Saturday, August 17, 2013

A sister’s wisdom

Yesterday my sister posted to Facebook the following remark: “I refuse to answer the profile question - "Where did you grow up?" because it would be admitting I have grown up and that is something I am reluctant to do! And btw how can you "grow up" in just one place?"

On my morning walk I got to thinking (sometimes a dangerous thing!).

I recall that the day I turned 50, I said to myself: “I’m finally an adult”. That didn’t necessarily mean that I was grown up, just that after working for 36 years, having had a driver’s license for 35, having been married for 24 and having two children, one of whom was a teenager and the other a young adult, I finally “felt” adult.
Further reflection brought me the following: the friends I have in every decade all bring me something. Those who are 80 or over I find fascinating – always there for a laugh, always understanding of the few wee problems along the way. Those in their 70s feel the time racing, but are still engaged in life, undertaking interesting travels, meeting and making new friends. Those in their 60s are starting to revel in approaching retirement or are already enjoying the extra free time: they have mostly the means and the time to “go exploring”, which in turn makes them interesting.  Those in their 50s are perhaps the ones for whom I feel sorry (if one can call it that): still in jobs, some still raising families, they are caught, but oh what fun they can be when they “let their hair down” – they also have the energy I sometimes lack and are willing to do a good turn! The 40s – I spent several years in a scrapbooking group and although many of the women could have been my daughters, they were every bit as lovely as any of my other friends: raising small children (those who live internationally tend to have their families later) – lovely souvenirs of what I too had had. Believe it or not, I have several very good friends in their 30s – they bring joy, their problems, which have changed greatly from when I was that age, but their own special uniqueness. They seem to me to be more open than I was, more engaged in righting the world’s wrongs, full of laughter and stories.  I have a few in their 20s (ah having had my children late is a blessing as I meet their friends, some of whom I have watched grow from babyhood and who are now starting their own families) – the intelligence, the quick wit: they bring their own preciousness to my life. One of the most fun weekends I spent in recent years was hosting two girls who were in Europe to study Italian – beat most of the pajama parties I had!
Then there are the teens: such fun when they aren’t your own! People with whom one can get silly (right K?), they may think we’re weird, but since we aren’t their parents, we are tolerated. They bring a new view, energy and hope for the future.

I even find myself falling in love with a few very special children, i.e. a 4-year-old last summer, my German nephew’s children. Then there are the babies, whom I could cuddle till the cows come home – or their parents wish to depart.
As to the last part of her question: truly, how can one grow up in just one place? Every place that I have ever lived has brought something to my life; a new “growing up” and that shouldn’t end until I am no longer here.

So, “grow up”? I don’t think so: I’ll grow wrinkles, age spots, gray hairs and hopefully also grow in experience and wisdom as well.
Stick with me my friends and family regardless of your state of growing, let’s “grow” together, always celebrating the process and not the age.