My Facebook friend, Tanya Trout-Bainbridge was the inspiration for this post. She left a post on FB that said, “When I get old I don’t want people thinking ‘What a sweet little old lady,’ I want ’em saying ‘Oh Cr*p! What’s she up to now?'”
Tanya is just a tad younger than I am, so it will be awhile before she is anywhere near “old.” As for me, I don’t yet consider myself “old,” although I do qualify for most senior discounts. In any case, let’s just say that as I grow oldER, I truly don’t want to fall into the category of “sweet old lady.”
I guess being known as “sweet” wouldn’t be all that bad (I can hear some of my friends laughing at that right now), but “sweet old lady” brings to mind a dear senior citizen who is set in her ways, has a predictable bedtime and arises at the same time each morning, and leads an almost monastic life among a dwindling number of her like-minded and -habited friends.
So, what does one do in order to avoid becoming a “sweet old lady”or a “dear old man”? I think the formula can be summed up fairly simply with one word: F.I.N.D.
F = FRIENDS. Friends are important, and it’s important to me to have friends of all ages. Friends bring perspective to your life. Friends of your own age, particularly those who are long-time friends, are a comfort, and it’s nice to know that the friends who’ve been with you all along will be with you for the duration. New friends, and especially younger friends, help keep your thinking fresh and new. A number of my friends are in their twenties and thirties. A few are in their late teens. I don’t always agree with what they think, what they say, or how they say it. Sometimes, I may even recoil in horror and say things that make me sound like I’m becoming my mother 😉 But the important thing about these friends is the way they broaden how I think. I love that!
I = INTERESTS. Having varied interests keeps your mind active! I’ve always been more interested in the arts than in anything else — literature, art, and music are my raisons d’etre and that won’t change. Everyone marches to the beat of their own drummer. Being open to new things and being willing to at least try them will, I’m convinced, add to your longevity by keeping your mind involved and active. Never let a day go by without seizing the opportunity to explore something. Even those who are unable physically to explore still are capable of exploring the world with their senses!
N = NEEDS. Be aware of your own needs, but be aware of needs around you. You are a vital part of your community, and your community may be your neighborhood, your church, a club or an organization to which you belong, or the town where you live. Your community needs you just as much as you need it! Discover needs within your own community by seeking out volunteer opportunities. Even if you’re able to donate only a small amount of your time, volunteering will fill needs — and will replenish your own needs — even more than you can imagine!
D = DREAM. Yes, dream! As the saying goes, “Dare to dream!” Dream big and dream often. Don’t worry that you may never achieve your dreams, because it’s the dreaming that’s important. Each breath and every step you take can lead to the fulfillment of a dream.
This, then, is going to be my formula for keeping my friends wondering what I’m up to! I plan to keep my horizons and my thinking open, my interests varied, the needs of others fulfilled and mine replenished, and my dreams big. While I’m at it, I suppose I can work on being “sweet,” too 🙂
Oh, and thanks, Tanya, for allowing me to F.I.N.D. this inspiration!