Friday, September 16, 2016

AGE AND HOPE







One of my biggest thrills in the last ten years was attending a cycling/hiking camp for women. I was one of the oldest ones there, but I didn't deny myself any activity. At the end of the week, one of the 30-years old piped up in our last get-together and exclaimed, "I want to be just like Martha when I grow up."

I just celebrated another big birthday this month, which made me ponder age and hope. I missed a memorial service for a high school friend who matured into a much-admired woman known for her activism and her love of other people. Instead of the memorial, I attended the wedding of one of the daughters of friends.

At the wedding, I spent an evening observing young people in their twenties -- bright, kind, sophisticated, ready to take charge of the world. I admired their self-confidence and their willingness to be outspoken in their beliefs. I enjoyed listening to them speak with their newly acquired knowledge and to express their own vulnerabilities.

Do I have advice for them? No, I realize that I don't. My advice is out-dated, like asking my grandmother how to use a new washing machine when all she had used is one with a wringer. My experiences helped to make me who I am today, but I am from a different world than the people growing up now. All I can do is present a model of growing old with grace and intention.

At the reception, I sat next to a woman who just turned 90. She participates in a Spinning class three times a week and does stretch yoga as well. We carried on a lively conversation. Late at night, she was out on the dance floor with everyone else. I thought to myself, "I want to be just like Eidee when I grow up."




9 comments:

  1. Your story delights me. I'll bet you were lively - enjoying yourself and interested in what others had to say at that cycling/hiking camp. Perhaps that's where we met? Yes, I can believe a young lady admired you!

    A month ago you asked, here, to name what women we admire. I've been thinking about this...not coming up with renowned women. Instead, I admire character traits that 'ordinary' woman might have: sincerity and an infectious faith. My admired woman has a twinkle here and a tear there, because she feels a reverence toward life, from the littlest to the largest, including her own. Maybe she records her reverence in actions, maybe in creations; it'll show. Your lively 90 year old acquaintance sounds like she still marvels at life. Yes, I want to be like her as I grow up, too!

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    1. I like your thoughts about women you admire. Thank you for taking the time to post your response!
      And yes, somehow we have reconnected, but we first met at the Vermont camp. What a treat that was for me.

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  2. Happy Birthday and keep aging with grace and intention!

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    1. Thank you, Elizabeth. I hope to follow my own advice!

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  3. It's nice to have an older role model. I enjoyed the story!

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    1. Thanks, Jan. You are another model worth following.

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    2. I won't miss your birthday next year because I put it on the calendar! And we did have our lunch two days after!

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  4. I loved your work this week but I do disagree just a little bit about your comment on “Do I have advice for them?” You answered “No” but I think we all have little bits and pieces of information that provide insight and learning to young and old and in betweens. Sometimes this advice is sought, but the best kind of teaching you can do is by example, your smile, your words of encouragement, your steady and dependable work output, your love of life and on and on. Technology is different from one generation to the next and the challenges that the younger generation faces as a result are sometimes beyond our comprehension. But the human experience that we’ve gained over our lifetime is worth so much to the younger generation. The best scenario is that we sit back and enjoy, learn, respect and grow from each other, young and old alike.

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    1. Mary, I really like your last sentence best: The best scenario is that we sit back and enjoy, learn, respect and grow from each other...." I think that idea is an important concept to remember all your life. Thanks for commenting!

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