Who I Am...

Welcome to my English Website dedicated to CREATIVE AGING.

 

 

      With this invitation to my new English Website, I would like to greet again my friends from the other side of the Atlantic. If you are one of them and if perhaps, when passing the Apthorp on Broadway and 79th Street you have ever wondered how and where I am, you certainly came to the right place. I am still not only alive, but also delighted with my life. By clicking Longevityisvaluable.com my Blog in English which came into existence a few months ago, will automatically appear.  


   
 Alive, and really enjoying  my longevity. I am aware that I do look my age, no matter what anyone tells me. My back curvature, age spots and deep laugh lines bear witness to it each time I pass a mirror. Perhaps, since I do not act my age and carefully cover up the scars of past malignancies, I could get away with pretending that I am younger but I cannot think of any reason why I should waste my energy on doing so.   

 

 Poland, Gąski - Personal Development Support Center MAKARENA
Celebrating Life during a Galla Party at the end of a week long workshop for 24 people in 2016.

     I live alone now and have done so ever since, after 31 years of marriage, at the age of 52, I suddenly became a widow. Alone by choice I may add, because I believe that creative aging is best done as a solo performance. Yes, of course it can be performed as a duet, in which there is reciprocal and unconditional love, trust and understanding from a two legged partner, however mine came from a small four legged one, a dog named Buzzi who loved me unconditionally for almost sixteen years and who like I, befriended strangers easily, loved adventures in the form of new smells, sights and tastes, and for whom traveling the world in search of them was a passion. Yes, with a deep sigh I must say now that I still remember with sadness the way he and I always wagged our tails whenever we would see each other in the distance or even more, when we went for long walks together in Riverside Park.

     I am a mother of two sons who are both successful, in their carriers and their marriages and who are senior citizens now, which I find absolutely amazing. I also have six grandchildren who I love dearly and am very proud of, and who, I may add with joy, love me as well. Five of them are over the age of 35. I am very proud of them but readily admit that I do not fully understand their lives and consequently never interfere with them. They all do the same, calling to make sure that I am well but, never quite knowing where I am or what exactly it is that I am really doing. I simply adore the charming assemblage of the most darling, intelligent and beautiful great-grandchildren which they have gifted my life with. The pictures of their sweet smiling faces dress the wall above my computer however, both time and geography, prevent us from hugs and kisses.

     At this moment there are 16 of them 8 boys and 8 girls. Since a few will be reaching twenty before I reach 100, one never knows….. I certainly hope that the occupant of the white House that year will deserve my visit.

     I have and always have had a high threshold of pain and even a higher ability to pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again. The footsteps in the sand of my past convince me that so far I have never missed a step and I hope never to do it in the future.

     I weigh 30 pounds less now than I did at 20 and measure 4 inches less. I eat everything I like, providing that it doesn’t walk on four legs and I never so far took a sleeping pill, a painkiller, or a pill for depression. It would seem like a perfect picture of health if I stopped here and omitted my two bouts with lymph node cancer resulting in two Radical mastectomies. I somehow was able to defeat both without chemotherapy. First One in 1975, when it was as yet unknown, and second one in 2002 when at 73, I chose quality rather than quantity of life, and refused it. Just to end this on a happy thought; the physician who treated me for fifty years, retired five years ago and after my last checkup said to me with a smile, ”Don’t worry about your health, you are indestructible.

     I can easily recall how often in the past I used, or at least wanted to use, the phrase: “thank you Mother I‘ll do it myself”. It was never a refusal of love but rather a plea for autonomy which I have always equated with freedom. Now I often use a similar phrase, with a grateful smile of course: “Thank you Darling I’ll do it myself” while I assure my loving friends and family that I will ask for help when I need it. Of course the reasoning behind both of those pleas is identical. My need for freedom of my own choices had not lessened when I became eighty. Quite the opposite was true, on that day I decided to skydive. 

     My life can be described on many levels and it contains adventures spanning almost a century. I was an active participant in events that shook the world we live in and brought complete chaos into my childhood and adolescence during the five years of Nazi’s occupation of Warsaw. My memory of those long ago, often tragic, bits of my life is excellent and it doesn't seem to lose any of its vibrancy with age. I have dedicated most of my blogs, in English and in Polish to those memories and hope to publish them one day.  But, what about my short term memory? You may ask, has it not deteriorated lately? Perhaps, however, was I not always called an absent minded artist who would get so involved with whatever she was doing, that she simply forgot to sleep as well as eat for more than twenty hours?

     Forgetting words and names of people has plagued me most of my life so, a very long time ago I learned a trick which still serves me quite well. I simply go through the letters of the alphabet, and coax my memory into bringing forth the missing name or word after which, without delay I turn my thoughts from FEAR of the dreaded ALZH. disease TO LOVE, remembering the recent game of bridge or scrabble, when my memory left nothing to be desired.  

   
      I believe that Aging Creatively means, not allowing THE FEAR OF AGING to take away our sense of humor, curiosity, imagination and creativity, or to prevent us from being able to experience the feeling of joy at simply being fully alive.

     After a lifetime spent as a wife, mother, artist, and book shop owner in the suburbs of Manhattan, I found myself at the age of 50,  living as a semi-retired artist in an apartment on the beach in South Florida. All seemed to be well for two years, and then, it suddenly all changed. After 3I years of marriage, with my two sons, getting settled in their own lives, my husband, suddenly, at 65, suffered a major heart attack, and I, at 52, became a widow.

     After a period of deep sorrow and fear of the unknown when I realized that I had absolutely no idea what to do with the rest of my life. I came to the realization that whatever happens to me from then on, was entirely up to me. Somehow I also knew that the change which was about to happen will have to be the most potentially fulfilling one if I wanted to go on living. 

     And so I walked on the beach at sunrise every day, examining my options and waited for an answer. Luckily I did not have to wait long. Six months later, thanks to a recommendation of a friend I trusted, I found myself at a weekend workshop led by Dr. Jean Houston entitled The Possible Human. 

     That Workshop which I describe under Workshops as “Spirituality 101”. was attended by 460 people and was held in the ballroom of the Statler Hotel in New York in January of 1982. Within one year its name was changed to Mystery School, which I attended for 25 years, for nine monthly weekends each year. During those years I definitely had given myself the freedom of going through a change which resulted in my life becoming completely new, happy and very full. I like to call myself now, for want of a better name a coach who nurtures Souls.

     I did it by submerging myself in addition to Jean Houston and Peggy Rubin, who guided my paradigm shift, Elaine De Beauport, who made me befriend my brain, Ralph Waldo Emerson who made Transcendentalism into the only religion I find acceptable, end last but not least, Colin Tipping whose method called Radical SPEND ONE Forgiveness has impressed me sufficiently to spend one year to become its coach in 2003 and, than most successfully introduce it in Poland.

I COACH PEOPLE by TRYING TO HELP THEM BECOME ALL THAT THEY CAN BE, WHILE THEY MAKE A POSITIVE CHANGE IN THE WORLD.
 

 

    

 
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This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. +48 880 529 794
+01 914 281 0240
Irena Rutenberg
    IrenaRutenberg