Category Archives: Golden years

Day 289: The Value of Reunions

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“I don’t want to brag or make anyone jealous, but I can still fit into the same earrings I wore in high school.”

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Reunions are wonderful for promoting self-reflection. I have to admit that the anticipation of attending my 50th class reunion had me thinking about how my face and body have changed. These thoughts always come from the ego that butts its way into our thoughts as if it has something important to say, “Connie, we need to lose weight, buy a new outfit, and get our hair done.” Oy vey, I think, what does it matter, and who am I trying to impress? I am “not” who I am because of the way I look. I am who I am because of the unique journey I have experienced these past five decades since I left high school. As one person said to me, upon entering the gathering, “I don’t think I will remember anyone, but I thought it was worth attending just to experience what a room full of wisdom feels like,” now that’s a cool way to value what a reunion have to offer.

It’s funny how each person’s reflection of fun times triggers another person’s memory, and soon you feel those old familiar feelings of your youth. Most of us still feel young at heart, maybe not physically, but mentally we don’t see our age until we look in the mirror. Reunions are a way of taking that never-aging person inside us on a short trip back in time where we all feel young at heart together once again.

Reflection: I am grateful for the blessings of courage that helped me step out of my comfort zone to attend my 50th high school reunion. While decades have added pounds to my waist, wrinkles around my eyes, it’s doesn’t matter because what I realized the most is that I kind of like the person I’ve grown into since 1971.

Letting My Soul “Be”

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I have to say that being in my 60’s feels like another coming of age experience. Oh, I know there’s lots of aches and pains. Things I can no longer do, but something within is changing on a deeper level. The term coming of age is often used as we go from the teen years into adulthood. But what do we really know at that age. It’s really only the beginning of experiencing life. What it has to teach us. Who we want to be. What we want to do. I remember when I turned 40 feeling like it was another coming of age experience. It was the beginning of truly getting to know, accept and like myself for who I was. I road into my 50’s with a little more confidence and understanding that it isn’t all about me, but about who I am in connection to something much bigger then myself, my religion and my calling. Now that I’ve been in my 60’s I feel lighter in many ways definitely freer. I sense this new coming of age is melding me together both body, mind and soul. This longing I have to simple “be” …it’s my soul calling to me.

 

“I’m A Senior, And That’s Alright With Me.”

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Everyone has an opinion of what being in the later years of our life should be. That’s perfectly okay and normal because we each see and experience things from our own perspective. What goes into our perspective is a whirlwind of emotional, physical, psychological, social and spiritual experiences, and let’s not forget the learned behavior we’ve brought with us. The bottom-line is that we don’t know any more about this last stage of life then we did the other stages we went through. However, after many past stages of life I’ve learned that by embracing each one along the way I’ve been able to experience life from a different more deeper perspective than the one before. As I attempt to embrace the senior years of my life, I find myself looking back a lot. Not so much in a longing of wanting to go back, but more of how far I’ve come. These are the years that give birth to all the wisdom I now hold within, and as I discover this, there is a sense of satisfaction in how far I’ve come, what I’ve learned, the places I’ve been and the things I’ve seen. As long as I have a clear enough mind I’ll always feel like I can do most things. It is in the trying that I learn my limitations. It is true that growing older is not for wimps. A lot of time and energy is used to get ourselves moving and being a part of life. I’m learning to embrace the limitations as they present themselves, and I work hard at not giving into the gravity that pulls me back into the sitting position where my body would be perfectly happy to park itself.

So, if I talk about being older at times, it’s because I am. If I talk about running out of time, don’t chastise me. Just bring me back to where I am right now. If you think I’m obsessing over it, don’t tell me how to think, but help me to embrace it. And if I can’t hear or understand you, don’t brush me off and say never mind. Give me a chance to hear what you have to say.

In closing I share my opinion of the later years of my life. I am a senior and that’s okay. I am getting older, but I’m not old in the sense of giving up. I’m not afraid to be where I am or say where I’m at in this stage of my life. I’m a senior and that’s okay with me.

“Oh…The Stories We Could Tell”

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“When a knowledgable old person dies, a whole library disappears.” –An old African proverb

I read an article today from my local newspaper titled, “Older people have knowledge to share—if we just listen” by Bob Rudy. It caught my attention for several reasons, one being that I spent time as a hospice volunteer a few years ago listening to the fascinating stories of people’s lives. Not only was it interesting to me, but the way their faces lit up as they told their stories turned out to be a gift for both of us.

I’ve also been working on my families genealogy for over 20 years now. I was fortunate to start it at a time when my parents were still alive, and as I dove into it I found myself wanting to know more about what their life was like growing up. They’ve both been gone a long time now and still I have question I wish I would have asked. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have never taken the time I did though to get to know them. It is true as the quote states as each family member passes away, a whole library disappears.

The other reason this subject is close to my heart is because I am a story teller myself, and as the younger generations calls us, I’m an older person myself. I like the phrase that getting older is not for wimps, because it is a time in a humans life when we have to work really hard to hang onto what we have. Sometimes it even feels like your slowly disappearing, fading into space as we lose our hearing, sight, coordination and many other facilities that make you feel like a child again. But ask us to tell you one of our stories and we become energized. Our eyes will light up, and just maybe we’ll feel like our lives matters once again, and you’ll hear a real live story like the ones you read in a book you borrow from the library.

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I was just telling my honey that it seems like everything is changing around us. Our family our friends, and the way life use to be. However, as the quote states it feels like the only thing that hasn’t changed is him and I. Of course as we look back there have many changes, but the life we’ve worked at building together has always had the same focus. All the different stages we go through in life feels as if your standing in a strange new place. I guess that’s what we’re going through right now, standing before the stage of life watching the moving pictures of what we’ve created upon its screen. Seeing where we’ve been. How we’ve grown. Proud of what we’ve accomplished. The children we’ve raised. The friends we’ve made along the way. Golden years! That’s what this new stage is called. Not everyone would think it’s such a great stage to be in, but for us all those years wrapped up together, have become golden, and the memories are the golden nuggets that come with it.