Flotsam on life’s shores.

Milo at peace with the world

Milo at peace with the world

As the years roll by, does life get even better?  Notice how the word ‘even’ got inserted? Is positiveness  finally getting its way? There are two ways to look at life. One is to find the good, the other is to find the ‘even’ better. That is at least what the happiness gurus try and tell us. It is amazing how many books are written about ‘happiness’. It is even more amazing that they sell. I would be utterly ashamed or at least embarrassed to line up at the book counter, handing over my chosen book on ‘ How to find serious happiness’ at $32,95  written by a Dr,  Kleinkind. I mean at nineteen years of age, it might be possible but at seventy- five, it seems ridiculously belated.

Objectively looking at the psychology of happiness, older people are often happier than the young, even though  life of the old is inexorably getting towards the end. It is puzzling and it seems to contradict the idea that life is better and preferably when being young.   After all,  the world’s population is forever aiming to remain young. It might also be that the old are happy BECAUSE it is getting towards the end, having survived all the good and the bad and somehow made the best of it. Almost like the satisfaction of a bricklayer or a midwife having done their jobs well. We sit back and survey life’s foibles and triumphs. It might not have been perfect but it was Ok and at times even pretty good. In any case, it is not as if dying is so unusual. One might as well make the best of it. There are not many books about on how to avoid that last bit of life.

The sun is out.

The sun is out.

It seems a paradox that old people whose lifespan is always shorter, who often have medical problems, whose sexual life is diminishing, suffer memory loss, lose their driving ability, are often happier than the younger generation at the beginning of life.

The young are in robust health, have sex 7/24  like berserk rabbits, drive like maniacs, chop and change partners, can eat huge rump-steaks or gorge on mayonnaise laden bratwursts ad infinitum, yet are often queuing up on the Quack’s couch; “I am not happy, Doc, I am not happy.”   “Yes, I understand, it is difficult. Have you tried getting away from yourself a bit more as I suggested, last time?”  “That will be all for today. That will be $ 450.-. Thank you.”  “Thank you.”

Perhaps the old can indulge their free time in hobbies, friendships, cook lovely meals while sipping a wine, travel around and watch people rushing by from a park bench. They can sit in the garden and watch the salvia grow. They might be free of  the upbringing of children, do not have to nurture ambitions or having to achieve anything….. and find it a great relief!

A heaven of garden

A heaven of garden

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21 Responses to “Flotsam on life’s shores.”

  1. Patti Kuche Says:

    Hormones drive the crazy merry-go-round until one day it slows down and we’re like Milo, at peace with the world. If we’re lucky!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. auntyuta Says:

    Beautiful pictures and beautiful writing, Gerard. I am glad you feel okay with your life the way it is right now. No need to spend money on happiness books or on a quack! 🙂
    I know, anything that disturbs the peace can be upsetting. However, wherever there is darkness we can look for the light, can’t we; even in old age!🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Uta. We have been busy with trying to find a nice place for the Christmas school holidays with our three grandkids. We booked a place at Nelson’s Bay.
      My old age is there but it doesn;t really sink in till I get a glimpse in the mirror after stepping out of the shower. My Goodness, will it get any worse ? What will nurse think?

      Liked by 1 person

      • auntyuta Says:

        Not to worry. Any nurse is going to think you’re a lovable, presentable old gentleman!🙂
        You’re doing well with getting in early for the bookings for the Christmas school holidays. Three grandkids: Spending time with all of them, for sure is going to be a very special treat, for them and for you. the grandparents.🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        I hope it will all work out. The place that we booked doesn’t have Wi-Fi. A blessing in disguise seeing the kids are forever playing with their I-phones, racking up bills.
        We envisage lots of active kids, riding skate boards or waves on the beach. I’ll be in charge of the pancakes.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. nonsmokingladybug Says:

    I love this so much, I would like to take part of the text with a big link to your blog if you are up for it?

    As for happiness, guess what? I have a happy cream, or at least that’s what my husband calls it. Although, chocolate makes me quite happy.

    Like

  4. rod Says:

    I like talking with young people. As far as I can tell, this is not a case of living vicariously through them.
    Like you, I don’t much care for seeing myself in mirrors,
    though I never have, even when young. Mirrors remind us of our own existence, which I prefer to put to the back of my mind.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I slink past mirrors. I can’t even unscrew them.

      I met an elderly man today from New Zealand who was visiting our small town for a school re-union. He told me that many of his old school friends ended up making a life in Australia. I was sitting on a bench waiting for Helvi to finish looking at a second hand charity shop that is trying to raise money for a local hospice.

      I had a nice chat to this NZ man. He parted when his wife appeared and wished me the best of luck and hoped that Australia would win.

      I thanked him. It turns out there is going to be a world cup match for rugby between Australia and New Zealand. I wasn’t aware of that match.

      Like

  5. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Life’s good at this age, Gerard. Like you, I expect it has a whole bunch to do with perspective. What’s the old saying: We get too old too soon and too smart too late. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  6. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Gerard, Gerard, You put it all so clearly. Btu you wrote that in old age we old folks are happier. I can’t say the same for myself. Truth be known I’ve never been totally happy and content. I’ve always worried about something and that does not make me happy.

    Any yes, after age 70, avoid all mirrors at all costs. Nothing as ugly as a body that is sagging, bagging and dragging.🙂

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The idea that we should strive to be happy at all times is what drives much of Western cultures. It makes a lot of money.
      Everybody is different and happiness has a wide range that might also include much sadness and a propensity for some to reflect and introspect much more than others. It is our difference what makes us unique to others.
      There are no rules for happiness. Some of the best comedians can suffer bottomless sadness.
      It is never easy Yvonne, for all of us!

      Liked by 1 person

      • berlioz1935 Says:

        It is much easier to be unhappy and when one is, there is is no doubt about it. Unhappiness leads to depression.
        Happiness is not easily recognised. It could lead to euphoria, but then, in my opinion, is not happiness anymore.

        We know it exists but more like a soap bubble. When the feeling is gone you know that it was impossible to catch and hold.

        I never strove to be happy and there is no recipe. But there are recipes for cakes and when one is a success there is a moment of happiness.

        Like

      • petspeopleandlife Says:

        Yes sir. You are correct on all accounts. Excellent observations of human nature and what makes us “tick.”

        Liked by 1 person

  7. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    I was quite surprised a few years ago to hear two lady friends say they were not happy. I have never given it any thought either pro or con. I always figured things are what they are and you get on with it. Happiness isn’t a given and not up to anyone else to make it happen. It it’s broken–fix it. It’s too easy to just give up. As to old age, it may not be easy, but all in all we have won part of the race so that’s something. Each time I thing that I can’t do something I try a little harder and eventually get it done. Life just takes a little longer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      It is (happy) really something that can lose itself in the flow of life. But, ‘happy’ will rear itself up, given half a chance. A bit like a coffee. Sometimes it might be bitter, at other time a magic elixer for a good start of the day.There is no law that says we have to be happy all the time. A good dose of misery has never done me any harm.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. greenwritingroom.com Says:

    Hmm, we make our own pressure as we age, but it is nothing like the pressure the young live with. I wouldn’t go back even if I could.

    Liked by 1 person

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