Friday, October 2, 2015

"Getting Old - Do Not Disturb"

I feel like I have two girls living inside.

One is about 7 years old and has big ideas. Her dreams are bigger than her shoes but she doesn't care.

She's pretty clear about what she wants and there is nothing that can stop her because her imagination is the force within that drives her.  She would never tell you that because she's too young to know better. Dreaming is as natural as breathing. She doesn't give it a second thought. Decisions are easy. She does what pops into her head without thought of the future. It's all about the NOW.

The second girl is about 70 years old.

She's been through more things than you should ever take time to hear about. She has stepped out and taken some risks. Though most things have turned out ok, she's still sure that as she gets older, risks are too....well, um.....risky. Experience and fears (usually unfounded) make her less apt to dream. She could easily close up shop and hang a sign on the door:

"Getting Old - Do Not Disturb"

Yesterday I told my husband that the little girl in me seems to know exactly what to do, but the old woman in me rebukes me and starts talking me out of everything.

The older I get, the more I am trying to listen to the little girl inside. I think you reach a certain age where you start realizing that what you might lose is worth risking. (Please remind me of this the next time you see me freaking out).

I recently found myself wishing for a way to bring the two generations together - not just my two girls on the inside, but in society.

I was in Canada on a mini tour and one of the events I did was very small, but very rich. I'd go back again in a heartbeat. A group of mostly elderly gathered to sing hymns for a couple of hours. They were invited to pick their favorite songs and boy did we sing! When we weren't crying, that is. We ate a tasty lunch and then I did a concert for them. They laughed at "Silver Hair", my new parody of "Silver Bells".  It's not too early for Christmas these days.  It's all I think about as my big concert draws near.

I watched as they started blowing noses and wiping tears. I choked up. Some of them don't get to sing the old hymns any more. But they've lived life long enough that when they sing, they know from experience how true the words are. I found myself wishing the young people could experience this moment. I found myself wondering what I could do to join the vitality of youth, faith and zeal with the deep endurance of those who have lived long enough to be touched by the simplicity of faith.

The song leader and I are not yet fifty. We still have some youth left in us but we have been dancing with the symptoms of aging and we're getting a bit clumsy in our 'jig' as we navigate our forties. We can learn from those who have been there.

And likewise, I wish there was a way that the little girl in me could keep the old woman from caving in to ease and comfort. There must be a way for the old woman in me to nurture and guide the little girl who loves to dream.

Just like there must be a way for the younger generation to help the older ones remember how to dream. There must be a way for the older generation to speak wisdom and experience to the youth and catch them when they fall.

I think I'll keep my shop open for a while yet and I think I will change the sign:

"Getting Old - MOVE Out Of My Way"