This picture is of my maternal grandmother. Wasn’t she a hottie?
She worked at Radio City Music Hall as a Rockette in the 1940s — drawn to New York City, like so many youth, by the lights and glamour. Her stage name was Bobbie Robinson, though her real name was Mary.
This blog post isn’t about her life, but about the passage of time.
I’ve always understood that youth and beauty are fleeting. Perhaps it is because my parents died when I was still young. The fact hits home even more so when comparing photos of my grandmother as a young dancer to those taken of her just before her death in her 80s, balding after years of using peroxide hair dye.
Thus, I’ve tried not to stake any self confidence on the things over which I have no control. Age is one of those things.
Yet, I’m not as above mourning the loss of youth as I’d thought.
Yesterday, I e-mailed an inner-circle friend and lamented that 2010 had passed without us seeing each other. (Having close friends scattered to the winds seems to be a common phenomenon for my generation.)
My friend wrote back, “I was thinking, are you doing anything fun for your 30th birthday?”
Her casual question took my breath away: This is the year that I turn 30!
This year, 2011, is also a milestone for an entire generation: the first of the Baby Boomers turn 65. As such, my New Year’s resolution doesn’t apply only to me:
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
from the Desiderata poem
Every year is a blessing. I’ve had a blast in my 20s — I set upon them with the motto that they would be mostly about my own personal growth, about chasing adventures, about discovering the world. I always joked, “I’ll give back to society in my 30s.” (I never really even thought about my 40s, they seemed so far away.)
Well, here we are then. It’s okay to briefly mourn what is lost, but we must also keep an eye on what we’ve gained.
I have much to look forward to. Apparently, happiness increases after age 46 and continues to climb after that. From the most recent Economist:
Older people have fewer rows and come up with better solutions to conflict. They are better at controlling their emotions, better at accepting misfortune and less prone to anger.
May we all face the future with optimism and grace.
Happy 2011, friends.