topics get pushed back on the pages.....
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    Jul 5 2013: .My answer:

    I lose my invalid (harmful) happiness more and more.
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    Jun 9 2013: [b]Hi[/b]
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    Jun 7 2013: Growing old has some really good side-effects. One is you accumulate more information and don't have to dwell on stuff as long as younger people to reach a more, informed conclusion.

    You don't have to make excuses for your blunderings: “Don't bother him. He's just old.”.

    The one side-effect that has major implications about growing old is.... you die.
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      Jun 9 2013: Why John, are youngs immortals? :)
      It may look negative but the fact of the matter is we are dying each day, because we are destined to die the minute we are born.
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        Jun 9 2013: Yes, I understand this completely. :)
        I don't think of it as a negative thing. Who want to slowly degrade and live forever?

        So, how about you. does the idea of growing old and dying bother you in any way?

        Nice avatar. :]
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          Jun 9 2013: Thanks :) We look like cousins avatarwise,
          It will be untrue if I say growing old and dying don't bother me anyway. They do. But I'd say that botheration has changed qualitatively over time.
          I am 51 years old. I give myself another 30 years (anything extra will be bonus!) and the whole concept of health, physique and productivity needs to be reviewed at this age, I guess.
          I am preparing for a graceful exit and come to think of it, not afraid of imagining a time when I am no more.
          Nice to interact with you. :)
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    Jun 7 2013: I think I should draw your attention to the fact that my question is about getting older, not about getting old. Old age is subjective, but I think I am getting older each day than yesterday and for now I am younger than tomorrow. Supposing our time on earth is finite, such realization can sometimes precipitate on our psyche and color our life views. LaMar has explained this realization nicely.
    There can be many but one side effect of getting older is that you can tell the lies from truths - even the beautiful ones. It’s a necessary loss you suffer in exchange for wisdom. It’s a strange revelation as well, because you get to admit that some lies had been too beautiful to fall for - they colored your time despite delusion. Wisdom lifts the crystal ball you were using to see the world, that’s great; but sky looks lesser blue, trees lesser green and coffee smells ordinary. You lose the awe of your laundry bill. Prophets say that its better to live with an humble truth than running after an wonderful lie. Science argues that life and amazing complexity has a dumb truth of biological selection behind it. Side effect of getting older is that you get richer in the evidence side and poorer as an explorer. In the process you get averaged out on life - lesser peaks and monotonous plateau of dying imagination.
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    Jun 6 2013: Hello Dear Pabitra,
    I can only guess, because I am not getting older! That being said, there appears to be a LOT more very young people in this world, and I am constantly running out of ice packs and ibuprophen:>)
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      Jun 7 2013: My dear Colleen,
      I have yet to see a more youthful smile from a grey head darling ! And my whole family believes that :) I don't want you to grow old at all. But supposing one gets old, what do you think changes in him/her apart from wrinkled skin and aching joints?
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        Jun 9 2013: My Dear Pabitra, you are really a very sweet chimp:>)

        As I age, I feel more balanced. I accept and appreciate the aging process, and as with all other stages of the life experience, I will joyfully go along for the ride with as much courage, consciousness and love as I can create in each and every moment. Each stage of the life adventure has provided different opportunities to learn, grow and evolve, and I suspect the aging process will do the same:>)

        For me, life is an adventure Pabitra, I think you know that. I will continue to live the life adventure with gusto, until I take my very last breath. And I don't know exactly what that means....I don't have to know now....I continue to be curious, with love in my heart:>)

        Let me introduce you to one of my role models:>)