Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Becoming Gracious

I have given a lot of thought to the way I want to grow old. My mom said she was going to live to be 100 so matter of factly the whole time I was growing up, that I just thought that's what one did. So I've always intended to live to be 100. I will be 50 in a few years and it feels like I'll be able to re-start the odometer and do the whole trip over again, so I definitely don't feel old yet, but I assume at some point I will be officially an old woman. Instead of being horrified by that idea, I want to grow in to it graciously. I've known some grand old women, beautiful and gracious and comfortable with their age. They are wise, wonderful, kind and funny. Intelligent and accomplished, too, with very interesting stories to tell. They wear their crowns of white hair as regally as queens and I admire them greatly. That's the kind of old woman I want to be, and I figure it won't just happen. No, I will have to work toward it every day as I build my life decision by decision, choice by choice.

I have always been fascinated by Scarlett of Gone With the Wind fame. She secretly wishes to grow to be exactly like her gracious, self-sacrificing, servant mother. Scarlett is portrayed as self-centered to an amazing degree, willing to do anything that will advance her own welfare to the detriment of anyone who gets in her way. But every time she makes a bad choice, she reassures herself that some day when it is more convenient, she'll be kind, worry about others before herself, sacrifice for the common good. She puts off every good choice to a tomorrow that never quite comes, never realizing that with every bad choice she makes she goes the opposite direction of where she wants to end up. That made a huge impression on me growing up. I came to realize that every single choice I made was a building block in the person I would become. Kindness and self-denial are not concepts to be discussed but character traits to be developed by practicing them time after time, when it is least convenient and hardest to do. But if I practice being gracious throughout my life, I am confident that some day I will grow to be like the women I so admire.

"A gracious woman attains honor. Let (her adornment) be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. Strength and dignity are her clothing and she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." (medley of Proverbs 11:16, 1 Peter 3:4, Proverbs 31: 25, 26) This is what I aspire to.

15 comments:

daffy said...

It sounds perfect doesn't it. I don't think 'old' is the same as it used to be when I was younger. An older, gracious lady, looked warm, happy, inviting, engaging... you could picture a 'grandmother-esque' image in your mind of a kind face, the white hair, the ruddy cheeks and perhaps a more rounded figure. :o) That is how I want to be when I am growing older, graciously. My mum was getting there, I think she would have been a perfect example of what I aim to be.
I think about this kind of thing too... It's nice to know I'm not alone.

Cherdecor said...

Great post!

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

This is lovely. You're on a roll with these two posts.

I want to be gracious and comfortable with who I am, willing to speak up about my opinions and beliefs but not arrogant about them. "Wise, wonderful, kind, funny" all sound good to me.

I turn 50 in two days, so I guess I'm moving into that stage of my life. LOL

nikkipolani said...

What a wonderful thought post, Tracie. Several of my friends have had various significant birthdays and are feeling unhappy about growing old. So your writing about purposefully becoming is so apt.

Wanda said...

Very well writen. I'm 17 years older than you, and I'm still trying to grow old graciously, and then I look in the mirror without my eyeliner, blush and teased hair, and say... Woman, you are old, now are you gracious. I put on my face and feel 40 in my spirit, and smile at old age, and think...I love my life at 67.

Thanks for a every insightful post.

LOL:Wanda

Merle said...

Dear Rosezilla ~~ Great post and congrats on thinking about how you want to age gracefully; You ae wise to think about it, but you have a long way to go before you are old. My only advice is look after yourself now. I cannot do much exercise at all now.But to just take up walking or dancing or swimming. whatever you like, watch you don't put on too much weight, it is healthier to be trim. Thanks for your comment. My brother keeps changing my Header, I never know what I'll find,
Glad you liked the Lawn story. Take care, Love, Merle.

Betsy said...

I love this! And you know, not all ladies grow old gracefully! I've had the displeasure lately of witnessing a few older women just plain behaving badly....forgetting their manners, being rude, speaking their mind when they shouldn't...it's as if they are tired of behaving and just don't care anymore. I like your goals and thoughts here...so wise and so true! And the younger ones to watch and take notice, don't we!?

Connie said...

As am turning 50 very soon I have embraced it with enthusiasm. It feels like an exciting chapter is beginning. I finally know who I am or who I want to be!!! Cosmetically, I won't have plastic surgery however will probably continue to highlight my hair for a while.:) Those laugh lines and crows say that I smile and laugh alot!!! Your blog makes me feel calm and happy. Thanks.

Sara said...

This has always been my hope and wish too....I'm 8 years ahead of you on that road, but (smile) I think we are really walking side by side...

You expressed yourself so wonderfully, thank you for the encouragement and inspiration.

Charli and me said...

I love your post. I am an old woman who is growing old graciously. I believe God wants us to be our very best at every age.

LOUISE said...

Until my mum became ill she radiated happiness all around her. I so want to be like her and I have been practising her technique since I was old enough to remember! It doesn't matter how many wrinkles or grey hairs you have, so long as you always wear a smile. x

My Petite Maison said...

Hi Tracie,
What a great post - it is wonderful getting older and feeling more comfortable in my own skin. Not taking hours to get ready and to remember (or at least try to remember) that every person has a story and something we're not aware of in the psst that has touched them in some way that has possibly touched us too.

I really love this post - you'll do it, no problem, you're already thinking ahead.

Happy weekend,
~Tracie

Merle said...

Hi again Rosezilla ~~ Thank you for your comments and I am glad you liked "You're Special". I love the saying you quoted ~
"you are special, just like everybody else." I have seen it before. It's a good one for ppl who think they are very special. To join my followers, you just click on the line that says "Follow this blog: and thank you.. I am OK again thank you my friend for the good wishes. Take care, Love, Merle.

steviewren said...

I've thought about this before and realized early on that you have to be a happy, kind, interesting person when you are young if you want to be that when you are old...I'm afraid I'm failing sometimes. I must work harder!

jenniferw said...

Where you at, girl ... over there aging graciously? LOL! You are missed!

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