Just enjoy living and stop looking over your shoulder to see how everyone is living their lives.
Its your story and not theirs.
You might do things differently, you might have different family arrangements, you might see different things on your journey through life, you might experience more pain, more loss, you might have to work out side the home or care for an ageing parent.
As a result . . . your memories will certainly be very different to everyone else.
Live life the best you can.
And smile and be content with whatever God gives you.
We live in an era where women no longer accept growing old gracefully.
Just turn on the television or open up a magazine and it won't take long to hear the messages "combat the signs of ageing" or "defy the ageing process".
When I was young, older women dresses like older women, they wore makeup like an older woman, wore older women shoes etc... These days older women want to dress and look like their daughters or granddaughters.
Many see ageing as something that one needs to go into battle over as if fighting off a disease. We find ageing a threat and a sign of decreased worth in society. No one wants to get old . . . but we will all get old at some point, no matter what we do. No matter how many tubs of creams or potions we use, we will still get old. Even botox might remove the wrinkles, they don't stop the ageing process.
No one live forever.
Getting older doesn't mean you can't have fun, laugh out loud, be silly, go out and about and enjoy life. One doesn't need to sit at home, get old and die. What it does mean is accepting the ageing process as part of living and gracefully move into our older years without being afraid of it.
"Age isn't how old you are but how you feel" (Gabriel Garcia Marques)
We need to remember that in 1900 (in Australia at least), the average life expectancy for men and women was just over 50, now it is 80. We have many more years to live than those of our ancestors. So lets LIVE and stop trying to turn back the clock. Lets enjoy all those added years, not everyone has the privilege of living to old age.
That doesn't mean not watching what we eat, stopping exercise or not taking care of ourselves. It means remaining healthy but living life and enjoying each chapter that God gives us. At each part of our life we have special roles and in our older years we have the role of grandmother (or great aunt) and that is a very special time to enjoy. Its when we pass on all our wisdom to our grandchildren or great nieces and nephews. It is when we spoil them, tell them stories and have fun. However God had a very special role for older women - the role of teacher, passing on our knowledge to younger women . . .
The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things — that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.(Titus 2:3-5)
Here is three photos of women all in their older years. These women stand out because they are dressing for their age, their makeup suits their age and their hair is natural. They look beautiful and they are older women. This is what we are striving for — showing that being older doesn't mean looking like we aren't living. It means we aren't dressing and behaving like younger women. . . the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things —
Photo 1: A woman aged 100 photo by Karsten Thormaehlen, Photo 2: Helen Mirren Photo 3: Rosa Park
Running a home can be hard work. Lets not pretend otherwise.
Some people really struggle and others seem to breeze through.
She watches over the ways of her household(Proverbs 31:27)
But no matter how hard housework is, we need to find a way to do it as "building" and "watching" over our homes is one of our major responsibilities as a Christian wife and mother.
These days keeping house is considered old fashion, out of date, politically incorrect. It is an area of many arguments about gender roles and equality.
"The children of baby boomers have now grown up and become doctors and lawyers and journalists who have made their parents proud. And they have learned to hire a cleaner to do the work that they don't have time for and often don't know how to do. " (Source: Keeping House by Cerentha Harris)
Many young women today leave their parents home with inadequate (or no) skills to run and maintain a home. Many mothers sadly haven't taught their daughters the very important skills required to keep a house running smoothly. Many are struggling.
I was blessed with a mother who gave me many skills that made the transition to my own home quite easy. As a child, I was expected to undertake chores, such as dusting and ironing and my brothers and I helped prepare meals, set the table and wash and dry the dishes each night. We also learnt the value of home cooking; not to be wasteful; how to enjoy a simple life; how to be organised; how grow a garden; make jam; and by watching our parents, how to manage money wisely; plus many many other skills.
I don't think my parents set out to deliberating teach us these skills, as a family we were all expected to helped and through helping we learnt. We may not have enjoyed many of these tasks (I strongly disliked the dusting), but unknown to us, they taught us valuable life skills that we would need down the track.
Now, it is easy to blame working mothers for the lack of skills among younger women. However, my mother worked full-time as a teacher and still managed to teach us these skills. Sadly, I think we have many lazy mothers who can't be bother teaching their daughters and they themselves are lacking in many skills. They no longer see it as important to teach one's daughter how to cook or clean, however I often wonder who they think will do these tasks one the daughter is married and has her own home.
I am sure there are many younger women out there in tears as they struggle to organise their homes - with little idea of how to:
live on a budget
plan weekly menus
home-cook for your new spouse
write a shopping list
buy groceries with little money
build and maintain a pantry
clean a home
keep a house cool in summer and warm in winter
mend things that are broken
decorate an entire house on a budget
create a homely feel
avoid mess and chaos etc. . . .
So what to do:
1. Acknowledgethat you need help . . . do not be shame for asking. Remember, if you don't ask, the chaos will not only affect you, but your husband and your children. Does your husband like coming home at night? Does he have somewhere nice to relax?
2. Pray . . . for guidances, for direction, for strength. God can work wonders as we all know, even in our homes. As Elizabeth George says "Prays sweeten - and empowers - every task".
3. Ask for help. . . don't be too proud to ask and don't wait until your home is a complete mess and chaos rules.
Look among your friend - who seems to have it all together, ask your mother, a sister, a friend, an older Titus woman, someone at church, where you work or if no one is about . . . maybe a blogging friend can help. Go online for planners to help you allocate tasks for each day, menu planners are a great help, visit the local library for books on housekeeping. Talk to older women as many know how to live on a shoe-string.
4. Make sure you spend time at home. A house doesn't run it's self. Now, I know what you are all thinking. This is written by a woman who works full-time. Yes I do and I run my home too - pretty successful (without sounding boastful). It can be done partly because I am super organised and have it down pat. But if you are struggling . . . make sure you spend plenty of time in your home and truly understand it. What makes it tick, how does it change with the seasons, what takes the longest to do . . . ?
5. Time . . . running a home needs time. You need to dedicate plenty of time to your cleaning, meal preparation, decorating etc.. The more time you spend, the more you and your family will reap the benefits. However, this doesn't mean you need to be home 24/7 as your home doesn't need to be constant attention.
6. Building good habits. . . when learning how to run a home, remember to learn good habits and not bad ones. You are going to have to teach your children home skills and they need to learn good habits too!
The truth about all our home-making efforts is that we will be at them for a very long time, right up until the minute we are no longer able. Wherever we live, that place is our home, and that place becomes the stage upon which we live out this more important, rewarding, and meaningful role. Just think of the scores of people you will bless, not to mention the sheer joy you will receive from your home-wee-home. (Elizabeth George)
And as Elizabeth George says in her book "Gods Wisdom for a Woman's life", don't forget to make sure that you and your daughters have a passion for home-making
I love colour and that is the reason why I was attracted to these - they are so bright, cheerful and bold.
Great completed a Fine Arts Degree in South Africa where she grew up, and then moved in 1980 to Vancouver working as a designer and illustrator. Since 1990 Greta has lived and worked as a painter and art instructor from her studio in Gibsons.
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)