I can’t recall how or when the book came to me, but I picked up The Girls with the Grandmother Faces by author Frances Weaver because I thought it would be nice to share it with my aunt. She hits milestone birthdays two years and one month before I do and I’ve made something of a habit of sending her a book about women and aging , the first when she hit 40 and then again at 50. She kindly returns the book to me when I reach that age two years later, adding to my original inscription with one of her own to me.
I then send the same book, with a new inscription, to my next youngest female cousin six years later, who passes it along to her sister, and then to other cousins as they each reach that age. Thinking about it, I realize now that my eldest daughter is due to receive the first book in just four years.
Anyway, this book. Thought I’d send it to my aunt even though she has a few years to go until she turns 60, because the subtitle is, “A Celebration of Life’s Potential for Those Over 55.” Since I am already 54, I figured why wait, send it now, but I was also curious so I read it myself first.
There is a lot of encouragement in Weaver’s book. Sharing insights from her personal life, learned the hard way when she became a widow at 55, and from the lives of women she’s met in her town and in her travels, she wills the reader to be brave, even if just one small step at a time. To explore. To be curious. To discover new things and new ways of being. To make an effort to find out who they are as older women. To figure out what they can still do. On their own or together.
The part that inspired this post, however, was this. She wrote, “Recycle tells my story: There’s more to me than I’ve used yet.”
As a person who has reinvented herself more than a few times, these words resonated with me.
“Recycling ourselves means getting rid of whatever serves no useful purpose, whatever our lives no longer depend on. Recycling also means discovering the unused, still-new interests, options, and opportunities that did not fit the younger version of ourselves.”
No matter our age, there is usefulness in ourselves we’ve yet to discover. We’re not destined for the trash. We just need to scrape off the labels that have heretofore described us, rinse out the gunk, give ourselves a good scrub. We have to be open and look around a little for inspiration. Find ways to recycle, refashion, re-brand, if necessary.
Make time to take a class, whether it’s something you’ve long wanted to know more about, or something you just heard about. Reconnect with old friends and definitely make new ones. Take a trip to the library or across the country. Take stock of your wardrobe and see if there are ways to re-imagine what you have into something that thrills you.
What are ways you can recycle yourself? How might the efforts you put into craft projects inspire a little creative reuse in your whole life?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.