By Barbara Finnegan
In our Custer’s Mill Mystery series, we’ve tried to emphasize the contribution of older persons in a community. Our “library ladies” are retired women who devote their time and energy into making the town a better place to live. They are important in their spheres of influence, even if the wider world doesn’t recognize their value.
In our western culture, we tend to shy away from talk about mortality, and old age is often denigrated. Aging, for women especially, is an embarrassment, to be hidden away like an ugly scar. Popular culture urges women to try to conceal it as long as possible. Maybe that’s part of the draw of retirement communities. Perhaps being around other aging people is the only way folks can be themselves. It’s okay to be old around other old folks.
And yet, on a personal level, many of us mourn and miss our deceased relatives for years, no matter how old they were when they died. I still find myself often wishing my father, who died in 2016, could walk around my farm with me. He’d love it!
If you can shake off the constraints of the anti-aging culture, aging can be freeing. Wise old folks realize time is precious, and the expectations of earlier years don’t matter as much as they used to. Take time to enjoy simple pleasures with new and old friends, offer a helping hand to those in need, or bake cookies with a grandchild. Revel in nature by tending a garden. Figure out what it means to use your time wisely.
Share stories of your life for your family members. I treasure written stories of the lives and times of my grandparents and parents, and wish they’d written down many more.
Do you have written stories about your older relatives? Send them to us, we’d love to see them!
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