I had a hard time deciding on an “I” word to write about today. So many tempting “I” words have a negative connotation: idiot, impolite, ill-conceived idea, illiterate. I don’t want to turn this blog into rant central (Get off my lawn, you dang kids!), so I try to maintain a positive focus—well, most of the time.
This phase of my life (fifties, retirement) is a time of constructing a new identity. I now have the necessary stillness and space to figure out how I’ll spend this precious time. It helps me to look at others who seem to be doing this age well.
I’m impressed by
- People who make art–all kinds of art, from illustrations to sculptures to choreography to music. There’s an electric energy at any kind of live performance, and that same energy vibrates in hand-made objects of beauty. Very impressive.
- People who cross barriers, push envelopes, brush aside impediments. Determination and persistence are so important in reaching our goals, and I’m impressed by people who set goals and don’t give up.
- People who are comfortable in their own skin. Now, I’m all in favor of adornment and personal self-expression, be it clothing, jewelry, tattoos, hair style, what have you. But smugly or desperately clinging to a false front (fake tan, fake boobs, fake nails, Botox-frozen brow, Spanx-squished guts) is not impressive; it’s just sad. I’m impressed with people who accept and enjoy their own beauty and style.
- People who are active. It’s so easy today to just sit and absorb: information, entertainment, food. I’m impressed by people who are out there in the world, creating something instead of just consuming.
- People who are connected and engaged. Introverts like me are tempted to stay home more often than is good for us. I’m impressed by people who get involved in community improvement projects.
- People who think. This is the most important quality, in my estimation. “Just because” is not a good reason for doing anything. Well, perhaps for plopping down on the grass and gazing up at the deep blue sky… I’m impressed by people who think through life’s questions, big and small.
- People who have a sense of whimsy, of fun. I’m impressed by people who know how to have a good time, and how to make their own good times.
- People who are kind. Kindness is contagious; so is crankiness. I’m impressed by people who can keep their cool and their compassion when faced with daily irritations and rudeness.
- People who are open. This is perhaps the hardest quality to wrap words around, but it’s an easy quality to feel. Some people’s faces are just closed up tight. I’ve met many older women who suffer from this tight-faced syndrome, always on guard, as if they expect to be taken advantage of. I’m impressed by people who are relaxed, open to meeting new people, new situations. I guess it’s optimism that I see in their eyes, the expectation that they’ll be fine. That’s a sign of strength.
- People who don’t use age as an excuse. This quality is dear to my heart. No one is too young or too old to do sports, dance, make art, invent something, contribute. Basta!