Monday, January 01, 2007

More Thoughts on Growing up

For some reason this whole idea of being grown up seems so much like a light bulb moment to me and how strange is that, after all I am a grown woman.
But, we are a nation of youth worshipers and I fell prey to that very ideal without even noticing that it is so contrary to the very nature of life. It was if the battle was chosen early on and I never noticed it was a war that should not be fought.
I have no problem with trying to look our best for as long as we can, that's not the issue for me, what is the issue is, is my behaviors.
I have loved the illustration of a fisted hand, full of determination, anger perhaps in some cases, full of the "I'll show you" attitude etc, and with this picture in your mind, try to imagine that the opportunity to receive in that hand is gone. A fisted hand cannot receive. So now, imagine a gentle, open hand, able to receive the gift offered. Well, maybe I have approached growing up with that fisted hand. So determined not to grow up, not knowing what it meant, approaching it with that fisted hand to push away all the things I didn't understand about this glorious stage of life. Much like a stubborn soldier in an old war. I was the man hiding in the cave unwilling to come out only to see the battle was long over.
Today I realized that it comes down to the very music I listen to, the fabric I sew with. Holding on to the taste and styles of a long ago time. Listening to music that makes me feel young again. Its not the music that is wrong, its what I feel when I listen to it. Its my reaction. My fight to regain old ground by revisiting the past. I should be able to listen and be content with that, instead of wanting to don tie dye and dance in the grass. I have no intention of thinking like an old person, who has given up on life, but to LOVE right where I am in life, and squeeze every aspect of this magnificent time for all its worth. I know so much more than I did at 20, or 30 or even 40. I am so much more confident, more comfortable with who I am in the deepest aspects of myself. So why not savor that and stop trying to play the role of a child.
I think this is hard to explain.... I have no desire to sound like, well, I want to be an old fogy now and just sit and wait to die in another 40 years. I just want to be a woman. A real woman. One graced with wisdom, sophistication, the ability to earn respect, and to carry myself in a way that says, " this woman is an adult".
My husband is all grown up, and has been for a long time, but he is still fun. Has a rolling, delightful laugh. The ability to throw a ball and still look grown up. He is assured of himself, content to be just where he is. I think the women of past generations had more of this measure of being glad to be in the stage of life they were.
I recently went to a friends mothers funeral and the priest said something like, "to sum up her life, she was a LADY." To me that seemed trite at the time, but the more I think about it, its says so much more. It says she was grown up, knew how to carry herself in all situations with the wisdom she had gained along the way. Its really the ultimate compliment. I was looking at the statement through those eyes that were singing " I don't want to grow up" and so I missed the point.
I think that growing up really means to embrace life with childlike enthusiasm but not with childlike actions. To walk down the road, head held high and a song in your heart for being just where you are.
This is going to take more thinking.....
One thing that has come from this train of thought, my tie dye has all gone in a bag for Goodwill. Time to grow up. I want my surroundings and my clothing to reflect that of a woman, not someone who is trying to hold on to another time and space in life.
Another thought here, even in eating, eating like a grown up and realizing that bag of chips will not make the problem better or go away. Understanding that my own inner strength, wisdom and knowledge, all gained from experience, will lead me to solutions.

Breakfast this morning, no fruit loops or captain crunch for this grown up !


Anonymous said...

I guess getting rid of the tie dyed clothing is appropriate, but don't loose the child-like enthusiasm that makes you want to dance in the grass!
"Young at heart" is a wonderful concept. I am older than you, and I feel young, but I am going to act "age appropriate" when it comes to clothing, etc. Nothing is more pitiful than a middle-aged, or older person trying to look decades younger. They aren't fooling anyone but themselves.
The most beautiful woman I remember is a woman in her seventies who used to volunteer where I worked. She had such style, and carried herself "regally". I want to be just like her when I reach her age. She wore her silver hair up, and dressed beautifully, but conservatively. She left such an impression on me.
She was comfortable with her age, and she exuded confidence.
Becoming a grandma, is probably making you think about "growing up".
It is a wonderful experience.
Grandma of five.

Emily said...

Thank you for sharing your wise reflections on aging, Patty. I loved it when my mom stopped coloring her hair and now it is the prettiest shade of silver. When she pins it up she looks so elegant. I never want to "feel" old but do strive as I grow older in years to be not stodgy, but mature, remembering that I have a responsibility to younger women to set an example as in Titus 2:3-5, and that includes not trying to be something I am not.

Anonymous said...

After running into an old friend at the store I pulled my 10 yr. old daughter aside and we chatted about inner and outer beauty. Not only was this woman stunning and gorgeous, her heart radiated beauty, even though she has carried the weight of life's disappointments on her shoulders. She glowed. It was an "ah-ha" moment for me as I shared with my daughter who seemed to "see" what I was talking about.

Anonymous said...

You put into words so eloquently and clearly what is sometimes floating round in my head amongst a thick foggy cloud. I love your thoughts on growing up. I think we can still be child-like without being childish - perhaps the wisdom of age is knowing the difference.

Happy New Year Patty and thank you for your wonderful blog.

Patty said...

Perhaps the difference in being grown up means dancing in the grass to Josh Groban, with a blanket near by spread with bread wine and cheese, and when I was young, dancing in the grass would have been with a crown of daisys on my head and to Donovan singing Mellow Yellow !

Anonymous said...

I am enjoying your discussion on growing up. I have just spent a week with a woman who doesn't want to admit the years are passing, it's not a comfortable place to be.

Much To Catch Up....

In mid January, we saw the passing of my father and after nearly two years of caring for him, it was so hard to see him leave u...