I have recently met 2 older ladies, both of whom have stayed much on my mind. I estimate their ages to be between 75 and 80, most likely closer to 80. Both of these ladies are expats here-- white ladies in Africa.
At any rate, these ladies made a big impression on me. The first lady was the most darling, smiling, friendly, joyful kind of person that you could ever hope to meet. "Oh, they took my farm from me," she said, her eyes bright and clear. Then she laughed about some happy thing and leaned over to plant a kiss on the cheek of her adult daughter.
The other lady was dreary and dour and pretty much downright grumpy. I was seated across from her at a meal and, try as I might, I could not get a smile out of her. I was the most charming, interested and friendly self that I could coax up, but she made no attempt to connect and she certainly did not crack a slight or sneaky smile. It felt very much like she just couldn't be bothered about being nice. I wondered to myself what might leave her this way and I realize there could be a host of painful things weighing on her.
But I concluded this:
I want to grow more cheerful and smiley as life goes on. I want to make choices for joy and find room for laughing. I want to smile frequently, broadly, generously and even wrinkly.
Yes, I do!