Monday, October 24, 2005

Counting Aright: Measure Birthdays by the Heart, by Mary Brooks Picken c.1920


When are we old? I know two women--one whose birthdays number seventy, the other, thirty-three. The seventy-year old one reads, studies, enjoys, goes when she can, delights in a new dress, has a host of friends, and is genuinely happy. And folks just make excuses to visit her because of her keen interest, her joy in good news, her mental alertness, and her whole-hearted friendship. The little school girl, the grandmother of eighty, the boy home from college, the new daddy, all go to see her for contact with that current of friendship that helps them to believe in themselves and stimulates within them a new interest that is joy in itself.

The woman of thirty-three is married, and has "enough to do without that."

What can we give our friends when we have shut all doors and put in storage all desire for progress? Nothing. Just nothing. And friends are entitled to more than that. Friendships, to remain permanent, must grow and thrive on interest in the new conversation, on growth in ideas, achievements, and mental alertness. But if we go mentally to sleep, we become parasites on our friends, and surely our friends have problems enough. We cannot carry them, and we have no right to expect them to carry us. And no matter how many birthdays we have, we can be made young again by a new realization that mind development, intelligence, and the ability to make progress are matters of interest, not age; of incentive, not years; and that we must build our own generating plant and work to achieve, to grow, to learn, to find good everywhere, to find delight in the every day."
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Another quote from Mary Brooks Picken" "A real gentlewoman never needs to tell you that she is a gentlewoman. Her presence speaks more convincingly than words."

2 comments:

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

Negativism is truly a problem, today, but where there is life, there is hope. While here on earth, our job is to live life, and it is better to really live it fully and abundantly, with a positive attitude than it is to be constantly morose. I was standing at the door the other day listening to someone's tale of woe about their operations and health problems and nearly got physically sick, myself. Negative talk and depressive thinking can spread, and destroy a family, a city, a country, or an army.

ladynicole said...

This is definitely true!! I have aquaintances who remind me of both the ladies; the right attitude keeps life enjoyable, not the "right" age.

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