Monday, April 23, 2012

SAGE= Set a Good Example

Lilacs are blooming on the west side of my cottage! I had to pick a bouquet to place near my desk. I am a woman unabashedly in love with flowers.

In proximity to the lilacs, roses, clematis, lilies, daisies, pinks, tulips and other flowers in the gardens here, I am in a recurring state of delight thanks their effusive displays.

Certainly, this cannot be anything but good.

It is restorative to let my eyes rest on the  lilacs as I work at my desk. And it's wonderful when their scent wafts through the room, too.

Do you have memory or sensory associations with different flowers? I certainly do.

This is a necklace I made last week at Wendy Gell's Sunday class.
BOLD. It's my sense that one must approach aging with boldness and a willingness to engage in the process as an adventure, rather than a sentence of some sort. Boldness to me encompasses both inner and outer explorations.

I plan to make more icons like this to extoll  boldness. I want to inspire others to live fully as they age, and not cave into prevalent declinist stereotypes about aging.

I'll keep you posted about the development of pro-aging icons and talismans.

This morning, I was thinking back a year to last April 23rd, when I produced an event titled A Celebration of Aging in order to preview some of the songs in A New Wrinkle.

I really wanted to create an energetic space that would allow local folks to acknowledge aging as a potent time of life. The event was also my way of celebrating my 70th birthday. It turned out to be a standing room only event,  marvelous in many ways, and exasperating in a few, as things can sometimes be.

I was remembering the talk that Dr. Rick Kirschner gave at the event. It might be on YouTube. Rick is an engaging, nationally sought-after best-selling author and speaker and he made a lot of great points. One of them was suggesting that the word sage might stand for "setting a good example."

I wholeheartedly agree. Yesterday I sat outside in the garden with Elaine Cornick, a woman I am getting to know. She and I are kindred spirits on the subject of positive aging. "We have to create models of how to age," she asserted. Yes, we do. Our society provides little guidance in that regard.

It's odd, because we have in our midst many examples of older people whose accomplishments and activities enrich and inspire us. I know I mentioned some of them in my last blog post. Somehow, we continue as a culture to focus on the negative though. So setting a good example is quite important. It would be important even if our society had a wonderful pro-aging perspective, which I hope it will cultivate and rather soon, too. Setting a good example, leaving a meaningful legacy, being oneself fully, following one's mature moral and spiritual impulses to create and participate in ways that benefit others, this is some of the work of aging.


  1. I've always been a fan of the Maggie Kuhn's school of "Gray Panthers." I don't hear much of that school since she died. She was a brilliant woman that gave "boldness" to aging. Nice to see your icon of boldness!-- barbara

    1. Yes, she was a real leader and the Gray Panthers have not been as vivid since.

    2. Dearest Gaea, I love the idea of creating a pro-aging mentality in our culture. In the last three years, I have reduced my work load at my day job of teaching ESL at Georgia Tech and made time to do volunteer work with some other artists in my community. These women happen to be older than my 50 plus years, and I have benefitted enormously from their life experiences, knowledge about art and so many other things, and calm dedicated way of interacting with the people we serve. Since I started communing with these women and doing community work, two women have died. I marvel that I got a chance to know them, be with them, and cherish them before they left the world. My life is enriched. I think all of us need to stop rushing around and spend time getting to know one another--especially the older members of our community! Yes to honoring our ELDERS!

    3. Hallelujah dear, Thank you for your comment. I am glad to hear about the way you have shifted your schedule and how communing with elders has been enriching your life. Elders have a great deal to share.

      I am passionate about changing our society's paradigm on aging. That's why I have created the musical revue A New Wrinkle.

      Best to you--enjoy the slow lane!