Monday, October 10, 2016

Inspiration at the Lake

This morning on my walk around the lake, I came across an elderly couple gearing up for a photo session. It was a beautiful, crisp Autumn morning – the sky was reflected on the water and the trees around the lake sported bold patches of crimson and gold. As I approached, the lady (who must have been close to 80) turned to face her partner. With the magnificent lake behind her, she flung down her walking stick and, beaming widely, threw up her arms in a victory pose. The elderly gentleman fumbled with his camera to capture what must have been a prize photo. I exchanged smiles with passersby on the path – what a treat to witness such joie de vivre!

I don’t have a photo of the elderly couple at the lake, but I'll carry the mental image of this moment with me. I've learned how important role models are – even if they take the form of brief, random encounters. I often feel like a ballet dancer pirouetting through her days, popping on a different hat after each spin. There’s the mommy hat, the partner hat, the daughter hat, the friend hat, the worker hat, the housekeeper hat, the cook hat, the student hat, and countless others. Life is rich, but dizzying! Ballet dancers use a technique called spotting (focusing on an actual point and finding it after every rotation) to stay upright during a pirouette sequence. Role models are the spots that stabilize me as I move through my busy days.

I find great strength and joy in observing people who live life well. I love noticing good attitudes, good relationships, good parenting skills, and good habits, and I love trying to weave these great traits into the tapestry of my own busy life. At 40, one of my greatest inspirations is seeing spirited, strong women who are decades older than me, shimmering with joy and exuding a sense of confidence, serenity, and cheeky playfulness. Without knowing it, women like the one I saw at the lake this morning brighten my days and ground me. They remind me to slow down and they show me that growing old can be a beautiful thing.

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