Friday, April 4, 2014

The Age of Grace

I was reading a post by my writing buddy, A Writer Called Wanda about the aging process. She told a story about aging gracefully and it reminded me of my great aunts and my grandmother. 

I grew up surrounded by these wonderful women who I just thought were all beautiful, genteel, dignified Southern ladies. They knew how to dress and they spoke so sweetly and seemed so content and did things. They were great fun to be around and they all laughed a lot, lovely lady-like laughs but genuine laughter all the same. I just loved to see them and I wanted to be like them when I got old. 

I'm there and I've come to realize that maybe I did them a disservice. They made it look so easy and I thought it would be. I've started to think I did something wrong. It isn't easy. I'm grumpy and intolerant and annoyed by people. 

I know their life stories but didn't think about the issues they might have dealt with when I was young as being issues. I do now. In hindsight, which is always crystal clear, they had to deal with the same kind of problems I deal with - illnesses, children, jobs, spouses, war, death - and yet they seemed to be so ... together. So, I'm now asking, how did they do it?  And how do I come out at the end with the same dignity they had despite the problems they had to deal with? I am nothing like those wonderful ladies and it upsets me because they were the ideal. My ideal. 

I think the difference is in our expectations. Their whole outlook on life and what it was all about was totally different from this generation. They lived through the depression and scarcity. Through struggles I've never and will never experience when they were young. The world was different and people's brains were wired differently. They lived a different lifestyle. There was no handouts. It was do or die. So they did. They became strong and courageous women capable of building airplanes or spending hours in sewing plants making shirts or hoeing in fields to grow their own food. As they grew older they knew that aging is inevitable, but aging with grace and style is a choice. 

 I'm a wimp. I had superheros for aunts. 

5 comments:

  1. Great post! Glad I kinda inspired it. It is funny how we think about age when we're young.

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    1. LOL, thank you for the inspiration! I had about two paragraphs written in your comments and thought, "What am I doing!"

      I think the old saw is accurate "Age is wasted on youth." If we could see ... well, we can't

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  2. Very good post - and I expect you won't understand that to upcoming generations, you appear to have strength and grace, too.

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  3. I can tell you exactly how they did it. They had each other. They were all in the same boat, all kept each other accountable, all made each other laugh and by that, they shouldered each others burdens. They were ideal because they were collectively able to be ideal.

    Unfortunately I do not have that support or friendships in my life at this point and it is very difficult. I am working on it and praying that God would give me some friends like that in my real life. In the meantime, I have online buddies that give me a little break.

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    1. You may be right,Chris. My grandmother's family were a very happy group. Every get together was just joyous with them all. They were a large group of siblings and I think growing up, Two died in childhood. But still they were all just a jolly bunch. I loved being around them all.

      And you always are welcome to pop down here. Let me advise you now. Take every opportunity your to make connections in your area. I wrapped myself in my family. It was what I wanted, what I had growing up. No one told me they would all be gone one day and I'd be sitting in sick and alone in a strange town with no support system. It is hell.

      So, go find groups. Crochet groups, sewing groups, book groups, writing groups, join as many as you can, get everyone's phone numbers and send little thank you cares here and there to let them know you appreciate them. In 10 years you'll be busy and you'll have a huge circle of people who you can count on to be there for you. Right about the time that youngest leaves home.

      It's only advice.

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