Guest Post: Aging Gratefully

November 23rd, 2014 at 5:05 am
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Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Alta Mantsch, the voice behind Tasty Eats at Home, a food blog I’ve been reading for years. Alta is a genuinely kindhearted friend of mine whose positive, easygoing approach to life makes me wish she was my neighbor. It’s a delight to have her here today as she shares her thoughts on getting older with a grateful heart.

I know I’m likely the minority in this opinion (it’s not the first time I’ve gone against the crowd), but I’m thankful for each year that I am older.

Yes, that’s right. Getting older isn’t a scary thing for me. I don’t pine for my youth or days gone by.

That doesn’t mean that getting older doesn’t come with a price—I know as I age, inevitably my body will get a little slower, a little achier, and I will discover limitations. I know my hair will become gray, and my skin will thin and wrinkle. I’ll take each of those as they come, but I’m okay with all of that. It’s normal.

What I truly embrace with age? Wisdom.

Every year that goes by, I learn. I learn more about the world, and I learn more about life in general. Sometimes I learn by doing the wrong thing. In fact, sometimes I have to do that wrong thing several times before I “get it.” More often than not, the more I learn, the more I realize that there’s just so much that I don’t know.

I’m grateful for the ways in which the world has opened my eyes to more than I ever thought possible. I grew up in a relatively quiet, suburban neighborhood in Texas. For the most part, everything was monochromatic. People looked a lot alike, thought a lot alike, made similar amounts of money, went to church—it was a little pocket of the world. I still live not far from that suburb, and while it’s grown and diversified, it’s still by and large a suburban Texas neighborhood, with suburban Texas roots. I love my home, but learning that the world is, in fact, much larger and more diverse than my little corner of the universe has been life-changing for me.

I have discovered that not everyone thinks the same way as I do. Not everyone lives, worships, believes, or operates in the same way as most of the people I encounter in my day-to-day life. There are extreme differences in financial means, cultural norms, religion, and more that shape people. Their experience is not the same as my own.

For example, in my youth, I never considered what it was truly like to grow up with the privileges I did. I took the fact that I was a white, middle class, suburban citizen for granted. We didn’t have much when I was a child, but we had enough to make it through, and I wasn’t at a disadvantage for it. Not so with a great many families and individuals. The same goes for many other aspects of life that differ from my own. This growing awareness of what I didn’t know has allowed me to break down my previous assumptions about the world in a grand way. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more accepting of the diversity, and my interpretation of the world is changed.

In a similar manner, I also am gaining confidence as I get older. I think this has a lot to do with wisdom as well. As I am learning more about the diversity of the world and its people, I am learning that among that diversity there is no one right way. As I embrace that, I realize that I, too, am not wrong for my own beliefs, opinions, or choices. I gain more of a sense of self, and I’m less concerned whether who I am and what I believe in aligns with the beliefs of others. Sometimes, this makes me feel rather alone in my thoughts, but as I grow older, I find that I’m alright with that.

With that confidence, I am slowly finding my voice. I find that even if I differ in my opinions, I can speak about them. I’m not nearly as concerned about conforming to beliefs of others around me. If I believe in something strongly, I don’t hold back for fear of confrontation from those who believe differently. I’ve grown up not wanting to be one that rocks the boat. Now, I don’t seek out conflict, but if there is something to be said, I’m more likely to stand my ground and say it—even if I am wrong. It’s still something I am practicing, but the more I gain confidence and use it, the stronger that confidence becomes.

Most of all, I’m thankful that as I grow older, I realize more and more that I don’t know everything. That there is still so much in this world left to learn. Age is not something I fear, because with age comes experience. And I want to experience it all.

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Day 23 Challenge: Even though in the grand scheme of things I’m young, I can relate to much of what Alta says. In our world that idolizes the pursuit of youth, being grateful for the wisdom and experience that come with age is not the norm. But I’d challenge you today—regardless of your age—to fully appreciate the life you’ve lived, the wisdom you’ve gained, and the place where you are right now. Age is just a number and numbers change. But wisdom lasts forever.

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{This is the 23rd post in a series called The Thankful 30: A Month-Long Celebration of Gratitude. Catch up on every post here. Receive each post in your inbox by subscribing here.}

Nourishment for Your Weekend

November 22nd, 2014 at 5:05 am · Post a comment · No Comments

It’s Saturday and you know what that means: links I’m loving! Breathe out, give thanks, and enjoy your weekend. – 1. How good do these Double Chocolate Orange Cookies look? Weekend treat. 2. Videos like these suck me in, but then I regret watching them. Ick! 3. Is what you believe about yourself actually true? […]

Filed under: Food for Thought, Links, The Thankful 30

The Strange & Saving Gift of Surrender

November 21st, 2014 at 5:05 am · Post a comment · 5 Comments
Surrender

{This is the 21st post in a series called The Thankful 30: A Month-Long Celebration of Gratitude. Catch up on every post here. Receive each post in your inbox by subscribing here.} A few years ago I started making vision boards at the end of each year. It began simply as a fun project to […]

Filed under: Food for Thought, The Thankful 30

16 Words to Nourish the Soul

November 20th, 2014 at 5:05 am · Post a comment · 2 Comments

Today, just 16 words to nourish our souls. I read these months ago, and I think they’ve come back to my mind just about every day since. –  - {This is the 20th post in a series called The Thankful 30: A Month-Long Celebration of Gratitude. Catch up on every post here. Receive each post […]

Filed under: The Thankful 30

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November 19th, 2014 at 5:05 am · Post a comment · 4 Comments

{This is the 19th post in a series called The Thankful 30: A Month-Long Celebration of Gratitude. Catch up on every post here. Receive each post in your inbox by subscribing here.} For almost 20 days straight now, I’ve blogged about a wide variety of topics and how they relate to my personal celebration of […]

Filed under: Food for Thought, The Thankful 30

Trading the Rush for the Hush

November 18th, 2014 at 5:05 am · Post a comment · 2 Comments

{This is the 18th post in a series called The Thankful 30: A Month-Long Celebration of Gratitude. Catch up on every post here. Receive each post in your inbox by subscribing here.} So much of me wanted to just drop and make a snow angel right where I stood when I snapped this photo. Had […]

Filed under: Food for Thought, The Thankful 30

Miracle Monday: Life in Photos

November 17th, 2014 at 5:05 am · Post a comment · 3 Comments
Believe in miracles.

{This is the 17th post in a series called The Thankful 30: A Month-Long Celebration of Gratitude. Catch up on every post here. Receive each post in your inbox by subscribing here.} Since beginning The Thankful 30 this month, I’ve had fun finding little miracles in the everyday and snapping photos of them. (Yes, practicing […]

Filed under: Food for Thought, The Thankful 30

Guest Post: “Why I’m Thankful to Have Candida Related Complex”

November 16th, 2014 at 5:05 am · Post a comment · 7 Comments
Ricki Heller

Having this blog has brought so many blessings into my life, perhaps the greatest being relationships with other writers around the web. One such woman who I “met” online years ago is Ricki Heller—a beautiful soul inside and out. Ricki is one of the kindest people I know. I can’t count how many emails we’ve […]

Filed under: Food for Thought, Guest Posts, The Thankful 30

Nourishment for Your Weekend

November 15th, 2014 at 5:05 am · Post a comment · No Comments

I love lists. If there was a contest for the world’s greatest list maker and list checker offer, I think I could have a serious shot at winning. One time I even made a list of lists that I needed to make. Yes, I am that person. Some people organize their thoughts in spreadsheets or […]

Filed under: Food for Thought, Links, The Thankful 30, This & That

Seeking Light When the Dark Presses In

November 14th, 2014 at 5:05 am · Post a comment · 4 Comments

{This is the 14th post in a series called The Thankful 30: A Month-Long Celebration of Gratitude. Catch up on every post here. Receive each post in your inbox by subscribing here.} Day 14. And I am grateful for light. A few evenings ago—before our November cold snap pranced right in and got comfy—I took […]

Filed under: Food for Thought, The Thankful 30

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