Sometimes I’ll be in the grocery store shopping for something mundane, like tomatoes, and a certain song will come on that will just transport me to another time. And there I am, standing in the aisle among all the vegetables, getting goosebumps.
Are you like me in this way? I hope I’m not the only one.
I am so happy when I encounter something or someone great from my past - and not just a song, but a childhood toy, a familiar smell, or a book I thought was out of print.
We are a conglomeration of all our experiences, but it’s hard to continually remember them. Even the good ones. That’s why all these encounters are beneficial, because they carry with them such fantastic memories.
As some might say, we get “all the feels.”
And yet what a difference they can make as we age, because they represent something greater: a part of us we may think is gone is actually alive and well. Though it’s temporarily forgotten, it’s still very much woven into the history of our being.
A trio of links to “link” you to other voices that are reflecting on aging!
I hope you will join me as I drink in some other thoughts about aging. We may or may not agree with what is said in the articles below, but they provide plenty of food for thought and hopefully some really great encouragement for you.
1. Gwyneth Paltrow Opens Up About Aging
2. FaceApp and the Savage Shock of Aging
(The first two links are more current (within the last month), and the last link is what I affectionately call an “oldie but goodie”: an older article I think warrants a read.
3. What can we learn from people who succeed later in life?
I know you’ve seen it often with kidlets in the grocery store: they have to have that piece of candy. Their world becomes contingent on having it, and at the moment, that silly piece of candy is the whole focus of their being.
Until they turn the aisle and see the chocolate cupcakes lined up in the bakery display case.
However, I’m guilty of doing the same thing! But not with candy. Instead, I revel in the pretty things I see, for example, in a beautiful clothing store. I will touch, stroke, exclaim and squeal over so many items on those hangers. I’ve been reading a lot about minimalism, and the lifestyle has merits (even in the area of a more pared down wardrobe) but it has caught my eye for another reason. While growing older I've realized that if I don’t obtain the item that I really admire, the thing I think I must have…
…another something else that I really admire, that I think I must have, will come along later. AND sometimes even in the same day!
I believe it takes a while for this lesson to really sink in, but since it repeats again and again and again, I’ve learned it: We can “miss out” and forgo so much (especially tangible items) because there is usually something else around the corner that we will love just as much.
And the previous something that we were so passionate about? It’s often forgotten.
People all over the world are so different, yet so similar. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, I’m sure. But this concept was so clear to me recently when I lived in Turkey.
I would visit a Turkish antique market near my home that would set up once a month. Well, it was mostly antiques, but there were also handmade items and yummy smelling kebabs.
At first I was overwhelmed. There were so many people and tables that everyone had to sort of edge around each other to move throughout. But then I started seeing the same stuff table after table: old toys, crates filled with records, and dusty knick-knacks. The sellers were absolutely drinking their Turkish tea, but the whole set-up really was so like flea markets back home in the United States. Even down to the collections of tiny Hot Wheels cars and books. Lots and lots of old books.
As we age, we can find ourselves out of our comfort zone. In Turkey, I often felt waves of homesickness. Everything around me seemed so, well, to be cliché, foreign. But then, even though I was surrounded by a different culture, “the familiar”, like the antique market, would pop it’s head out and smile at me.
Like sweet and spicy, hot and cold, hard and soft, people and cultures are a conglomeration of opposites. But as I age, I realize what a great thing it is to have them in my life. It’s the opposites that keep me grounded when I find myself outside my comfort zone. And it’s the opposites that make life, including the aging process, mysterious and intriguing, yet still familiar enough to not be overwhelming.
I’m sure you’ve heard of author and chef Julia Child. I hadn’t given her much thought though until recently, when my parents were telling me, “Gina, you need to watch the movie Julie and Julia! The main character also has a blog. (I love that they connected the character with me because of the blog.)
So, I cozied up one night with the movie and found myself loving the fact that Julia Child’s cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, wasn’t published until she was 49. AND it took her nine years of hard work, so basically most of her 40s. On top of this, her cooking show didn’t start until AFTER her book was published. Fantastic facts.
I’m thrilled that her success would be considered “later” by so many people. If I were in Julia’s shoes, I might have given in to the belief that I was “past my prime” and maybe stopped plugging away. But she didn’t. And as a result, she reminded me of a truth I needed to hear again and a lesson beyond cooking: success has no age limit.
I’m sure you’ve heard these five words before. But Julia Child’s story gives those words depth and meaning. She gives them life, and as a result, she gives us hope.
I can’t believe I haven’t focused on this sooner: with aging comes fantastic new technology. I know you are thinking how profound I am NOT being. But again, I want to focus on the simple. I want you to stop for a minute and just appreciate something you already are aware of, and that is that technology has come a long way and can be incredibly amazing.
I hear people say, “Oh, if only I had that piece of technology when I was younger.” But think of this instead: I lived long enough to have that piece of technology now. I’m not dead, so I can relish really amazing inventions – from 3D printers to incredible game systems.
The fact that we are older doesn’t mean the enjoyment is out of reach.
AND, the previous technology still holds a soft spot in our hearts. We’ve had the privilege of seeing it transform: something younger people haven’t had. I fully believe there is something in us that likes to see growth and development. For example, children of course, but also our plants, our pets, and even our own daily tasks like baking a cake. Our depth of appreciation runs deeper and being an observer of the process gives us a stronger connection. And it’s a connection I’m grateful for.
I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post that the older you get, the more learn what “unique” really means. But I think in the whirl of life, we also find out what “rare” means too.
And it becomes a very precious part of life.
My friend sent me a paper card in the mail. It was such a treat! Not a quick “thanks!” on WhatsApp or a little note on Facebook messenger. And to be quite honest, to me, a handwritten note that was stamped and sent is even more impressive than a carefully worded email (emails were SO INSTANT, and nowadays seem to take more time to send than they ever did!)
Having lived for so long, you come to a point where something presents itself to you, and its value is extremely high simply because there is so little of it left in your world. Like a magnificent species that is becoming extinct, we realize that a lot more in life is slowly disappearing. As a result? We find ourselves grasping it and treasuring it.
Creator of Love, Auntie.