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."