Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Party Hats and the Fountain of Youth

There is a fountain of youth.

It lies in our minds, our talents, and the creativity we bring to our life and to the people we love.

Did you see the New York Times Magazine two weeks ago?  

The entire issue was on the Fountain of Youth and aging.  There were two articles in particular that are worth a read.

The first...Old Masters:  After 80, some people don't retire.  They reign. [The online version is a longer article with more pictures and in-depth interviews than the printed one.]

They Reign.  I love that.  

And if you're going to reign, you need to wear a party hat. Why they didn't include that little tidbit in the issue, I'll never know.

After all, party hats represent so much that is youthful: joy, frivolity, free-spiritedness, happiness...and the list goes on and on and on...there's just no underestimating the power of the party hat. 

So, I've added a very important, new job title to my curriculum vitae:  

Maker of party hats for Octogenarians, Nonagenerians and Centenarians

My first hat was for Jim's Aunt Ruth who passed away last year at 92.  

My second hat was for my friend Dolores who turned 85 last month.  Since I wasn't able to make it to her birthday party, I sent a party hat along instead.

At 85, Dolores is still studying Japanese Embroidery with me and is full of life.  

Which brings me to the second article in that NYT that was worth reading...What if Age is Nothing but a Mindset?

It discusses much of the work of Ellen Langer, a behavioral psychologist at Yale University who has spent her life demonstrating that using mindfulness to overcome our habits and ingrained biases can have profound effects on our outlook and performance.

My friend Carolyn (seen below assisting Dolores with her party hat) called me a few months ago to ask me a few questions.  She was doing some research for a psychologist friend of hers.  Her question, "How often did I look in the mirror?  And what did I see when I look?"

I don't know about you, but I tend to look in the mirror only once in the morning to make sure that I'm groomed properly: hair straight, nose clean, chin hairs plucked.  I wear no makeup most days.  And when I look in the mirror, I see myself at about 24 years of age.

It turns out that seeing yourself younger than you actually are might be a very successful strategy in defying age.

The other big takeaway from the Old Masters...

The tree of knowledge and the fountain of youth are one and the same.

Happy Birthday, Dolores!  Time to get crackin' on that Japanese Embroidery...


Carol- Beads and Birds said...

I don't think about aging much. Oh, I know I'm 'older' than I see in the mirror because...yay me.. I don't work outside the home. Most days, I don't see Terry as older either. I often have to convince him that I AM older than he sees ME, because he still wants me...don't wear mini skirts, stiletto heels and halter tops ~lol~ But we ARE young and we laugh and love a lot and THAT my dear is the key to youth for us.

Denise said...

I wrote You a long note then somehow lost it,probably a good thing, I was getting a little wordy and carried away.I just want You to know I'm enjoying Your blog :) It's a pleasure-Denise

Elaine said...

I truly believe that age is determined by your mindset. I also adore your party hats - great fun!

Allison Aller said...

Great post! Adore the hats!
And somehow I've gotten lucky, as I truly am experiencing that 60 is the new 6.
Love you, Susan!

Rachel said...

You're absolutely right. Especially about the necessity for party hats!

Linda in Maryville, IL said...

I love the hats! We should all celebrate with this special kind of a hat. I only look once in the mirror during the day. Maybe that's a new secret to long life!

Createology said...

Party hats and magic wands are what helps us stay young. Mindset is an amazing state to reside in. I pray I never lose my childlike wonder and ways. I am only old when I look in the mirror or photos of myself. Thank you very much for this post. Knowledge and the Fountain of Youth Bliss...

Gerry Krueger said...

I'll be 80 in 3 1/2 years and I will definitely want a hat for that occasion. Do I need a reservation??? Ger

margaret said...

what a wonderful hat hope someone makes me one when I am 85. I avoid the mirror as much as I can see how much i have aged in the last 2 years, seriously i not not too bothered about ageing!

Inchwormart said...

What amazing hats...gorgeous and full of sass and spunk.

Judy S. said...

That party hat must have enlivened her party a lot! Sometimes I find myself thinking, really? I'm that old? Can't be, that's my grandmother! I agree, your mindset has a lot to do with everything, every day! Have a great one!

Bear said...

Terrific post and absolutely Adore the birthday hates happy Birthday Delores and many more
Love n hugs xo belinda

Margaret said...

Love the hats! And thank you for cheering me with such colourful and hopeful thoughts on what is a grey and snowy day here in Alberta. I confess I felt 62 keenly this beloved cat Diesel disappeared the day before and I found myself out in the rain and wet snow on my birthday morning (early September, no less!) trying to find him. (He is gone forever, I fear.) So I felt every inch my age then. But most days? Like you, I check myself out in the mirror in the a.m. and forget it the rest of the day!


Reading your post Susan made me think of the poem
Age 3: She looks at herself and sees a Queen.
Age 8: She looks at herself and sees Cinderella.
Age 15: She looks at herself and sees an Ugly Sister (Mum I can't go to school looking like this!)
Age 20: She looks at herself and sees "too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly"- but decides she's going out anyway.
Age 30: She looks at herself and sees "too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly" - but decides she doesn't have time to fix it, so she's going out anyway.
Age 40: She looks at herself and sees "clean" and goes out anyway.
Age 50: She looks at herself and sees "I am" and goes wherever she wants to go.
Age 60: She looks at herself and reminds herself of all the people who can't even see themselves in the mirror anymore. Goes out and conquers the world.
Age 70: She looks at herself & sees wisdom, laughter and ability, goes out and enjoys life.
Age 80: Doesn't bother to look.
Just puts on a purple hat and goes out to have fun with the world.
Being in my mid fifties I am at the stage of 'I am ' and looking forward to conquering the world. Great party hats.

Catherine said...

Love your party hats!!

Elizabeth said...

What a spectacular gift and a beautiful creation!! you are amazing and so very right about the age thing!! we can all learn so much from your darling friend!! Hope you are doing well with Jack in college!! big adjustment no? Becca is getting college acceptance letters now and turns 18 tomorrow. Matt is going to OCS with the Navy for Naval
Intelligence after grad last spring from George Mason. Zoom Zoom Zoom!!

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