Lessons from Previous Generations and How They Have Shaped My World
I have been blessed through the years with meaningful relationships with wise, warm-hearted, sometimes quirky, and always loyal women from earlier generations. Just a few of the women included in this group are, naturally, my mother and my grandmothers, women I have met through church, the mothers of my dearest friends, a former client-turned-friend retired Hungarian woman now in her early 70s, and last but not least my “local Mama:” my beloved 85-year-old friend from down the road.
As I reflect on each of these women, vivid imagery springs forward and makes me smile. All women have their own style and authenticity, and all have displayed qualities and knowledge that I have in some way tried to emulate or hope to demonstrate in the later stages of my own life.
I have learned:
The pride that can come from understanding your family roots.
Laugh heartily; happiness should never be stifled.
The importance of keeping one’s brain sharp.
Concerns about “fitting in” and making friends can occur even into old age.
You don’t have to be 80 to say what you mean and mean what you say.
Some of the most memorable gifts are those made by hand or involve time spent with the gift giver.
A woman’s “good jewelry” should not be stored away but worn regularly, even with your jeans (or at the beach!).
You never know who you’ll see when you’re running errands, so it’s best to toss your lipstick on, just in case.
Delicately saying “no” to additional obligations is an art form which too often requires many years for women to master.
What true fortitude looks like in the face of chronic illness or death.
You can never be too old to be silly.
High-heeled, pointy-toed shoes are overrated.
How to shed the self-centeredness which comes with youth and give priority to friends and family members in need.
Having a friend over to your home is celebration enough to open up a bottle of champagne.
A wonderful way to keep children in your life when you are older is to allow neighborhood kids to paint on your garage walls (or give them cookies).
Don’t allow anyone – husband, partner, work associate or friend – the power to determine your worth as an individual or question your purpose.
My Final Thoughts
Of course the list could be endless. The older women in my life have shaped my philosophies and shown me how to journey through life gracefully. I’ve learned how to not just be authentic unapologetically, but to celebrate my individuality.
I can say with certainty that the lessons learned from these exceptional women will remain with me well past their own earthly lives. My hope is that they will be passed along to my own children and others God puts in my path. I wish the same for you.
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Readers, please let me hear from you about life’s lessons you have learned from the influential older women in your own lives!