Every so often I give some thought to what kind of older person I'm going to be. When I was at university a friend of mine rented a room from a retired actress/play write/singer/general creative type. Her name was Mary and she owned a big townhouse which housing more that two lifetime's worth of books, mismatched furniture, play programmes, sheet music and spider plants. She wore loose fitting linen clothes and colourful scarves. I used to think I'd like to be like her. Renting rooms to passing artists and writers. Have lots of stories about things I'd done and seen and places I'd been and people I'd met. Ok I'm thinking about her a lot now and romanticising and yes Mary was cool and I do still want to be an awful lot like Mary... But with a cool white grey cropped hair do, head scarves, very dangly earrings and chunky beaded necklaces.
Woah on the ramble train.
Spider plants, artist friends and very dangly earrings aside, the most important thing I want for senior version me is an ability to embrace change. Lately I'm thinking the happiest older people I know are rolling with the times. You can't fault my Mum on a zest for life and that's because you throw her in to almost any situation and she'll smile, make a few jokes and give anything a go. I think about becoming a Mum for the first time and all the Mums I inescapably surveyed myself against at the time and I don't think "success" really weighed on breast or bottle or hours of sleep gotten or busiest baby development schedule. I think it weighed on the Mum's who were enjoying it the most and the key to enjoying that rodeo? In a nutshell it was probably rolling with the 356 billion changes to you, your life, your spouse, you and your spouse, your job...etc. Not fighting them, somehow beating the journey and escaping unscathed and unchanged.
Because the only constant is change. It's inevitable, it's progress, it's good. It's fine that health advice changed from when I was a baby to when I had a baby, it's great that health advice changed from when Euna was a baby to when Bow was a baby and that was only 20 months past!
It's a flexibility of mind that knows that "your day" isn't "the day", it was not better than this day, it's just a day that you felt at peace with the world and comfortable with how it worked. Probably because you were younger and more open to change and had little or nothing to use as comparison. Sometimes I feel it too. I see Euna tractor-beamed in to her bigger cousin's IPads like a fly to a bug zapping blue light and so much of me wants to yank it away. Even though her time on it will be interactive with her cousins, limited and totally age appropriate because that's just what they have on there. But I want to pull away because it wasn't what I had and I'm fine right?! I pull away because it's not what I knew and that's scary. Truth be told I'm the same with HD eyebrows, Sunsuits for kids and it took me a long time to embrace skinny jeans.
But I'm going to lean in. It's an ongoing personal challenge for me as a person and a parent. Stay interested, flexible, curious and keep progressing. If I can roll with the times then I just think it's going to keep me happy and interested in the world. It's also going to keep me on a platform with my kids where we can see each other, how can we see each other if we're living in different "days"?
Life challenge - lean in to change. And start keeping an eye out for dangly earrings and eccentric friends... It's never to early to start collecting either.
From old thinking, too young... Fried biscuits for numeracy learning anyone?! Yes, that is as good as I could do for text to image link! ;)
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