An age-old reaction

Dear FOFriends,

During the last four days–ever since we posted my last blog “When I’m 84”–I’ve been thanked, applauded and congratulated, as well as berated, called dispassionate, judgmental, cruel, disdainful and unthinking.

I never dreamed the post would evoke such emotion in my FOFriends, but I’m glad it did. Never before in my life have I thought to the future like I’m doing now. When I was 20, I didn’t for a moment think about what I’d be like when I turned 40. On my 40th birthday, the furthest thing on my mind was my physical state at 60. But now that I’m 65, 85 seems like it’s around the corner.

Of course, I don’t know what physical travails I will face and surely I won’t be able to avoid all of them just because I take Pilates, eat (fairly) well, don’t smoke or drink. But I will try and that’s all I was saying.

To all who liked my blog, thank you. And to those in whom it evoked venom, I’m sorry. That’s not what I intended. Anyway, a comment on the blog from Deborah warmed my heart. I wanted to share it with you so it may warm yours.

Health and happiness today and every day forward!




I understand what you are trying to relate to us, because I was becoming one of the people you do not want to ever be, and I began to realize I had to change. I was actually younger than 60 when I became that old person; but I had already gone through so much that my “Real Life” real age was 117.

I was widowed at 40, with three sad, angry, willful daughters aged 11, 9, and 8, to raise. My parents and only brother were deceased. Our only extended family was my in-laws who blamed me for my husband’s suicide; and were angry I would not move my family to a different state to live by them, so they threatened to break my family apart.I was constantly fighting off their hateful words and meanness.

Dear Geri, I feel honored you want to post my story on your blog. As you requested, I have attached a picture of myself; and in order to avoid any confusion, I must tell you: I am not the bride in this picture! The bride is my youngest, beautiful daughter, Krista, who married October 16, 2011, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Even in October it was extremely warm at their beautiful outdoor wedding and dinner, so my poor ‘ole hair lost its style! Thank You for your wonderful blog. Stay safe and YOUNG.

At 49 I had my first heart attack, followed by breast cancer at 52 and a tumor in my head at 53. I had 16 stents placed in my right coronary artery, that eventually completely blocked, so I had to have quadruple bypass at 58, when I was also diagnosed a diabetic. The bypass arteries also blocked entirely, but my body grew a corollary artery; and that, along with medication, help me continue to live.

Arthritis is at home in several areas of my body; and I needed a knee replacement over five years ago, but my heart doctor would not allow it.

In pain and feeling fatigued, I became more and more unhappy, lazy, overweight, cranky, opinionated, negative and alone. I had become a hermit with food stains on her clothes. I did not even like to be with myself.

I recognized I had to change as much about myself as I possibly could. I wanted to help myself have as quality a life as possible; and to be more welcome in the company of others.

I had quit smoking in 2008; and now I had to quit eating, and I needed to get rid of other bad habits. I was hooked on Cokes, but I quit drinking them; I began counting, and regulating, my carbohydrate intake. I also got on a better sleep schedule, started walking and participating in water aerobics, at a local gym.

I got out a little more; and even though I still lived on a restricted income, I would just window-shop or people watch, or go to the library or bookstore and read awhile. I am writing and reading more now; and I feel purpose once again.

After I lost 48 pounds, I felt better physically and mentally; and people I care about saw a pleasant change in me.

Now I am a sixty three year old happier person, who possesses an amazing view of something I had not seen in quite a while: a future.

I do not want to be that old person again, no matter how long I am blessed to live. I will do all I can to keep from acting as old as I may get; I applaud you for doing your best to participate in life your way; and I pray if either of us do stumble from our desired course, we will be forgiven because we have done our best.–Deborah Shirley

0 Responses to “An age-old reaction”

  1. Susann says:

    Hi just found this blog after being reffered from a Blogger who is young to be my grandaughter. I am not sure I would call this blog inspirational – maybe a lesson learned or a cautionary tale? I know ill health can come to any one, at any age and at any level of fitness, but we need to look after ourselves and try to prevent ill health in the first place. Kudos to you my friend for having the guts to fight it and to take advice given on living a healthy life style.

    Just my opinion thats all

    • Geri Brin says:

      Hi Susann,

      Thank your young Blogger friend for recommending my blog. I would agree this particular post isn’t necessarily inspirational, but hopefully other posts are. I write what I experience and feel and believe will resonate with others at my stage of life. Sometimes the posts make my FOFriends mad, sometimes they applaud what I’m saying. I am always glad when I hear either side.

      I hope you come back.


  2. Judi says:

    this is a depressing blog…bye bye

    • Geri Brin says:

      Some women, including myself, think it’s an inspiring blog. I’m sorry that you found one woman’s story about overcoming challenges depressing. When a woman says: “Now I am a sixty three year old happier person, who possesses an amazing view of something I had not seen in quite a while: a future,” that makes me happy.


      • Marsha Calhoun says:

        Agreed. To each her own. Mark me down as one who likes to hear of women courageously taking charge of that which they can.

  3. Marsha Calhoun says:

    Deborah’s story is, to use an overworked word, inspiring. We all have to take it as it comes, and some of it is pretty scary, and sometimes we can’t choose to vanquish a challenge because the challenge is actually stronger than we are. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t continue to use what we can for as long as we can, and strive as best we can to enjoy and contribute to whatever we can!

  4. Joni says:

    Isn’t it what great journalism is all about? You provoked great discussion through your previous post and I love your honesty and vulnerability in your writings. If your dissatisfied readers were able to hear your voice and see your facial expressions the issues would have been cleared up so much more quickly.

    Don’t let ’em take the wind from your sail!


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