The discontent of youth passes when you realize that the music you are hearing is not about you, but about itself.
This week I want to celebrate the joy of being not-young. Remember last week I posted a picture of Melitas Forster, who at 94 is our blogger emeritus? Her great-grandfather moved the family into San Juan Capistrano in 1830. Here’s the article. The reporter says the Forster and Yorba families arrived in the OC when the Irvine family was still planting potatoes back in Ireland. While I proudly say I’m a California native, I can’t hold a candle to Melitas, who is practically California royalty. She wears it well, don’t you think?
On another subject, Gini Dietrich, a businesswoman I respect (and blogged about recently), is having an argument with corporate America, saying the answer to the glass ceiling isn’t asking women to behave more like men. You can read the whole post here. She got some blowback from her readers so I jumped in to defend her. One thing I love about this gutsy gal is that when she started her PR firm, Arment and Dietrich, she invented a male partner to give the firm heft. Charles Arment doesn’t exist. Ha ha! Gini isn’t very old but I’m going to award her Devious Old Broad status.
Here’s another inspiring woman: Bel Kaufman. Probably best known for writing Up the Down Staircase, Bel is very old and still going strong. Here’s the last part of her essay in this month’s Vogue.
I’ve lived a long time, a very long time, 101 years, and I’m still here. I’m done with the doubts and struggles and insecurities of youth. I’m finished with loss and guilt and regret. I’m very old, and nothing is expected of me. Now, provided good health continues, I can do what I want. I can write my memoirs. I can edit my works for future eBooks. I can even do nothing – what a luxury that is!
Pssst! Lynne here. Doesn’t that sound great? Bel continues:
I have new priorities and a new appreciation of time. I enjoy my family more than ever, and also a sunny day and a comfortable bed. I keep up my interest in books and theater and people, and when I’m tired, I rest. My former students write to me and visit me. I had many problems and disasters in my life; fortunately, at my age, I don’t remember what they were. I’m glad I am 101.
From the other end of the scale, in the Land of the Young: during the half-hour commute home from my babysitting gig, I listen to Cosmo radio on Sirius, specifically the Dr. Jenn Love and Sex show. The majority of the callers are young, and they’re in complete despair about some pretty simple stuff. Okay, not always. I admit I cried along with one caller; the poor thing had gone through more tragedy than I have and I’m almost three times her age. But a lot of the callers are kind of lightweight, if you know what I mean – still wandering around confused, not sure who they are or where to plant their swords. So it’s sort of entertaining, not to make fun of youth or anything.
If you need one more reason to feel good about being no-longer-young, there’s this:
Youth is the season of tragedy and despair. Youth is the time when one’s whole life is entangled in a web of identity, in a perpetual maze of seeking and of finding, of passion and of disillusion, of vague longings and of nameless griefs, of pity that is a blade in the heart, and of ‘all the little emptiness of love.’ Then the soul drifts on the shallow stream of personality, within narrow borders. Not until life has passed through that retarded channel out upon the wide open sea of impersonality, can one really begin to live, not simply with the intenser part of oneself, but with one’s entire being…