“The really frightening thing about middle age is the knowledge that you'll grow out of it.” Doris Day.
I went to a friend’s 90thbirthday lunch today. I don’t tend to get invited to many of those, neither do I have many friends almost twice my age!
The ‘do’ was in a lovely hotel in a south coast town. Everyone dressed up for the occasion and we started at noon with bucks fizz and ended with coffee around three (not my usual length lunch break which is normally a cup of soup on the run. I took the day off work for this special occasion!)
As I looked around at the one hundred or so people sitting around the banqueting tables I realised it was not so different to a wedding’. This time, instead of wishing the happy couple well for a great life together, we were celebrating the long life of a kind and generous person. I first met my friend when she (as a robust 80 year old,) offered to restore a museum garden I was running. The gardens are still flourishing today, stewarded by a cohort of volunteers who offer advice on the physics of plants and keep litter and vandalism at bay.
Along the way, we became friends. I think this is how many people connect; through chance, mutual concerns or circumstance.
Somehow, the day gave me a longer perspective on life than usual. Most of the time, when working on my ‘360 WISDOM: Empowering Women Tour’, I’m very much ‘in the now’, working through a list of tasks, thinking to the next day and possibly what I want to tackle in the week as a whole.
On the way into the dining room, a display board with pictures of my friend’s key life moments including her wedding, holidays and children in various stages of growing up, were laid out before us. When you see the totality of someone’s life in this way, you get a greater perspective on the things that matter and are important over time.
As someone approaching (or in, depending on how you want to look at it,) middle age, I also realised something significant; that my friend has, quite literally, grown out of all the worries and cares of her world. She has a composure and tranquillity about her that we youngsters would do well to emulate!
This is why I’ve always thought it so important to mix generations so we can learn from each other, not just in a mental sense but in an energetic one too. We all need a bit of calm and serenity at the moment.
And I have no doubt I shall be sitting at my friend’s 100thbirthday celebrations in ten year’s time.