Desiderata - Stanza 5

by Max Ehrmann

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Unread postby fansmom » Fri Mar 25, 2005 10:33 pm

That is wonderful, luvdepp.

I remember reading a novel in which a woman reminisced that when she was 30, she missed the attractive body she'd had when she was 20. And when she was 40, she missed the resilient body she'd had when she was 30. And when she was 50, she missed the healthy body she'd had when she was 40. And when she was 60, she was just thankful she was still going and seemed capable of going on for some time.

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Unread postby Liz » Sat Mar 26, 2005 12:50 am

luvdepp wrote:
deppraved wrote:Be gentle with yourself--perfectionism is like an illness, and sometimes we, especially women, beat ourselves up far too often and too brutally, weakening our sense of worth. I am trying to be mindful to model tolerance, to show it to myself and let others see it's ok not to be so judgemental.
You make a mistake, you learn from it, and you move forward.
I like being 50 years old, and I daresay I won't mind, if my health holds out, being 60, 70, 80.....
you couldn't pay me a zillion to be younger again. :cool:

So true deppraved. I just received this in an email from my mom's very cool 70 year old cousin. I thought it was applicable to today's discussion.


The other day a young person asked me how I felt about being old. I was taken aback, for I do not think of myself as old. Upon seeing my reaction, she was immediately embarrassed, but I explained that it was an interesting question, and I would ponder it, and let her know.

Old age, I decided, is a gift. I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometime despair over my body- the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror, but I don't agonize over those things for long.

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to overeat, to be messy, to be extravagant. I have seen too many dear friends leave this! world t oo soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read until 4 a.m, and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60's, and if I at the same time wish to weep over a lost love, I will. I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the bikini set. They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten - and I eventually remember the important things. Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when a beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turn gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver. I can say "no", and mean it. I can say "yes", and mean it. As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what w ill be. And I shall eat dessert every single day.

I love that, Luvdepp. Thanks for sharing it. It is so apropos to today's discussion. I, for one, feel that these are the best years of my life, for all the reasons stated there. Mostly, I've just come to accept myself for who I am. That was so difficult when I was younger. I hope I continue to feel this way. :hope:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby nebraska » Sat Mar 26, 2005 3:11 pm

Oh, the piece about growing old is wonderful! Reminds me of some of Erma Bombeck's stuff. I passed it on to some friends, I hope that was ok.

I think this stanza reminds us, along with all the points about being forgiving of ourself, etc that it is important to take care of our health. The part about fatigue, for instance, speaks to me. I am trying really hard to get to bed at a more reasonable hour so I am rested enough to meet the challenges of my day. That may explain why I only seem to show up here every third day lately.

Eating well, resting well, exercising -- all those things we do to take care of our outsides have a great influence on how our insides feel!

Fansmom, hooray for you! Enjoy that comfortable new body you are in. You deserve to be very proud of what you have accomplished.

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Unread postby lumineuse » Sat Mar 26, 2005 5:20 pm

Thanks so much for posting that, luvdepp. I would really like to share it - do you think it would be okay if I passed it along?
"Oh, good!........ No worries, then."

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Unread postby luvdepp » Sat Mar 26, 2005 9:48 pm

lumineuse wrote:Thanks so much for posting that, luvdepp. I would really like to share it - do you think it would be okay if I passed it along?

Of course you can pass it along, lumineuse. I'm glad you liked it. It was forwarded to me and I've since forwarded to many others. I think it's worth passing along.
"So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself, who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on the shore and merely existed." ~HST~

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