Diana Walters: A Boomer's Ruminations - Quotes To Live By

  • Wednesday, June 12, 2024
  • Diana Walters
Diana Walters
Diana Walters
In 1964 Norman Cousins, a prominent writer, was diagnosed with a crippling, incurable disease. He was told his chances of survival were 1 in 500. He spent a long time in the hospital with no help in sight, so he checked himself out, went home, and began treating his pain in a totally different way—through laughter. He found that after watching old Marx Brothers films and other comedies he could sleep peacefully for two hours. When the pain returned, he watched more comedy programs.
As we get older, whether we have physical pain like Norman Cousins or psychological/emotional pain— from losing our abilities to losing someone we care about—we need to find ways of coping with difficult situations.
Like most of you, I have some tough days.
For me, one method of staying positive is to cover my office, bedroom, and kitchen with inspirational quotes. I post them in places I’ll read them throughout the day. They inspire me to do better and be better.
Some quotes have to do with my writing goals, such as “You fail only if you stop writing,” (by Ray Bradbury.) We can apply this to other things as well… “You fail only if you stop…trying?” “…stop doing your best?” “You fail only if you give up?” Fill in the blank with whatever is most appropriate to your life.
Some quotes have to do with relationships. Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This reassures me that as long as I do my best to affirm people, getting the words precisely right is not as important as I once thought.
Some quotes are of a spiritual nature: “…For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11.) This reminds me that I don’t know what God’s plans are for me, but He does, so I don’t have to worry about my future.
The Serenity Prayer is also posted where I read it often, a reminder that I need to forget about things I cannot change, decide what I can (and should) change, and ask God for wisdom to know the difference.
And then there are quotes about aging:
“Getting old is like climbing a mountain; you get a little out of breath, but the view is much better!” – Ingrid Bergman (This is a reminder that we have a broader perspective when we’re older and can see things we couldn’t see when we were young.)
“Aging is not ‘lost youth’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” - Betty Friedan (A reminder that we can still grow and look forward to new opportunities in our older years.)
“Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.” – David Bowie (So many of our pretenses fall away as we age. We know who and what we are, accept our limitations, and embrace what is positive.)
“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln.
As we get older, we may experience more challenging days than we used to. Maybe we or a spouse will have health problems or chronic pain. We may worry about our future. But that’s all the more reason to do the things we enjoy—read a book, get out in nature, collect stamps or inspirational quotes, visit friends, laugh and play.
We can be productive later in life, we can continue to grow and learn, and we can and should contribute to making the world a better place. But we must also take time to enjoy the life God has given us.
In our senior years we have more freedom to have fun than ever before. Who cares if someone thinks we’re silly? Who does it hurt if we wear a red dress and purple shoes? (If you don’t know the poem that begins, “When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple,” look it up.) At this time of life, we should accept ourselves as we are, warts and all. If others don’t like us, tough cookies.
Age gives us the prerogative to be eccentric. Consider that a gift. And remember, “You don’t stop laughing when you grow old. You grow old when you stop laughing.” – (George Bernard Shaw)


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Diana Walters has enjoyed a long career working with senior adults as social worker, activity director, and volunteer coordinator. She recently retired (at age 76) from paid employment and is now able to devote more time to her writing and her husband (in that order?) She has written devotionals for The Quiet Hour and Upper Room and been published in six Chicken Soup for the Soul books, but she is excited to be writing for and about her fellow Baby Boomers. She can be reached at dianalwalters@comcast.net.

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