Am I Merely Aging or Am I Living and Growing Up

Growing old is inevitable, growing up is a matter of choice – Rose 

Rose was almost eighty years old when she went back to college in America to study for a degree. On graduation day she was asked to say a few words.

This was what she said.

“We stop playing because we grow up. We grow up because we stop playing. There are only four secrets of lasting youth, happiness and success. You have to smile every day and not take life too seriously. You need to have a dream. When you stop dreaming, you die. There are so many people around us who are already dead, but they don’t even realise it! There’s a huge difference between ageing and growing up. If you’re 19 years old and you have a whole year to lie on the couch and do nothing, you’ll reach 20. If I lie on the couch for a year and do nothing, I’ll eventually turn 88. It’s easy enough to get older. We don’t need any talent or gift to get old. You have a gift when you know how to discover new opportunities offering you the chance to change yourself. Never regret anything! Old people don’t regret what they did — they regret what they didn’t do. The only people who are afraid of dying are the ones who have too many regrets.”

Read more here http://www.gsfindia.com/blog/joy-of-rose-we-make-a-living-with-what-we-get-we-make-a-life-with-what-we-give/

As I am 62 years old, a retired widow, living alone with my cat,this made me ask myself the question.

Am I merely aging or am I living and growing up ?

Sometimes I feel like lying on the couch and do nothing. It seems to be the easier thing to do. Give up on life,  just be and let time take its course. As Rose said its easy enough to get older, it takes no effort from my side, it just happens.

But….. She also said it is a gift to discover new opportunities to change and grow up.Then I force myself to get up, to search deep within for a long lost dream to pursue, to ask my heavenly Father to reveal the dream, to show me new paths, new laughter, new playgrounds to visit.

I find a dream, a long lost one. A dream to be able to speak another language fluently.

French….. yes french. I must be crazy, because the french language is crazy, 11 tenses with more exceptions to the rule than verbs adhering to the rule. When asked why so many exceptions the french teacher shrugs her shoulders with typical french superiority and answers.

Parce que. ( just because)

So I labour on, battling with the mysteries of french logic and the conjunctions of french verbs. I listen to french conversations, watch TV5  without comprehension while enjoying the sound and lilt of the language. Gradually it starts to make more sense and the dream doesn’t seem so far away anymore.

Part 2 of the dream is beginning to take form out of the mist of not knowing

Continue studying french in France.

“What?” people say. “You are to old to do something like that”.

To old? Not me. I will not be one of the old people who regret that which they didn’t do.

Scared by the thought of going to a foreign country to study on my own?

Yes I am scared , very much so, but I also don’t want to wonder what it would have been like for the rest of my life. So planning is under way to go to France in 2017 for a short course in language, combined with a cooking course.

Dream no 2.

Dance.

Find the playground of dancing.

At the beginning of this year I joined the Dancing Divas Golden Girls class together with a friend. What a joy this has been. To experience the freedom and joy of movement and music, even if it is sometimes at a rather sedate pace brought much upliftment and killed the idea of lying an a couch and do nothing.Some days I seem to have more feet than necessary and stumble through the paces, on others it feels as if my feet have wings and i can fly with the music.Some days I see myself in the mirror in the studio and think: You look ridiculous.But then I remember the words of the dance teacher on the first day.

” The sooner you make peace with yourself in the mirror the better, for you are not going to get any younger or thinner soon. Just forget about the mirror and enjoy the dancing.”

Through dancing, I met many new friends, each with her own story of pain and heart sore, but each one a special person still growing up despite  the passing of time.

Dream no 3

Write a book.

To write a children’s storybook containing the wonderfully entertaining stories that my father used to tell me and my sister at bedtime. We lived in the countryside surrounded by nature. He used a small and rather comical, cheeky bird, the crested plover of whom there were many nesting in the veld near the house as characters. They had names and their adventures co-incided with our life experiences as children. I dream of leaving this little book as  a tribute to the man who was my father, mentor and friend for my children and grandchildren.

If I knew the magnitude of such an undertaking, I probably wouldn’t even have started this project.Now I am half way there and just have to keep keeping on.

Dream no 4

Develop my painting skills.

I have always been an admirer of any form of art. I marvel at the skill, the ability to transform a blank piece of paper into a thing of beauty, to shape a piece of marble or a blob of clay into something meaningful. I envy people who are able to express  feelings and observations in an art form. I will never be a famous artist, but I can try to put what I see on paper. I often paint and enjoy the process only to throw it into the dustbin together with  any frustrations I experienced. After all it is only a piece of paper and some paint. If somewhere along the way I produce a thing of beauty I will rejoice, but the satisfaction and joy lies in the creative process, in the passing of time.

Once I started searching within for lost dreams, I  found so many I now wonder if I will be granted enough time to pursue  each one of them. This searching leaves me with no time to lie on the couch and do nothing. It compels me to get up and to grow up.

Whether you are 17 or 70, 30 or 60 years old ask yourself the question:

Am I merely aging or am I living and growing up?

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Opposites Near and Far

Opposites

Near and Far

The ornate lamp in the foreground provides a frame for the two columns marking the entrance to San Marco plain in Venice

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Soft and Hard,Old and New

Green privet growing through a cast iron fence: at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Venice.

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Bronze artworks displayed in contrast with a lush green garden: Peggy Guggenheim Collection Venice

opposites

New and Old

New growth against an ancient wall at the monastery in Saint Remy  where Vincent van Gogh spent two years of his life.

IMG_0708 opposites

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Partners

Partners

I spotted these two gentleman on a Sunday morning in Venice Italy. They were strolling along without talking but seemed to be completely at ease with one another. It made me wonder how long they have known each other and what have they experienced together in a lifetime of friendship.

IMG_9737 partners

The most important partner of our age the smartphone and you

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Another stroll this time in Rome

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Cee’s Compose Yourself Challenge: # 23 Black and White: The Basics

All the photos were taken in colour and in RAW format then post processed to black and white.

The first photo was taken late in the afternoon in the Ca’D’Oro in Venice.  The shadows of the beautiful gothic pillars contrast with the white walls and the sculpture add texture to the pictureVenesië 45 B&W

Late afternoon sun contrast with the dark thundercloud. Picture taken in my backyard in Pretoria SA.

sky B&W

A piece of pomegranate. It has lots of texture and the contrast between the red pips and white skin works in black and white pomegranate 1

The bud of a primula showing the contrast between the leaves and white flower. close up 2 B & W 1

Close up of an old lock on a door in Venice has lots of texture.

lock B&W