A Rose by Any Other Name…

Am I “revered”…or just plain “old”?

Pink Rose 2 with outlineIn Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare penned that, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” We could debate the context of that proclamation, or we can just use it as the starting point for a conversation about how we are perceived as we age.

I’m seventy years old.  Am I officially elderly? Did I cross that threshold years ago and just didn’t know it yet? Or…am I a distinguished person whose life and experiences are valued? That depends in large part on your perspective.

In the American culture youth is valued. Actually that’s really quite an understatement! As we baby boomers age, the market for face creams, cosmetic surgery and other harbingers of the illusive fountain of youth continues to grow.  Someone near and dear to me has laughingly professed that each night she washes a hundred dollars’ worth of makeup off her face!

A message that implicitly runs loud and clear in the American culture is that we lose our value as we age. We might be thought of as a fossil, an old goat, over the hill, or even decrepit. (Yikes!) The list goes on and on.

But wait! Some cultures actually do value aging! In an article in the Huffington Post aptly entitled 7 Cultures that Celebrate Aging and Respect Their Eldersauthor Taylor French shares that…

•  Koreans are socialized to respect and show deference to older individuals.
•  In ancient Rome, elders were a precious resource.
•  In India, elders are the head of the family.
•  In the Native American culture…elders are respected for their wisdom and life experiences.
•  In Greek…culture, old age is honored and celebrated, and respect for elders is central to the family.

I feel a little better now!  Words to describe “the elderly” in some cultures might include revered, respected, honored, distinguished, esteemed or…my personal favorite…celebrated! Regardless of how “the world” views us or chooses to describe us, we must always be “crystal-clear” about our own true value.

As Eartha Kitt once said, “Aging has a wonderful beauty and we should have respect for that.”

Hear, hear!!

I may be a senior, but so what? I’m still hot!

Betty White may be on to something…

Betty White is 97 years old.  She said that just few years ago. Amazing!

Henry David Thoreau once said, “It’s not what you look at. It’s what you see.” Betty White makes the case for that being true.  In another post entitled What Matters Most is How You See Yourself, I talked about the importance of seeing ourselves in a positive light, and how important that is to our sense of well-being and happiness. Perception truly is reality in so many ways.

Several years ago, when having breakfast with a few friends at a small family-owned restaurant here in “my neck of the woods,” I excused myself to go to powder room. Vintage Retro Old Picture FrameWritten in bright red lipstick across the mirror in that little room were the words “Isn’t she beautiful?” How wonderful!  Whoever wrote those words must have wanted to remind all who looked in that mirror that we are, indeed, beautiful.  And that’s regardless of our age, our weight, our color, our height, our style, our social or economic status, or any other ridiculous arbitrary criteria.

A short time after that enlightening breakfast I threw a big 60th birthday party for myself. (That was ten years ago now…and a fun party it was!) Guess what was written on the mirror in the powder room of the little Polish club where we celebrated my special birthday. You got it!  Written in beautiful pink lipstick – were the words “Isn’t she beautiful?!”  Truth be told, those words were even on a mirror in my own little “cottage” at one point in time…

As we age we sometimes forget how valuable we are as human beings. And the world around us often fails to remind us of that important truth. Whether we agree with Betty White or not, it is important to always see ourselves as absolutely valuable human beings. Our happiness – and maybe even to a certain extent our longevity – might just depend on it.

What do you think, my friends?

 

 

Old Age Ain’t No Place for Sissies

When we are blessed with many birthdays, we have already faced many challenges…and will continue to face challenges for as long as we are given the gift of life.

closeup photo of adult white and tan american bulldog near wall
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Bette Davis was right! (Younger folks might have never heard of Bette Davis.  “Oldsters” like me recognize that name.) Yes, Ms. Davis was “on the money” when she made the declaration that “Old age ain’t no place for sissies.” Obviously she was old enough to know that when we are blessed with many birthdays, we have already faced many challenges…and will continue to face challenges for as long as we are given the gift of life.

Do you know any aging folks who seem to have given up and sometimes almost relish wallowing in some kind of self-imposed purgatory? How sad is that???

Let’s see. I’ve experienced the death of both of my parents and my big brother, Tim. I said good-bye to my precious grandparents, “Munner” and “Pap,” so many years ago. Today I am trying to help a very close family member navigate more-than-difficult life twists and turns that have come her way. Tomorrow? Who knows?

But…I have also been blessed through the years with two wonderful daughters and two grandsons that I love more than life itself. My best friend of close to fifty years  has brought me so much strength, happiness and balance as we have lived our lives and faced life’s challenges. While we live miles apart, we are always close at heart!

In other words, Bette Davis was indeed right. Old age ain’t no place for sissies! It’s a place for those who have both survived challenges and been blessed beyond measure.

Get on board the old age train to contentment, acceptance, happiness and thankfulness. You’re in good company!

Do you have any inspiring “old age quotes” to pass along??