Sue Habib, Lexis Florist, brought two gorgeous bouquets of flowers to our May meeting, one bouquet for the youngest mother and one for the oldest mother. Dana Hailat, DDS, was the youngest mother. Genie Fuller and Kathy Driscoll compared notes, and Genie received the flowers as the oldest mother. I was a little uncomfortable with the oldest-mother designation since I was raised in era where women had their 21st birthday year after year!
After the meeting, Kathy and Genie approached me and said they sensed my discomfort but it was very important to them that ROBWEC members know that they were 78 and 81 years old, respectively, and that they are proud of how healthy and productive they are. They want our members to know women can be engaged in life and business for decades after the standard retirement age – just like men can.
In true ROBWEC fashion, we went for drinks to talk further about the topic. We met at the outside bar at Hungry’s which was packed with young professionals, none of whom looked more put together than my companions!
Kathy told us that she used to worry about aging and would try to “hide it” in her 60’s. Then she went to an event and saw a 75-year-old who “looked great, dressed great and who was lively and engaged. ” Kathy realized that aging was like everything else in life, “There are consequences to every decision and behavior and you decide what you are willing to accept.” Kathy decided she was not willing to accept being a “little old lady” and to retire to “get old.”
Kathy and Genie both actively make decisions related to staying active and fresh. They agreed that constantly learning and trying new activities keeps them dynamic. They implement new business ideas, focus on health and take up and renew hobbies. They let their lives grow and change as they do rather than clinging to what used to be. Genie emphasized how important keeping up with technology is in business and in being able to keep up with current trends. Kathy’s motto for technology is “show me or teach me but don’t leave me behind!”
On a more spiritual side, we spoke about the cycle of life being real and how we evolve as the wheel turns and we go through stages of joy, grief, hardship and plenty. Kathy urges us to always take advantage of our age and enjoy every stage. “Just keep going. You just have to keep going. The cycle will change and you will benefit from your determination to keep going. You will become more tolerant and less excitable because you will live through crisis after crisis and will learn not to expect perfection of yourself or others. It is keeping going that counts.”
Genie and Kathy expressed the process of aging as a progression toward freedom. With the passing of time, both ladies enjoy being more open with their real opinions and accepting who they are. “I don’t have to please the whole world anymore,” says Genie.
This sage advice ended with a quip from Kathy “A sweetly-spoken ‘Bless your heart’ will soften any truth you need to tell.”
I found the whole experience to be so wonderfully ROBWEC, from Sue’s delightful generosity, to our members gently guiding me after a meeting, to a glass of wine and a deeply personal and honest discussion that is so important to us all. These interactions make ROBWEC unleavable. I do hope you are all benefiting in some way from connecting with members outside of the monthly programs. It will enrich your life and keep you young!