I’m thankful that I don’t wonder so much what people think of me. And I don’t say this in a way that’s harsh or bitter. I just really don’t care as much as I used to, and that’s huge, especially if you have people pleasing tendencies like myself.
I spent years always wanting to make the best impression and wanting everyone I encountered (including the lady at the grocery check-out) to like me. I’d worry I said or did the wrong thing. I knew in my heart that people were what life was all about – not possessions – but I wrongfully wanted “them” (whoever they are) to like me, and I got much of my self-esteem from interactions.
AND to be honest, I really believed that if I stopped caring about what other people thought of me, I wouldn’t look after myself. I’d let myself go, so to speak, and end up neglecting self-care and not doing some of the things I enjoy – like wearing a pretty headband or making sure I wiped the cat hair off my pants (I can’t help it – I enjoy being tidy.)
Slowly, through the years, the truth began to unfold, as I realized that not only do most people I encounter NOT even remember who I am, they just really don’t care that much. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing. They have their own little worlds, and I am a stranger to them, just interacting for a few minutes. My role in their life is more minor, and their role in my life is minor.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t treat everyone with kindness and respect; that’s not to say we shouldn’t hope that even just a few minutes with someone might better their life. That’s not to say that a chance encounter with someone might lead to something more.
But it’s about establishing boundaries for ourselves. It’s about walking in the truth that the world just really doesn’t revolve around us, which is a very good thing! And the best thing of it, (though unfortunately, it took a while for me to learn it): we have the power to decide whose opinion is going to mean something to us.
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'm going on autumn adventure, so taking a break from blog posts for the month of November. I'll be traveling and having some much needed family time, but of course, I’ll be keeping up with my writing.
Please let me leave you with a thought to ponder by Crispin Glover:
I like getting older. When you’re in your 20s you’re really forging for your future. Things take shape later on.
Wishing a happy FALL to you!
As you know, you all mean so much to me.
I’ve written in a previous blog post about older members of my family passing away, and how it feels incredibly discouraging at times. Let me just be blunt: How can we better cope when our loved ones die (and not just from old age)?
Everyone grieves differently, but I’d like to share something that helps me with the grieving process.
I’m a very tactile person. I like to have something I can hold in my hand to help me remember and be encouraged. I think it started when my sister got me “bad day” earrings. They were a pair of earrings she gifted me to wear when I was having a bad day. I would put them on and know that I was loved by her. And while earrings didn’t change my situation, they changed my mindset. And that made a huge difference.
So, when a loved one passes, I like to designate a special item to remember them by and to help me make it through the tough time. It might be a mug; it might be a key chain. The item itself isn’t what’s important. What’s important is that it’s something that visually grabs me and brings that person to my mind.
When two of my grandparents passed away, I purchased a necklace to wear that reminded me of them. It’s not an ornate necklace - just a simple one I can put on and I know it’s a symbol for them. I see it reflected in the mirror or in a photograph, and even just the feel of it around my neck reminds me of their love and care for me.
Am I saying these actions took away my pain? Of course not. This is just one way I help myself cope, and I find it incredibly comforting. Because while the person I’m grieving isn’t physically alive on earth anymore, I can combat the loneliness with something that’s tangible, that will help me keep memories alive, and that will make me smile and remember their impact. Because that’s what I really want, and it’s something I know they would really want for me, too.
What helps you grieve?
I love your comments! Let me know your thoughts below!
I had such a hard time wearing high waisted jeans when they came back in style. I realize not everyone cares about fashion and clothing, but I hope you will stick with me and keep reading.
Even when I was a little girl, I noticed there was typically a difference between what the older crowd wore verses the younger crowd. And in my opinion, the younger crowd had the better options. I happily put on my stirrup pants or bootcut jeans or whatever was “in” at the moment, and as my budget allowed, I enjoyed the ebb and flow of fashion.
BUT…when the high waisted jeans made their comeback, I watched with horror as the zippers and pockets grew longer on the jeans. Ugh. I loved my low waisted boot cut beauties. And besides, high waisted pants were so out of style years ago. But that was the key: “years ago” now meant they could make a grand return, and be amazingly cool again, with a slight retro feel. I wasn’t wanting to try something new because in my mind, it was still “out of style.” I did not want to welcome change.
Hmm. That had me considering how easily my wardrobe could reflect my age and my attitude about aging.
Does it really matter if someone is wearing the latest cut of jeans? Of course not! My point is that I began to see how aging can influence even our clothing choices. And that when we do shop for clothing, we have an option to experience what’s “new” and “fresh.” We can join in with others and embrace it, or we can take a stand (in my case, in my low cut jeans) and say the choices were much better before.
With gritted teeth, I went into the dressing room with some high waisted jeans, and surprise, surprise, I found myself liking them. Yes, I felt a little more current, but I think most of all, I felt a little more youthful – not in the sense that the jeans magically transported me. I wasn’t secretly longing to be a youth again and this somehow appeased me. No, it was more the fun and excitement of trying something made “new” again, and knowing that like everything else, it would change. And that it really is completely fine by me.
I love your comments!
Let me know your thoughts below!
By not being a parent or a guardian to any children, I’ve realized just how deep and multifaceted life really is. Don’t get me wrong, children are fantastic. Which is why I used to worry I was missing out because my husband and I do not have any. That I had somehow taken Robert Frost’s “road less traveled”, and as result, my path would be a little less technicolored.
I’m happy to report this is not the case.
I came to that point where I knew my path was going to be different than many of my friends. They were having and/or adopting children and spending a lot of time doing so. No matter the reason, I wasn’t. So, what was left for me?
Honestly, at first, I felt guilty. Like I was doing something wrong because I wasn’t doing what was typical. I wasn’t “normal.” But then, I decided to purposely embrace my life and see what areas I wanted to cultivate. While I’m living differently than my Mama and Papa friends, I’m still living intentionally and with purpose. And my life is incredibly rich.
And really, if we ALL take a hard, honest look at our lives, we can almost always find a part of our life is not “normal” or expected. I have a friend who is zealous about living life on a ship. I have another who lives full time in an RV. Another gal pal I know exists happily on her own and moves to a new country every few years.
Because life is so multifaceted, beauty and passion and laughter are NOT just for people who take the expected road. Thank goodness. And that other road? It’s different and unusual, but just as amazing.
I love your comments!
Let me know your thoughts below.
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!
Creator of Love, Auntie.