I’m linking today to the fun blog party: Hooked on Friday’s over at Hooked on Houses...you’ll find loads of interesting things your blog-peeps are hooked on this week!
I’m super excited Peeps! Someone so dear to me is sharing today and next week on Aging Gracefully. Some of you may know her, she’s written for Guideposts Magazine for as long as I can remember. Currently she’s a Contributing Editor for GP. She’s written seven books; Out of My Bondage, No Turning Back, Two of Everything But Me, Learning To Lean, Look Out Fear, Here Comes Faith!, The Nevertheless Principle. (these books are out of print but can be found at Barnes & Noble Used Books or Amazon.) Then there’s her newest book: Praying For My Life which came out in 2005.
I’ve know Marion since I was in the ninth grade, which was eons ago! Her oldest daughter Julie and I have been joined at the hip since that nerve-racking ninth grade year. Marion is the epitome of a Southern lady. She’s gracious and funny and real.
I’ve always loved Marion. When I was younger and spent time at Julie’s house I found I liked to just stare at Marion and memorize the way she did things. She’s tall and beautiful and moves through a room making everyone she comes in contact with feel special. The woman has always been a Presence. I’m so honored that when I asked her to give me her thoughts on Aging Gracefully from a Seventy – Something perspective she didn’t flinch. Very soon after I asked her, I got a typed (Marion still uses her typewriter to do all her writing!) latte color envelope in the mail. I was giddy to read what she wrote…
Pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee ladies, put your feet up and enjoy this first of two posts by Marion Bond West Acuff…(When The Husband and I got married, he began affectionately referring to Marion as MBWA…pronounced: Mub-Wah 🙂
~Marion’s Observations on Growing Older…Part One~(Part Two next week!)
It’s not what I thought. It’s like the old timers told me decades ago. “On the inside I still feel 35, 20 or even ten years old!” Now I know what that means. It’s true. My insides, my emotions still want to do energetic stuff. Clean house, run, engage in passion with my husband, organize my closet, my paper-strewn office, answer mail, shop till I drop, vacuum. (well, I never did believe in vacuuming to be totally honest)
As my wonderful mother (who died in 2001) said: “I’m fine—I just have the old age infirmities.” She died at 92 and beat cancer three times. I believe because she wasn’t afraid of it—or anything. She was quite a mom. If I could mother my children over again, I’d do for them what my mother did for me. She marveled at me every time she saw me. As though I’d just returned from the moon. I can’t remember her ever looking at me without smiling. She made me feel like I was special (which holds over today) and I was /am barely average. The special way she treated me stayed with me for a lifetime. Moms, what you do matters.
As you get older, occasionally you get a pleasant surprise. As I turned seventy, I discovered I had naturally curly hair! In my younger years I’d prayed for it, fervently, as well as a turned up nose and size 5 ½ feet (rather than 8 ½ ). I only discovered my curls because I was diagnosed with RA and couldn’t put hours into my hair care every week. So I shampooed it and fell back into bed. I awoke with curly hair! Oh joy! Now, I only wash and scrunch it (and of course have it colored a believable reddish/copper). Another nice surprise came when My dermatologist put me on Accutane. She said where I gave myself the weekly injections (Embrel for RA) was bruised because I lack collagen. Now, here’s the big deal, the collagen in Accutane doesn’t know any better than to go to my aged face and plump it up again! I’m excited!
I’m a little bit vain. When I travel, half my luggage has all the things I use from the neck up! I also have to bring all my prescriptions. I take a bunch of them! One being that weekly injection of Embrel for the RA. It’s working, I’m now pain-free! But with the RA I do still have to guard my energy. I don’t hesitate to say no to anything I don’t want to do. That’s another nice thing about getting older, not feeling the need to say yes to everything.
But there are some things I love that I don’t get to do anymore. I walked 4 miles (early mornings) up until 3 years ago, when the RA became tough. I haven’t gotten back to it. I miss my early morning walks. That was an adjustment. Here’s another one, my arms. I hate the wrinkly skin on my arms when I hold them up. But I’ve figured out how to cope with that…I just keep them down! You have to roll with the punches.
Another pleasant surprise at my age is that I enjoy talking to men friends without the fear of flirting. I never flirted when I was younger anyway. I don’t guess I knew how or maybe I feared being obvious—or worse—rejected. But now it doesn’t seem to matter, so I can laugh and ask men questions or be interested sincerely about their troubles in life.
Another delightful thing that I allow myself now…naps! Naps are marvelous. I sleep well at night, go to bed early and then usually have a long afternoon nap with my cat on my stomach.
In my dreams which are vivid, colorful and some unforgettable, I visit with Mother. She wears her favorite “ear bobs” and perfume “White Shoulders”. We have fun. I also dream about old school chums (that’s a 50’s word!) and I’m young again. So are they. We have adventures—sometimes there’s romance with old boyfriends (who are now deceased). I adore dreams of my children being young and I’m a happy, soft-spoken mom, bending down to marvel at a flower or adjust a hair ribbon or examine a frog. I marvel at each of my four children. Often we go school shopping and I can smell the new clothes. Other times I’m back in my old neighborhood. This is probably because almost every night while lying in bed, I walk mentally through the house I grew up in. I remember each room, the floors, the glass door knobs, the 17 steps down the back porch. My beloved cat, Josephine and dog, Chris. I sometimes venture back to some of my favorite childhood times, like going to the public swimming pool. I can almost catch a sniff of the chlorine. For 15 cents I would get inside. With a dime, I got a Baby Ruth candy bar and a coke. I see myself swimming underwater and above water. And the thrill of riding my yellow bike home all the while anticipating supper.
Dreams are a huge part of my joy. When you get older…you remember. Vividly.
Wow! I love this on so many levels. The encouragement to moms to marvel when their kids come in the room, I so love Marion’s perspective as an adult who still benefits from an attitude her mom had so long ago. I love seeing proof that what we do matters. What we do can change a life. Marion’s mom, (I knew her as Julie’s Gogie) left a beautiful legacy. And Marion is living a beautiful legacy.
I love the surprises Marion shared. After being shocked by my reflection I so look forward to some good surprises!
My favorite thing though, is the vivid memories and the dreams of her mom. I dream of my mom too. And I’ve walked through my house (on Forrest Glen ,Daddy!) in my mind many times…do you know what this says to me? The tiny things MATTER!!!
I pray for you to be encouraged today Peeps, as you live the legacy you want to leave…
Don’t forget to head over to Hooked on Houses to check out what new and amazing things your blog peeps are hooked on this week!