Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Growing Young

My gorgeous niece loving life!

"In our minds," he said, "we need never 'grow old.'  
It's the wrong expression, isn't it, if you think about it:  
When we stop growing, we are old!" Gus MacPherson

Have you ever read a quote that resonates with you 
and sits within your heart for a very long time?  
This is what happened to me when I read these words
spoken by the character of Gus in the Stephanie Kallos 
novel Broken for You.  Gus is an octogenarian who works 
part time {for fun}, takes a senior's yoga class, attends lectures,
 concerts, art exhibits, takes classes at the community college 
and sings in a barbershop quartet.  He is a Scotsman 
and wears his kilt to formal affairs. 

 He has a lot of friends. 
He doesn't act "old."

This is how I pictured Gus.
{Sir Sean Connery turns 80 in August!}

He laughed a lot

Still doing yoga

This weekend I was sipping coffee
 in one of my favorite coffee houses, 
when I looked up and
read a banner that suggested this:

Be the first to apologize
Plant lots of trees
Sleep under the stars
Dare to adventure
Visit 22. 55'S, 43. 12'W
Spend time with your kids, tomorrow they're a day older
Run your feet, not your mouth
Don't wait for New Year's to make a resolution
Make time for silly
Marshmallows have no nutritional value, and that's o.k.
Have a favorite charity
Listen first, talk second


Thoughts of growing older {or YOUNG}
 have been on my mind a great
deal lately since my father in law landed 
in the hospital with a broken hip a month ago,
 and has been at a rehabilitation center for the last month.

When I visit him there, some patients light up
 when I smile at them in the hallways 
and others stare blankly ahead, as if all their smiles 
had been used up, long ago. 
 As if they are no longer in the game.  
They aren't interested in stars or silly or marshmallows.

What keeps my father in law in the game?

Actually, not what, but who...

She does.

They first bonded when Gracie spent a holiday with him.  
Hours of playing and cuddling and napping together 
forged a link forever strong for both of them. 
I take her to visit Jim in the rehab center
 and she has been his special girl, even there, 
sitting patiently with him and somehow knowing 
that he can't play with her, right now.

Are you growing older or are you growing young?  

Physically we can do what we need to
in order to maintain our outer selves, by eating
 healthy and taking care of our bodies as we should.  
But time marches inexorably on 
and that we cannot change.

But on the inside

Are you growing young?

My lovely second cousin!
Things that help me grow young....

Cycling on a sunny day with the wind blowing through my hair ~ I'm seven again
Thrusting my face into a branch laden with lilacs... I'm five
Laughing with my husband.....I'm twenty and in love 
Blowing bubbles on the deck....I'm three and just learning how
Turning the car radio up loud and singing along.....I'm ten and following the top 40
Nuzzling my son's neck as I tuck him in....He's brand new and I'm a young mom
Munching on an apple as I read a good book.....I'm twelve and home from school
Trying a new craft with my daughter....I'm finger painting and we are both two
Walking on a beach with my toes in the sand.....I'm four and in awe of the water

Alexandra Stoddard, a favorite author of mine,
 summed up the art of growing young
 in her book Living a Beautiful Life

Says Alexandra:
Emily Dickinson lived most of her life
 in one house in Amherst; yet she wrote,
"I dwell in possibility."  In your own style, 
in a noncomercial, nonpolitical, non-spectacular way,
 you can forge individual rituals 
which can give you the greatest gift of all, 
the art of living richly and fully.

Grow young, today, my friends.  See each day as an adventure
 that you can make meaningful in ways that speak to you
 Laugh.  Seek.  Eat a marshmallow.  Hug a pet.  
Smell the flowers.  Make something.  Dwell in possibility. 
 And never, ever,
stop growing.

As we grow old...the beauty steals inward.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

PS:  22. 55'S, 43. 12'W is
Rio De Janero

[Images 2-4 : Google; 5 and 9: Masonic Homes;
Others:  Privet and Holly]


Jennifer said...

The photos were just reflections of ideas for the post - my home is done in whites, taupe, seafoam, beige and blue. I also have red and teal Transferware dishes but only buy white accessory dishes or white ironstone. But I love the soft colors of the first few photos. Jennifer jennsthreegraces

Marie said...

Another beautiful post!! I just loved it. It always amazes me that I feel the same way inside as I did 15, 20 or even 30 years ago! It's that first look in the mirror in the morning that slaps me back into reality!! You're only as old or as young as you feel I think! I think that dried cranberries would work perfectly in my chicken salad, as would dried apricots. The syrup from the mostarde di frutta does give it a bit of heat so perhaps you could stir in a TBS of Dijon as well, and then a tsp of honey. Oh my now that is sounding really good! xxoo

ZAIRA said...

Hi Suzanne!!!! I love this post, it made me think a lot. Like St Exupery wrote: all adults have been children, but just a few do remember it....I love your niece and cousin, such sweet children. xxx

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

My dearest, HOW DID I MISS THE PREVIOUS POST? Now, this one, WOW. I love this one! I will be back....I am at school. Anita

La Dolfina said...

This post today is a wonderful gift that I wholly subscribe to! It's so lovely how you've articulated that happiness is found in moments!
I can only imagine the sunshine that radiates from you and spreads warmth and love when you visit your Father in Law at the Rehab Center. Gracie is definitely the key to a quick recovery. He'll be in my thoughts and prayers!!!

Kim said...

Many words of wisdom in this post and lots of food for thought! Thanks!

Grammy said...

I'm trying!! Everyday is a blessing in itself.
Keeping the body and mind busy can keep me from dwelling on the fact that chronologically I may not be "young", but I don't feel old. I loved the
post with pictures of some of my favorite "people".
Love, Mom xxx

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

I like myself so much better than I did 20 years ago.

Please stop by an enter my French Basketeer tote giveaway.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

O.K. now I have a little quiet! Oh Suzanne, this is such a wonderful post. I so love everything this gentleman has to say, and what you have to say as well. This is the only way to live whether you are young or old. Joy, laughter, children, creation, and REJOICING in it all is the way to live. It may not guarantee LONG LIFE, but it is a sure remedy to LIVE WELL. Thank you for this magnificent post and this is the way I want to guide my writing---to uplift and build my readers esteem and hope.

BRAVO! Anita

Beach House Living said...

As I approach a birthday this post couldn't have had better timing!

How nice Gracie can visit the rehab center and assist in lifting your father in law's spirits.

Have a great week...P.S. your niece is adorable love her outfit!

Maya said...

I love the idea of "dwelling in possibility". The quote that's been with me is "what you focus on grows". Some people seem to expect to become sick and stiff as years go by, I try to stay focused on that which is eternal and timeless, name it soul, spirit or higher self..., and we shall see, right!

Great post!

Maya said...

Sorry, wrong profile above. This links!

The Zhush said...

Wow...why am I crying right now? I guess b/c your post really really touched me...:)

fairmaiden said...

I'm growing young! Just last week I wrote on FB about my day at the park and walking barefoot through the made me feel like a little girl. Why do we stop...walking barefoot in the grass? I hadn't done it in so long that I forgot how good it feels. Like a massage for the feet and heart.

I have been in a transitional year, after 15yrs. of Home Education I am now trying to figure out what to do next...I have felt like I'm back to my senior year of college...really...and I feel that young at heart still. In this year of applying for part-time work in my field of education(B.A foods and nutrition) and experience(15yrs. teaching) I have discovered that my childhood desire to be an Artist is still my true passion...and so I am going that direction. I will still apply for a position at a new local Healthfood Market coming from S.Ca and am hoping for a part-time position(it would be a fun place to work)...but I will give myself to hours in the studio-painting and drawing again. So yes, I am pursuing to 'grow young' rather than 'old'. ox

Morning T said...

You have such a way with words and tying the images in. I love this post and at times am very aware of a younger me screaming to get out. Having children really helps foster our inner child and allows them to come out and join in the fun.

You are awesome~ thank you for this today!

Anne - Fiona and Twig said...

What a beautiful, thoughtful post, Suzanne. :-)

I cried as I viewed the photo of your FIL and his girl Gracie...animals truly are sometimes the best "people" for the job, aren't they?

This post resonates with me SO much, as my own elderly mother seems to have given up on life in so many ways, large and small. I've watched her age so much these past few years, as bit by bit, she forgot where her joy could be found.

It makes me grasp even more tightly that which gives me joy. My faith, my family, my friends...of which I count YOU, dear one!

So much good stuff here. I think people need to read this today, if you don't mind, I might add a link to this post in my next one.

Love ya!

Acanthus and Acorn said...

I love this! My own personal matntra: right now, this moment...may be all you have, so be young minded and enjoy it!!!

I love to around people that laugh easily, those are the most memorable times.

Thanks for a beautiful reminder.

Olive Cooper said...

Charming, Charming post Suzanne. Enough said.

Andrea said...

Great post! The picture of your doggie and father in law is beyond precious. When my grandma was in rehab for a stroke I think her best days were the days "Petunia" her shih tzu came for a visit:)

followingsplendor said...

Thank you...I am so glad I visited today! It seems I have also been thinking a lot on how to 'grow old gracefully'...I think now I will concentrate on 'growing young...gracefully'!!

C. Dianne Zweig said...

What a wonderful post.....I am going to write those words dwon now...Growing Young,


beth said...

Oh this is beautiful! Thanks for sharing the great post!

My Yellow House said...

Again, you have expressed everything I think and feel. This couldn't have come at a better time too - my birthday is tomorrow and I've been having a difficult time with it. After reading this though, it makes me want to change immediately and enjoy each moment...who cares about the year number anyway!
You have such a talent with your thoughts and words...thank you!

hometown girl said...

i love this post suzanne, you write beautifully! so ture we must hand onto kids do that for me. i love watching their faces and you see such joy in simple things like you mentioned as we grow older we take those things for granted. hugs, susan

Rebecca said...

I sooo needed this today.

Thank you.


Fearless Nester said...

You always have something over here for me to marvel at. I love your insight into subjects we don't often realize impact our lives in a profound way. Wishing your dear FIL a full and steady recovery so he can hug the dickens out of little Gracie. ~Lili

Sandi said...

Tears grace my cheek due to the wonderful words you shared.

Thank you for such a very special giving.


Linda said...

Such a lovely my mind I'm still such a girl, even though I'm a grandma three times now...I'm trying to find joy in each day RIGHT NOW...

Love the Decor! said...

That was absolutely beautiful!! Thank you!!

kasey said...

what a gorgeous post!!
loved it.

Tina said...

Hi Suzanne, I just popped on over from the gorgeous Anne's blog Fiona & the Twig. I loved this post very much as it reflects a conscious decision both my hubby and I made 5 years ago after I lost two close family members in one year. We chose to do just this and live young and make the most from each day. I wake up every morning and consciously think what I can do that day to achieve this, as well as how I can make each day the best it can be for our family. So far it is working wonderfully:) Thank you for sharing your wonderful words and pics, you write so beautifully. Wishing you a lovely day ~ Tina x

marie said...

Wonderful post ~ after reading it I don't feel quite so old!
Thank you!

(and thank you to Anne (Fiona & Twig) for introducing me to your sweet blog! said...

I just found you through Fiona and Twig (love her). Your post is just so beautiful. It is funny because just this morning I said to my husband "I know we are another year older but I really don't feel like I am getting 'old'" It is a great feeling, feeling like that. Every day is another day for a new adventure, to learn something wonderful, to discover. I also love to read Alexandra Stoddard - always inspirational. I just became a follower of your blog. Don't want to miss another uplifting post:)
Blog: Capers of the vintage vixens

shari @ little blue deer said...

Aww, so very introspective. You always make me think, Suzanne. Your niece is truly a gorgeous child, love her yellow tutu skirt!

lisaroy said...

What a beautiful post - I'm sitting here crying for some reason! I think as our parents become elderly and we start to lose people in our lives, this becomes more and more true. We need to enjoy every moment and not let life pass us by.
My highschool sweetheart and I are approaching our 20th anniversary in a few weeks and we are apart so much while he works in Ireland and I spend time at our place in Canada. Absence does make the heart grow fonder and we treasure the moments that we are together. It has made us appreciate and love one another even more.
And no matter how busy life gets and how much the Blackberry beckons, taking a moment to watch a bird hop on the deck, roasting a marshmallow, skipping stones on the river and blowing bubbles into a glass of milk with a straw are what keep us young. And simply being kind will attract kindness back to you and will keep your heart light.
So glad Gracie is giving your father-in-law comfort!
Thanks for your lovely thought-provoking post today! xx

AuroraSuzette said...

Lovely post. Loved every word. I hope I will continue to greet every single day as enthusiastically as I do now, and spend oodles of time lovin' my kids!

Debra@Common Ground said...

Just beautiful. I'm glad I'm the age I am, I wouldn't go back for anything. The attitude in our heart shapes our destiny.
hugs and blessings,

Julie said...

Beautiful, Suzanne...every word...just beautiful!

My mother-in-law is 80...still throws parties at her house for any reason she can think of, takes classes at the local college, travels all over the world, takes her grandkids on special trips...a great example!

Thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts...loved it all!

craftymarta said...

Hi! I link to your blog from Annie's. She did not exaggerated. You definitely got the gift of the written word. I also believe in the anointing of the Holy Spirit. You are indeed anointed. Will follow your blog, just the perfect refreshment after a days work. Blessings, Marta.

June said...

Oh I do think I grow younger in spirit everyday. Of course older in body, as it reminds me when I work a full day in the garden. I now take joy in the littlest things in life.
A truly beautiful post Suzanne.

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Suzanne,

What a wonderful post, you have shared and such great advice ~ thank you.
It was lovely to discover your beautiful blog, via Anne. May we always grow young and enjoy life.


A Write Life said...

I love the idea of dwelling in possibility! Thanks for the post.

koralee said...

Love this post today my amaze me with your wisdom...hugs to you and I soooooooo love this.....everything single thing about it. xoxo You really inspire

JESSON and REY ANN said...

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The father of succes is WORK,
The mother of succes is AMBITION,
The oldest son of succes is COMMON SENSE
The oldest daughter of succes is CHARACTER,
Some sisters of success are CHEERFULNESS, LOYALTY, CARE, ECONOMY, and SINCERITY,
The baby is OPPORTUNITY.

Lululiz said...

Beautiful thought provoking post, thank you for putting so many of my thoughts into words.

paige said...

so eloquently said
beautiful post xo

Alisa said...

Fabulous post, as always Suzanne!
I try to be very aware(living in the moment)and live my life to the richest, as you have written. My friends like to say I live in my own little "happy bubble", but there are some days I slip and forget or get caught up in a place I don't want/shouldn't be. So thank you for this beautiful reminder... it came on a morning that I really needed it.

My Grama's Soul said...

Good morning.....what a great post.....everyone needs to read this.

I'm 63 and hopefully growing younger everyday. I have a 7 year old grandson and I've been "blowing bubbles" everyday!!!!!

Blessings to you,


Sharon said...

Thank you for such a beautiful post. It truly touched my soul. You certainly have the gift for writing. Anne at Fiona and Twig mentioned you and she is so right and I thank her for the heads up. I am now a follower.

clustres said...

Extremely inspiring!

shopgirl said...

I just stumbled upon your blog and I really like this post. I love the photo of the man doing yoga. It gives me hope and something to look forward to.

Look forward to reading more.

Rambles with Reese

bBchronicles said...

LOVE this post! I decided a long time ago, when I was about 25, that I wasn't going to get any older - so basically, I'm 25 yrs old in my brain! The mirror is no longer reflecting 25 - so sometimes I get confused exactly 'where I am'!!! Yep, it's a constant battle - pushing time back so you can get a breath. Each night I go to bed I can't believe another day has gone by so fast - but I'm thankful for each day I have -happy and healthy. Thanks for sharing.

Kathysue said...

Oh how I loved this post. I have spent a great deal of time in rehab centers with my Moms husband. I have looked at some of the patients and it is if no one is in there anymore and then there are others that still have that twinkle in their eyes. I think we in America do not honor the aged and we somehow think they have nothing else to give. They have a lifetime of experiences to give and share and all they need is someone to look,pay attention and listen. As I said, Love this post!! You my dear are quite the writer, Kathysue

Low Tide High Style said...

Beautiful post Suzanne, just like you my friend! And I try to grow "young" each and every day! I hope your father in law is improving with each passing day as well!

Kat :)