In a recent letter, my best friend commented, “It sure is the pits growing old.” While I can often commiserate with that sentiment, it reminded me of something I posted a few years ago after reading the quote below, from
Older and Happier at Work by Luchman, Kaplan, & Dala, regarding older women in the workplace:
“The stereotypes of old women as poor, dumb, and ugly have remained similar over the past … years. … (however) The older woman should be viewed from another perspective, one in which her life history records her transformations and individuality throughout her lifespan.”
I come from a long line of old women. My great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother all lived vigorously into their late nineties, so I have always supposed I would follow in their path. For this reason, among others, I have chosen as my motto, Anyone can be young; it takes talent to grow old.
Few women would agree with all older women being stereotyped as poor, dumb, and ugly, but how many of us think about seeing beyond the gray hair for the life histories which created our individuality? Do we bother to look for these facets in one another? Or in ourselves?
If you belong to a group of women, whether a group of two – just you and your best friend – or an organized gathering, try the experiment of learning each others’ history highlights, life transformations, and idiosyncrasies. What did each one want to become at her various life stages? Did she accomplish any of her youthful goals? Why, how, or why not? What wisdom was gained on the journey? What skills? You may learn surprising things about your friends, and about yourself, giving you a new, richer perspective on the journey of life.
As the elderly character Mrs. Thistlethwaite says in my Christian fiction series, “Old age is a privilege and an adventure.” Looking at aging from this perspective may help us enter old age with the gratitude and flair necessary to enjoy this rare privilege and adventure all the days God gives us.