Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I Will Not Grow More Conservative with Age

A little hike in the woods to Devil's Icebox Cave just outside Columbia Missouri

My friend Gini Bingham a fellow potter in Emory Virginia had a great sign in her studio that read, "I will not grow more conservative with age." She died a few years ago and she and her husband will always be role models for me and my husband leading the way we want to grow old. And, it is coming and I cannot hide from it.
I have been told as we grow older we get more conservative and maybe more afraid and whatever problem we have now gets amplified in our old age.
I guess I will get lost a lot.
I am a liberal thinker and I live in a very conservative part of the country. I like new ideas and a progressive attitude.
I don't understand how people can object to Obama talking to school kids, why people care about who marries who if they are happy, and why anyone in this country does not have access to decent medical care or education. Are these things really so far out of touch with my community? And why does any person go to bed hungry in this country? I know the idea about teaching a person to fish instead of just giving them a fish is a good idea. I don't want to argue about social reform and welfare and all that. I do believe in generosity of knowledge, helping less fortunate people figure out how to care for themselves and their children. We have some big flaws in our system when we cannot figure out how to share our food , our knowledge and our happiness.

Living in mid America, in a small town it seems that more people are conservative than not. When you live every day in a small town and you go to the big city, it is hard to imagine that more people live that way than this way.
I stood looking at the tall buildings in NYC imagining how many people live in such a small expensive apartments and it seems unreal. They don't mow the grass or plant herbs and tomatoes. They live on concrete all the time except for central park. I realize that living there does not mean you are in a more liberal environment but it is certainly more diverse and multi-cultural.

So what can I do to not become a conservative older person?

Stay aware, read the news and stay up with politics and current events. Don't get apathetic.

And, stay as healthy and fit as possible. Gini and Ed walked together every morning and evening. I went on a state park hike recently with my daughter and I always want to be able to do that. I don't want to wait in the car or be afraid to go into the woods. I want to be able to walk up and down steps and pathways to be able to go on adventures. No riding the Walmart go cart/shopping cart because the swing is too big on my back porch. Walking in the woods inspires me in so many ways and keeps my brain active and feeling creative. I get new ideas and lots of inspiration from the beauty of the natural environment.

I don't want to just hang out with older people who are falling into the conservative trap of life. Mixed generation living is the way to go. Listening to children, and watching others find their way also involves creative thinking.

Simply not wanting to get "stuck" in creative thinking and keeping an open mind might help.
Don't let yourself get bored or boring. Try new stuff.

So, I better make this sign just like Gini had and hang one up at home and one at work.

And never ever take life too seriously. You are just asking for it. There are very few real black and white or right or wrong answers to anything.
Close the doors of your brain and you automatically shut off the light of the good life.

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