Disgraceful

Candles-in-the-wind805

Today would have been my great grandmother’s 252nd birthday and her cake would be a fire hazard. She would have been 126 years old… and if that seems to make little sense there is a simple explanation. Like the Queen, she had two birthdays. Unlike the Queen, my great grandmother’s situation was due to a clerical error, her birth having been recorded as ‘the 30th, the last day of March.’

She didn’t quite make her century, thus missing out on the royal greetings. She had always resented my great grandfather’s death for that reason too… he had quite inconsiderately chosen to shuffle off this mortal coil shortly before their 60th wedding anniversary, thus denying her the privilege of a message from the monarch.

While the body appears to age, the inner being has a mind of its own and doesn’t necessarily age beyond whatever is its personal optimum. Great Grandma always said that even at 99 she still felt 18 inside. Somehow the ageing process seems shaped less by the passing of years and more by our own attitude so that we see people who are old by the time they hit thirty and youngsters of ninety still up for all kinds of mischief… like Great Aunt Annie-Beatrice who still wore heels and shocking pink as an octogenarian. Because she could.

If you had asked me thirty years or so ago I would have probably imagined myself by now being very much like my Great Aunt Gwen… a ramrod backed, well-upholstered Yorkshirewoman, wielding Methodist severity like a sergeant-major with a rolling pin. Yet instead I am developing a penchant for mischief and a desire to ‘misbehave’; to act, should I so choose, against the accepted convention that requires older generations to become more staid and less flamboyant. I think of Great Aunt Annie-Beatrice in her shocking pink coat. Or my own Grandma who, in her 60s, wanted to learn to water-ski, but was forbidden because she would ‘look ridiculous’.

I have noticed the body language changing… instead of holding myself primly upright it has become more expansive over the years. I hug more, open to that exchange of warmth and energy… more ready to let people in that I once was. My gestures are wider; there is a physical freedom that was missing when I was younger.

It is not that I lacked the desire to defy convention before… it is just that I would have simply wanted to do things and lacked the courage, fearing disapprobation. Now, I don’t really care a jot whether I am looked upon with disapproving eyes or whether those eyes choose to slide off my unruly presence, dismissing me from consciousness, glad that I am  “Somebody Else’s Problem.”

“An SEP is something we can’t see, or don’t see, or our brain doesn’t let us see, because we think that it’s somebody else’s problem…. The brain just edits it out, it’s like a blind spot. If you look at it directly you won’t see it unless you know precisely what it is. Your only hope is to catch it by surprise out of the corner of your eye……This is because it relies on people’s natural predisposition not to see anything they don’t want to, weren’t expecting, or can’t explain”. Douglas Adams. “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”.

The ageing process appears to bring an inner confidence and relaxing of the constraints that held us, tied to the apron strings of our own reflection in the eyes of the world. Our need for approval changes and perhaps we let go of the fears that have held us back and find approval, instead, in our own eyes. They say that age brings wisdom… I don’t think that is a coincidence somehow.

Nor do I think it coincidence that as we work with the levels of Being in the Silent Eye, I am growing into my own. There is something in what we do that feeds the soul in a curious manner and opens many doors within. Life has taken on vivid hues and while there is undoubtedly both a need and a time for silence and for dignity, the inner bubble of joy seldom subsides and little by little I am learning to let go and just surf the tide of life … and hope I can find the freedom to grow old disgracefully.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She has written a number of books, both alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com
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65 Responses to Disgraceful

  1. You are finding the holy grail of aging, that we can and will do what we please without worrying about how anyone else feels about it. And the older you get, the MORE you feel like that. It’s very freeing. I try to control myself so I don’t shock the children, but it’s a strain 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Disgraceful – The Militant Negro™

  3. Jack Eason says:

    Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    Mpre from Sue…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anne Copeland says:

    I loved reading this and there is a truth to all of it that I am living now as I round that corner to my 77th year this coming November. With each day that comes, my mind is full of things I want to do but never had the courage or the encouragement to do when I was younger. I missed out on so much of life, wanting to try thing thing and that, and never being allowed to do it because “ladies didn’t do things like that.” Although I am not much of a military type person, I WAS raised an Army child, and when I was in high school, wanted very much to be in the ROTC and to get to go on the trips they all got to go on, and learn to do the things they got to do. But I would never get to experience that in my youth. Now I look at how I could possibly still do those things, but now there is the gate of age staring at me.
    I got a degree in Criminal Justice a few years ago, and graduated right after having breast cancer surgery. I wanted to be a mentor/advocate for juvenile delinquents, and had good skills that would have helped some of those young people. But society did not see me the way I saw me; I was “too old,” though they did not say it in those words. I still felt that door closing. Now I have signed up to be a volunteer mentor/advocate for foster children, appointed through the court system. We will see if I can get beyond that gate. I don’t regret that or any other education, but my mind is still young and wants to do all sorts of things I can imagine. Hopefully one of these days there will be a change in the mindset of society. Let me live fully who I want to be.
    Thank you so much for the touching writing.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The very best of luck to you with your mentoring of foster children. Kevin

      Liked by 2 people

      • Anne Copeland says:

        I think the important thing to remember in this life is that we can always morph into something else if the direction in the road we were traveling down doesn’t work out. All we have to do is to make that turn in the road, and that is not hard to do. Yes, there is always something for each of us where we will be needed as well as hopefully serving others.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Anne Copeland says:

        Thank you very kindly, Kevin. I am so glad to be able to do it; these children have enough to deal with and they can use all the help and love they can get. The Social Workers have their hands full, each having 40+ children to work with, so our small involvement is critical.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Like J. Alfred Prufrock, I shall grow old and wear my trousers rolled. I am not sure though about eating a peach, as I walk along the beach as sand and peaches do not, I think mix very well …!

    I think everyone should have 2 birthdays although, come present giving time this might turn out to be a little expensive!

    May you grow old disgracefully, Sue. Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’d like 2 birthdays…… my birth date and the one when Hubby and I met. I guess I have in a way as we got married exactly two years after we met, so I can count that.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Michael says:

    Great piece . I do like it when somebody right to peace which explains how I feel but I didn’t realise that I did

    Liked by 1 person

  8. TanGental says:

    Not aging merely morphing into yet more new yous

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Susan Scott says:

    Lovely post Sue thank you. Jolts of recognition in every line 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  10. ksbeth says:

    and now that i am 60, i am feeling much the same as you described, caring less about what people think and more about what feels right to me -)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. How I wish we could sit side by side with a cup of tea and talk. What a gift that would be for me! Interestingly, I woke up at 5 this morning thinking, “I am so much more ME than I was when I was younger.” I have no idea why I thought it – who knows where I was in dreamland. But now I’m reading your post, and you’ve explaining it all eloquently.
    When my mom was in her 60s, she was visiting me in CA and my kids were rollerblading down our driveway. My mom convinced my daughter to let her try. I took photos of my mom in her skinny jeans and pink sweater having a fabulous time, roller blading down our small hill. When my sister-in-law saw the photo she was aghast: “At HER age! That’s irresponsible!” I was shocked at that response, but my sis-in-law thought my mom would be more likely to fall and injure herself. I say – “GO FOR IT!” to all of us who are younger in spirit than our body years. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Mary Smith says:

    Great post, Sue, saying so much better than I could just what I feel about the aging thing. It’s a lovely feeling not to care what other people think.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Oh it is, Mary. And it is not so much not caring as not being bound by that care. I wouldn’t deliberately go out of my way to upset anyone with my behaviour (though as far as embarassment is concerned, my sons don’t count 😉 ) but I can now be me and not seek approval in other eyes than my own.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Yes, yes indeed. The relief of not caring what other people think is a joy as we age. I can’t say I manage it for everything but I think that has more to do with my PTSD which causes odd reactions to certain aspects of life. And here’s to eccentricity and being naughty and wearing purple!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anne Copeland says:

      I’ve been there, done that with the PTSD and yes, I can relate. And I LOVE being eccentric, naughty, and wearing purple or wild pink or perhaps nothing at all! Yes, I love going naked. When you are naked, you have no place to hide. You just are, and it is just all ok. And people accept all those road maps of life with such wonderful attitudes. It is such a great thing. I was just remembering how when I turned 65, I decided to do something special, so I put on some African music, and began dancing around in my house naked. Soon I was thinking how I would like to paint my boobs and print them on fabric to see what was what. As many times as we see ourselves, we never really “see” ourselves. Anyway, I first did it with white paint on black fabric, and what a surprise. It looked nothing at all like what I thought boobs would look like. Then I had an inspiration and repainted them multi-colored and once again pressed them onto some different cloth. So cool!!! I ended up making a quilt I donated to a charity for autistic children, and the boobs became flowers of the most interesting kind, and the name of the quilt was “My Garden of Earthly Delights.” One of my most fun creations!!!
      Oh, and I don’t think that anyone ever realized where those flowers came from for you would never know if I had not told you!!!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I’ll drink to that! Oh gods, yes, Sarah! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. My grandmother used to tell me that she felt 18 on the inside too, Sue. This post resonates, for sure, as I’ve gone gray and the body just doesn’t do things with quite the elasticity it used to. But what a wonderfully free time of life this can be if we embrace it. It’s a chance to really come into our own and express our hearts and spirits, passions and sense of adventure and fun. “Disgraceful” perhaps, is a word describing those who remain fixed in ideas of what “old people” are supposed to be, think, and act like. Happy Aging!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Reminds me of a dream I had two nights ago. I was sitting on a bus talking to two other versions of myself. One was a teenager and the other one was 90. I was quite taken by the fact that we all looked the same age, despite our differences in physical age.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. janmalique says:

    Growing old disgracefully sounds incredibly tempting Sue. The wicked gleam in your eye is getting brighter.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. willowdot21 says:

    Enjoy the transformation!! 💜💜🐰🐇🐥🐤

    Liked by 1 person

  18. How nice to remember Grandma even when she’s passed away. I think that is a nice idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Widdershins says:

    There’s a great deal of grace to be found in ‘aging disgracefully’. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Eliza Waters says:

    “…grow old disgracefully.” I love it! I think I’m going to adopt that! 😉

    Like

  21. Jennie says:

    Aging brings wisdom and so much more. Bring it on!

    Like

  22. Dalo 2013 says:

    A perfect thought and timely post, Sue ~ and I too hope to find the freedom to grow old disgracefully. There seems to be something in the air as spring arrives, and while we may not have the great strength and energy of our 20s, there is something much greater we uncover, and I agree with you, it is wisdom 🙂

    We know opening ourselves to the world now allows us the courage and freedom to do and express what we want, and I like your thought of “surfing the tide of life.” Wish you a wonderful weekend and a great spring season ahead.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Anne Copeland says:

    Yes, it is strange that I can sit quietly for hours, working on my computer right next to my Richard, and he is working on his too. Periodically we will share something on one of our computers, or I will reach over and feel his presence next to me, and he does the same, but in that quiet, there is adventure and peace and a sense of knowingness. I think these are some of the joys of day-to-day living. I am full of energy in my days, but this is a time of the souls, and souls do not need energy to communicate.

    Like

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