“Quaint: pleasingly odd, old-fashioned, unusual, curious, fanciful, whimsical, captivating, enchanting” That’s it! That is how I want to describe my “mature” self. Not old, dull, boring, stuck in the mud, stupid, forgetful – even if I sometimes feel that way. I’m tired 75% of the time, my joints hurt, I’m not inspired, my creativity seems to be depleted. I have written this post with various “Q” words a dozen times and erased everything each time. I am dreading turning 66 more than I did 65. I will be closer to 70 and my parents didn’t live much beyond that age. Moments of reflection find me dwelling on my fears and anxieties instead of all the beauty of life that surrounds me. I am crippling myself because of how I see myself. I drop coffee grinds all over the floor, inside the refrigerator and I call myself an idiot as I clean the mess up. I can’t find my keys or a piece of jewelry and suddenly I’m calling myself stupid as I fumble around retracing my steps in order to locate said missing items. I have sent messages like this to my self ever since my teen years and that has become a habit that I am finding harder and harder to break as the years go flying by. Then, tired of trying to find the “right” Q word, I stumble on quaint. I hadn’t even given it a second look, but when I did a spark ignited in the depths of this rattled, tired body. Actually, I have had friends tell me that I am a bit quirky. They must see something that I don’t. Come to think of it, sometimes I am pleasingly odd and a bit old-fashioned, but still open to ideas of others. Would I be searching the internet if I wasn’t curious? Would I be able to sew or craft if I didn’t have a bit of whimsy in me? The captivating and enchanting parts need to be worked on, but that means I’m a work in progress. I don’t have a master plan for chasing away the tiredness or aches or the dullness I feel inside. However, the sun is shining, the flowers are starting to bloom, and I have a birthday coming up. Every time I berate myself or start the inner conversation about how useless I am, I am choosing to reject the gifts of life that are surrounding me. Quaint – I like that word. It has a joyous essence to it. I think it needs to be on my mirrors and on my fridge as an “in my face” reminder of who I really am! There is a wonderful poem that the Red Hat organization uses called “When I Am An Old Woman”. I haven’t read it in a long time, and it explains quaint quite nicely.
Warning by Jenny Joseph
WHEN I AM AN OLD WOMAN I SHALL WEAR PURPLE
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me. And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter. I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells And run my stick along the public railings And make up for the sobriety of my youth. I shall go out in my slippers in the rain And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens And learn to spit
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat And eat three pounds of sausages at a go Or only bread and pickle for a week And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry And pay our rent and not swear in the street And set a good example for the children. We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now? So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
Taken from the book When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple Editd by Sandra Martz Papier Mache Press–Watsonville, California 1987