“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” ~ Betty Friedan
Remember when grandmothers were downright frumpy, dowdy and matronly? In previous generations, once men and women reached the age of retirement they passively laid in waiting for their turn to pass through heaven’s gate.
What used to be iconic images of the “golden years” has gone by the wayside. Baby boomers who are now becoming grandparents bare little resemblance to iconic images of retirees of the past. My mom, who recently succumbed at eighty-nine, she still had chutzpah till the very end. I often ponder what was her secret? I think she simply decided no matter what she’d stay fully engaged in life!
I recently spent a fun morning at Summit Manor in Monkton, Maryland giving a presentation on memoir/legacy writing. As I scanned the room it was evident why individuals were there. They were busy bees doing all kinds of activities keeping their minds active and engaged – some intensely played cards or board games, others knitted, others were doing a multitude of other things involving their interests. The social interaction with one another was evident.
During my presentation we took time to recall nostalgic memories passing a bag of penny candy naming other old time confections and recalling the places we used to frequent with pockets full of pennies to buy our favorites. We looked at other vintage pictures intended to rouse our olfactory senses and stir the recollections bank. It’s a fascinating phenomenon – each person’s brain takes in, processes and saves information differently. The memory is often stirred in unexpected ways.
I was not a spring chicken when I started my memoir writing project, nor was I an experienced writer! Writing an award-winning memoir is one of the most fulfilling things I have done in my life.
Legacy writing gives us the opportunity to explore things about ourselves and what one truly values. It’s healthy to look back as long as we don’t stay stuck in the past and continue to actively round out our life experiences. As Ann Dowd once said, “Life gets more interesting as it goes on. It becomes fuller because there is perspective there. ”