Saturday, October 30

A Reflection on Turning Seventy

You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.

Oliver Goldsmith, writer and physician (1730-1774)

***

Did you ever hear the expression "We get too soon old and too late smart?" It is usually spoken in a Pennsylvania Dutch or German accent. That's sort of how I feel about reaching seventy. Why couldn't I have been smarter sooner?  The answer could be....you have to have lived long and experienced life in all its aspects before you can achieve the wisdom that common sense imparts along with book-learning. Not that I have achieved wisdom, mind you, but I am a mite smarter now that I was at 16 (and 26.) 

Why are we so impatient to experience everything that life has to offer before we are smart enough to know how to handle it?  If I knew the answer to that, I could save many a parent a lot of worry and despair, and a lot of young people a good bit of wasted motion.  Plus, if at age 16 (or thereabouts) we knew just how fast those years were going to fly by, we might slow down a bit and savor them to the fullest, instead of hoping, wishing and seeking more experiences, more people, more things or more money.

Being seventy has advantages, although it may take me a while to think of them...LOL. The main one is that you are alive - which is certainly preferable to the alternative. The disadvantage that I notice most is when my children treat me as if I might become an invalid at any given moment. Of course that could happen, I just don't want to be reminded of it so often. And while my stamina is not what it was ten years ago, I don't have one foot on the banana peel either.

Growing older means accepting that we have limitations now, as opposed to the limitless options we have as younger people. What I have always wanted and hoped to do was grow old with grace; accepting the gray hair, age spots, spare tire and whatever else life decides to give me. That doesn't mean we can't fight them a little, with exercise and good food choices if nothing else. But it is very odd to me to see a woman my age on TV who has been pulled, tucked and plumped every which way by a plastic surgeon; who has no interesting lines on her face to show that she has actually lived life - not just coasted through it.

There was a video on Facebook today that I want to share with you You can find it here:  Dancing Under the Gallows".  The woman, Alice, is now almost 107 and plays Scrabble everyday along with her beloved piano. She was spared during the Holocaust because she was a concert pianist. What a wise, wise woman (with such an active mind) - whom all could emulate to good ends. One of her quotes went something like this..."I don't hate anyone. Hatred breeds only hatred."  Nothing could be truer, and I wish that all people who evidence hatred today could see the outcome of it.She is (to me) an excellent example of growing old with Grace...and yes, it should be capitalized.

As for the quote at the beginning:   In my life, I have not always set a good example  - even though I sometimes preached a good sermon with my lips. I hope, in the future, to be setting a good example for my children and grandchildren through my way of living and not through my lips.

27 comments:

JeanMac said...

Wow! Congrats.

Sage said...

Happy, happy birthday, Judy. (from the shadows of a volcano in Costa Rica)!

Gilly said...

Reached 70? Join the club! Although I haven't a lot good to say about it at the moment (arthritis in my neck is causing me huge trouble) it isn't all that bad!

And its what's in the mind, not the bones, that counts!

Juniper said...

Congratulations on three score years and ten!

And those are wise words indeed.

Juniper x

Evil Twin's Wife said...

Happy Birthday! I am honored to have met you and become your friend - you simply amaze me with your sense of humor and grace. Have a wonderful day!

Tabor said...

May I be the first to wish you a very Happy Birthday and say that I am so glad to see you have the best perspective as you enter this part of your life. That statement about not having one foot on the banana peel would make a good T-shirt logo!

amarkonmywall said...

I wasn't kidding when i responded "that's funny because I want to be you when I grow up". Over these past six years as we have become the b set of online friends we've shared a lot and your grace and style, your incredible insights, your ability to handle the stresses and strains of life for both you and Mr Kenju, your beautiful family and friends-well, I stand. In admiration and only hope that I can grow older with half as much class. And speaking of class? Your sense of humor is in a class by itself; I am certain yo u have brightened more days than any single blogger or online friend that I know. Here's wishing you the absolute best birthday ever and many many more. And s nice I occasionally channel a certain dung beetle, Hoss wishes you the same and sends an extra "rabbit, rabbit" your way. A big birthday hug and hurrah! From me, dear friend.

amarkonmywall said...

(I guess that answers the question, "Yes, but how easy is it to type on an iPad?" In the dark, without glasses, not so very. Got up to try again. Make no mistake about it; I'm wishing you the very best birthday ever!)

Arkansas Patti said...

Hay, turning seventy is no worse than a bad cold:))
With your fertile mind and ability to work God awful hours, you set the bar very high for your fellow seventish types.
I used to not feel too badly at all your activities because I thought you were MUCH younger. Just one year, huh??? I'd best get cracking.
Have a wonderful day lady.
Have you read "The Delaney Sisters?" Great book written by
100+ year old sisters.

Jay Simser said...

70 - I had no idea. I get to be 69 this year. Hope you have a beautiful Anniversary of your birth. May it be as beautiful for you as the beauty you have brought into my life by sharing your life on your blog.

On another note. I watched Dancing Under the Gallows twice. Tears in my eyes and more love in my heart both times. I have shared it on The Buddy and on Facebook. Thank you. j

Olga said...

Happy Birthday and many more. That was a beautiful piece, full of wisdom and grace of your own.

robin andrea said...

I hope to be as interesting, full of life, energetic, and delightful as you are, when I reach 70. Happiest of birthdays to you.

The video is amazing. Her voice and wisdom reminded me so much of my grandmother's.

LL Cool Joe said...

70 is a great age to reach! Congrats!

Looking to the Stars said...

Happy Birthday!!!!! What a wonderful milestone to reach and you ARE full of GRACE. Thank you for being such a wonderful blogging friend. You are a dear one :)

Have a wonderful day!

srp said...

You exhibit amazing grace and acceptance and wit in turning 70. I can only hope to do the same in the years ahead. (Not likely though... I tend to run screaming from anything associated with birthdays.) I do hope yours is as exciting as you wish it to be and as serene as you hope it will be... all in all... the best!

Beverly said...

Happy birthday, Judy. I echo what the others have said. I will be watching you very carefully since my #70 comes next year.

Merle said...

Dear Judy ~~What a great post about your 70th birthday and I loved the
quote about the way of life, better than a sermon from one's lips.
I just popped over to wish you a very Happy Birthday. I hope you have a wonderful day and many happy returns. 70 is a good age and gets more respect, I wish I was 70 again instead of 76, But a lifetime of memories and learning is great to have. Take care, my friend, Love, Merle.

Star said...

A lovely post Judy. You are indeed a woman of Grace. And I can personally attest that you have acquired quite an extensive vocabulary in 70 years.! Happy Birthday!

betty said...

Happy Birthday, Judy. And many more.

Kay Dennison said...

Happy Birthday, Judy!!!!!!

I used to tell my kids when they got uppity that I wasn't young enough to know everything but I do remember when I did. I have since learned that life is too complex and the older I get the less I understand and I find that frustrating.

I agree with your observations implicitly.

Frankly, I glad that I'm old. It frees me to just say 'no' to extraneous obligations and take a step back when I've waded too deep.

Here's a toast to many more birthdays and many more blogs!!!!

Love you, gal!!!!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What a LOVELY Post on your Birthday Judy. Indeed, life can certainly get harder as we get older and have Physical problems. So enjoy your GOOD HEALTH, my dear, for as long as you can....! And again, a Very Very Happy 70th to you....!

Granny Annie said...

I will turn 100 when you turn 105. Hope we'll still be blogging then and hope you might have retired by then:) Happy "belated" Birthday Judy. You're one of the best.

Alan G said...

Hey there birthday mate. Hope you had a great birthday. I mean't to get by here yesterday but obviously didn't. I always remember your birthday because ours are on the same day - just a year apart.

For me yesterday it was reaching 69 but for some strange reason I am looking forward to 70. Perhaps simply because I will have made it that far!

Palm Springs Savant said...

70??? Wow honestly I had no idea. To be quite honest I figured you to be around late 50's, maybe early 60s. Good on you!!!1

Pat said...

As you know Alice is a hero of mine.
Look 70 isn't old but are you sure you haven't made a mistake? I'll swear you are still in your sixties.
But anyway I'm sorry to have missed your birthday and I hope you have a wonderful year.xox

Redondowriter said...

Happy belated birthday, Judy. I'm three years ahead of you, but I really identify with your writing about 70. I wish I had written it.

Love your geranium and what fun to have met up with a blogging friend. I enjoyed seeing Rain's photos of the Portland meet-up with Ronni and others.

Grannymar said...

I hope the Birthday celebrations are still going on, as I missed a visit on the day. You look wonderful and are so, working as hard as you do. So a belated happy Birthday and many, many more!