My friend had a neighbor who liked the fancy things in life. She would wear ball gowns and put elegant jewelry on her cats instead of the expected cat collars. And no, she wasn’t going to a special event, ball or elegant soiree. These beauties were everyday wear for her and her felines.
Some of you reading this are probably thinking, “Good for her! She might be labeled ‘eccentric’ but look at the fun she is having!” And I would have to agree. But honestly my mind went to a different place first. To me, she seemed a perfect character in a movie or TV show. Because of course, Hollywood shows us “characters” who embody ALL the various meanings of the word.
The longer I live, the more I realize that the writers and story tellers of the world aren’t just thinking people up: they are typically real, in some form or fashion, and I don’t have to watch them on a screen to encounter them. As Shakespeare noted, “All the world’s a stage.”
It’s people, rich with different quirks, personalities, and mannerisms that add such a dimension to life and make life what it is: fun, silly, interesting, entertaining, and even scary, uncertain, and stressful. Oh, and did I mention complicated? Really, the list of adjectives are never ending.
The older I get, and the more I do this thing called adulting, the more I realize I have my own “character” traits to contend with.
And then I ask myself deeper questions:
How about you?
Have you noticed that some things you only like because of the memory associated with them?
Last month during the Christmas season, I heard all types of holiday music. I’ll be honest: there are songs that I never cared for when I was little, and I still don’t now that I’m older. For instance, “Santa Baby” always freaked me out a bit. I’m just not one of those people who find Santa Claus sexy, nor do I want to sing seductively to him. The song lyrics seem incredibly greedy and manipulating. I realize this is my opinion, and everyone may not agree with me. I just don’t care for the song.
Through the years, the lyrics and the song melody for “Santa Baby” haven’t changed, but I have. Now I hear it and while the words sound just as selfish to me, I find myself humming along because the song is now accompanied by years of Christmas memories: parties it was played at, radio stations I heard it on, and even movies that used it as part of their soundtrack.
Obviously, a change of heart doesn’t just happen with Christmas songs. It might be an object from your childhood home, a movie/TV show that your family constantly watched, or that dish one of your relatives insisted on making at every gathering. No doubt, our opinion is probably the same on Auntie’s tasteless Christmas mushrooms, BUT now when we encounter them, we find ourselves getting a little sentimental and perhaps, for more than a moment, enjoying them.
Have you experienced something like this as well? I hope you will reflect on it for just a minute, taking some time to focus on another one of those interesting gifts of time: when we still dislike “something”, yet are strangely fond of it all at once.
When I was younger, I was so fascinated by fake versions of real things. Fake snow for your Christmas tree? Awesome… because it never melted. A hair clip with a fabric butterfly on it? Indescribably cute, and the critter won’t die. Nylon flowers that won’t wilt? Count me in.
I don’t know when it happened really, but now I appreciate the flip side: I tend to prefer the real, the original.
Maybe it was one too many faux leather purses that cracked, but I slowly began to see that often the original of an item, not its imitation, is more valuable and better quality. Its very essence is much more pleasing and luxurious.
Take those nylon flowers, for instance. I can have a group of plastic buds in a vase. They may need dusting every now and then, so the care is easy and quick. But the flowers are missing the sweet scent, the delicate feel of the petals, and the imperfections that nature makes so lovely. I also have to put more work in maintaining live plants, which creates meaning for me. Work is time, so I choose to invest my time in only the important things.
The older I get, the more I realize we live in a world of counterfeits. And while some counterfeits are harmless and serve a purpose, I need to make sure I don’t just reach for them because they are easy. Like a frozen quick “homemade” meal because I’m too tired to get into cooking.
The bottom line: I want to be aware of possible fakes in my life and limit them. I don’t normally end my blog entries with a quote, but this one sums up my thoughts:
Real is Hope,
Real is Beautiful,
Real is Tough,
But, Real is Rare!
May we treasure the “real” and let it enhance our life this coming new year.
Happy New Year!
I think one of the things that make holidays special are time honored traditions.
In a world that constantly changes, “old” can be so comforting. That ornament that has been on your tree since you were seven. Those tamales for Christmas breakfast that you’ve been eating as far back as you can remember. The silly holiday songs (“Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer”) you started singing when you were in elementary school.
I’m not naive – I know some traditions can feel heavy, not be worth the time, and even bring up terrible memories. Those are not the traditions I’m talking about. I’m talking about traditions or actions that are lovingly repeated each year. Just think of some that you cherish. Live intentionally with me for a minute.
But what if you don’t currently have any? Or any that you truly enjoy?
One thing I love about getting older is creating new traditions. For example, this year I made a point to bake homemade treats, and I’ve resolved to continue to do this at Christmas time each year. I’m making my own tradition, and I look at it as embarking on a journey. I’m already anticipating the creative baking that will take place in years to come. It fills me with hope and another reason to look forward to holidays in the future. In a sense, I’m enjoying something old before it’s even old. Which I realize is slightly ironic.
Whatever your holiday traditions, old or new, I wish you the very best. Thank you for reading my blog and experiencing the holiday season with me.
I like to travel, yet I’ve barely touched the surface of what the world has to offer when it comes to antiquities. And when I do encounter them, I’m just like the rest of the tourists, carefully standing in awe and admiration, soaking in the history. I was recently in Scotland, and the grandeur of the old buildings really made my heart pitter-patter with happiness. Such beauty.
But you know what upsets me? We don’t always value ourselves and our age the same way we do such historical artifacts – be it the ancient pyramids or even great grandma’s string of pearls that are carefully stored away in a sealed box and pulled out for special occasions. Why do we not always take such good care of ourselves? Why do we find it easy to see ourselves as less useful or not as smart because we’ve been around longer than others?
We stand in front of old landmarks, snapping cameras along with the crowd and giving the appropriate “ooh and ahh”, but then get annoyed when we have to admit our age to someone.
Do we at times promote a double standard? I think we do. And we should not.
We carry a composite of our years with us, just like those old buildings dripping in history that we so admire. Only I would argue we are just as amazing, if not more so. We literally add the human element to life. We are treasures too, and we need to live lives that reflect it.
I hope you will join me as I read articles and “drink in” other thoughts about aging!
You may or may not agree with everything said in the articles below, but I’ve found they provide plenty of food for thought and can give really great encouragement.
You may not have time to read each piece of writing, so I've also pulled out quotes from each that really resonate with me.
Happy reading, my friends!
Bloomburg: In Aging Singapore, 65-Year-Olds Are Learning How to Code
“Learning is a lifelong process, and I want to keep my mind active,” the 65-year-old said in an interview at a new Singtel office in Singapore, where it will conduct training. “I also hope to encourage and inspire the younger generation of workers, and show them that you can learn new skills no matter how far you are in your career.”
Harvard Business Review: The Case For Hiring Older Workers
Countless individuals in their 60s and 70s are actively engaged with their careers, and certain to avoid retirement. At 89, Warren Buffett is still regarded as one of the most brilliant brains in the world of finance, and Charlie Munger, his righthand man, is 95. At 61, Madonna is the undisputed queen of pop. At 81, Jane Fonda is as prolific as ever in her careers as an actress and activist. In addition, the most important job in the U.S. goes to people who would generally be considered “too old” to be productive in most offices. Only two presidents ended their tenure under the age of 50 (and one of them was JFK). The other 43 were 50 or older, including 22 aged 60 or older.
All this suggests that age does correspond with workplace wisdom, and research proves it. Contrary to popular belief, older, more tenured people are more successful entrepreneurs. Those over the age of 40 are three times more likely to create successful companies as a result of their patient, collaborative natures, and their lack of a “need to prove myself” attitude that tends to accompany youth.
Seattle Times: Ageism is Real. Whatever You Do, Don’t Internalize it:
“Being 44 years old is awesome: You’re a grown-up. In addition to all your education and smarts, you have 20 years’ of experience under your belt,” I said. “And this starts to look like wisdom as we get older.”
Have a great weekend!
One thing I LOVED when I was 18 and transitioning into “adulthood”: leaving my K-12 school days behind me and their rigid, (practically) full day schedule.
Not that I had a horrible school experience. I was just extremely grateful when I went to college and could time my classes when I wanted. I’ll never forget the feeling of that first fall semester in college, when I realized I wasn’t in school from about 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM every day. There was a sense of freedom. I had time to work my job, study throughout the day, and run errands at (gasp) 1:00 in the afternoon. It was so liberating. Time felt like it was more on my side. And I certainly embraced it.
Not to mention, I felt SO adult.
Even today I see school kids and am so grateful that part of my life is over. I don’t envy them. Sure, I miss things about that time period, but the pleasure of a more open schedule, while somewhat silly in the grand scheme of things, truly helped me enjoy growing older.
I think it’s important that we not forget those moments in life when change was good, and we embraced it. And boy did I embrace my more flexible schedule..
...until I got my first 8-5 job! 😊
What about you?
What have you been happy to "leave behind"?
I love reading your comments below!
Creator of Love, Auntie.