Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Art of Growing Up

There are very few original thoughts in the world, most every subject has been covered somewhere at sometime and this is no exception.
When I read something profound, I want to mull it over, squeeze the truth out of it and look at it in its most basic element. I am ever so grateful for this thread of wisdom...
On the yahoo group I belong to, French Chic, there is a thread that started from one person reading a quote in the book Entre Nous, the quote is from Edith Wharton stating that the French woman is "in nearly all respects, as different as possible from the average American woman. The French woman is grown-up." Ouch......
My mind went into overdrive thinking about this. Thinking about different cultures where maturity is respected and valued. The adults are indeed grown up. If you start to think about this seriously, you can put together that our culture practically worships youth and our youth are the least respectful of the elders in our society. Could there be a connection ? I suspect so. Perhaps, we just are not worthy of respect since we don't want to grow up. I have found myself saying many times, " I don't want to grow up" and I mean it, but now I am thinking that this mentality is cheating me out of the very wonderful aspect of finding value in the life experience I have had. The lessons learned that have made me different from some 20 year old. I know at my age that you can live through some pretty tough things and come out better for it. I have gained wisdom and I should love that and not want to hold on to the ways of youth where experience in life is so limited for most.
I believe in maintaining enthusiasm for life, and wonder at all around us, but maybe there is a time to act grown up. I think by avoiding being grown up I have cheated myself. Cheated myself out of something very beautiful, that element of sophistication that is beyond attractive, it is something people stand in awe of. Sophistication comes with age and it brings with it respect.
My mother and Grandmother were not youth worshipers, they took on the role of adult women with pride. That didn't mean they were not fun or stick in the mud type ladies, but they walked into a room and you knew from the moment you laid eyes on them that they were in control of themselves and could handle any situation with grace. They had everyone's respect. They were grown up.
We cannot be valued for what we do not have and I feel enlightened today about this subject, thanks to some very wise women on the French Chic list. I used to sing, jokingly but with conviction too the song from Toys R Us, " I don't want to grow up, I want to be a Toys R Us kid" Well, today, on the eve of the new year, I do want to grow up, finally.
Put away the childish things that don't serve me anymore. I cannot keep the past and shouldn't. Growing up and being wise allows a person to march on and be where they are meant to be and be beautiful in that moment. Holding on to youth is like trying to hold grains of sand, how much better to let the sand fall and walk in it with a head held high, looking towards the next step in life with an air of sophistication, with all its beauty.
I saw a woman in Wal-Mart last night and she was gorgeous...chic to the hilt. She was in her 60's, wonderful figure, dressed in a black pant suit, hair perfect, shoes were perfect, jewelry, simple but lovely. She was not trying to be younger than her years, she had the essence of sophistication and thinking about it now, the thing that made her stand out even more than the way she was dressed, was that she was grown up and you could tell that. She wore on her face the beauty of experience. I actually followed her down the isle, she was beautiful and yet wore the lines of age, the very ones our culture wishes to erase. She was radiant. I just knew people respect her. Next to her was a woman about the same age with a pink tee shirt on and yoga pants, the shirt had something written on it. The woman had a cloth shoulder bag on and some sort of print socks, with her a teenage girl, no doubt a grandchild and the child was talking rudely to this woman. No respect at all. The grandmother was trying to tease the teen out of the foul mood, playful like and although this pink tee shirt clad woman was actually prettier than the other woman I wrote about, you saw beauty in the first woman that came from a personal grace that went far beyond looks and yes, it was that she was grown up.
This new year, I intend to grow up but maintain my enthusiasm for life. I used to quote Katherine in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun when she quoted the maestro, regarding embracing life with childlike enthusiasm, but to think of it, Katherine was rather a pathetic character in that movie. So leaving off the childlike part and just being enthusiastic from where you are is no doubt the best.

last nights sunset


Blogger Su Bee said...

And that is a fact! I love the way you can write an easy synopsis about vague ideas in my head. Is it because we are the same age and that age is now looking past "me" and into "out there"? Excellent points, all of them. Thank you for the insight!

Sunday, December 31, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think that there is a difference between not wanting to grow up and not wanting to grow old? I think I have always been grown up. And while I am getting older, I do not feel that I am old, though many times my body says differently!

Sunday, December 31, 2006  
Anonymous Amy said...

Great post as always, Patty! I just finished reading this book and thought about you as I was reading about it - it's about voluntary simplicity and raises a great many of the questions you address in your blog:

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 31, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know what you mean about deciding to finally grow up. I just turned 50 last week, and so I've been thinking about this a lot. I've had friends tell me that life is just beginning for me now... and I'm looking forward to the journey!

Monday, January 01, 2007  
Blogger smilnsigh said...

Have you read "The Art of Growing Up: Simple Ways to Be Yourself at Last" by Veronique Vienne? Well, have you read _many_ books by Veronique Vienne? I love them. She also, says these things so well.

And how is the 'French Chic' Group doing these days? It's been a while since I was there. I fear, the politics put me off, there. But there were interesting aspects to belonging there, of course. :-)


Monday, January 01, 2007  
Blogger Carrie J said...

Growing up is something I want to do, acting old is not. My question is how to help others around us do the same? My dear husband, I fear, is growing old in his thinking. How do we inspire those around us to grow up but not old?

Monday, January 01, 2007  
Anonymous said...

Some of our greater entertaining moments in our home have been with older friends. We have come to the conclusion that they have nothing to prove in life. They are who they are, not trying to impress. It is refreshing! There is something definatly *classy* about growing older. Hopefully it becomes the *ride of our life!*
Happy New Year! I'm glad I found your site.

Monday, January 01, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wrote the above and my blogger profile didn't show up. Hopefully you can check out my site:

Monday, January 01, 2007  

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