February 17, 2012

Aging Gracefully with Sustainability

Jane at her 60th birthday party
This week's beauty is Jane Weeks who is 63 years old. Jane is an environmentalist and lives in Gore's Landing, Ontario. She is the owner of a store called Smallbones, where she sells her hand-made pure beeswax candles, organic soap, natural perfumes, lip balms, and eco-friendly gifts. All of Jane's great products are also available online.

I bring you Jane:

"Wisdom comes with age...

...I guess I'm not old enough yet! I think that perhaps the phrase confuses wisdom with plain, old life experience. At 63 I have plenty of that, but wisdom? 

My old Doubleday Dictionary defines wisdom as: 1. The ability to discern what is true or right and to make sound judgments based on such discernment. 2. Insight or intuition. 3. Common sense. 4. A high degree of knowledge; learning. 5. An accumulated body of knowledge, as in philosophy, science, etc.

I'd probably get a passing mark for #1. I'm not bad at #2, and #3 I think I have in spades! I'd not get high grades for #4 or #5.  The first three definitions come from experience; the last two from learning/education. I think I'm a tad wiser than I used to be in that I wouldn't repeat a past mistake, but there again, I wouldn't have known to not repeat it if I hadn't experienced it in the first place — insight and common sense both!

“Leap, and the net will appear.” Experience gives us the confidence to believe in ourselves, to not second guess ourselves or needlessly heed others’ opinions. I think I need to experience a lot more, though, to be a truly wise, old woman, and I'm looking forward to it. I’ve always worked where my heart is, the not-for-profit sector (no benefits or pension plans); now I have Smallbones, a risky experiment in which I have pride. My motto is "Simple, Sustainable & Natural"! In a couple of years I’ll retire, I hope, and have the time and energy (fingers crossed) to spend the next phase enjoying and experimenting with my simple life. The scent of freedom is enticing! 

Allow me to share some of the things that are different since I turned 60 (an age, BTW, that came as a complete shock!). Letting go: hair colour and style, fashion, makeup — no more hair dye, I don't care that I'm wearing my 25 year old coat;  it's bright and cheerful and warm. What am I going to do when I grow up? It's a little late to be worrying about that now; life went ahead, regardless. Stewing over past hurts/losses/mistakes: the hurts and mistakes are mostly ancient history now; the losses still hurt, but they're a little easier to accept.

The worst thing about aging? How fast the years go by and how few are left. The last 20 years have flown past and 20 years ahead I'll be 83! Wonder if I’ll be wise by then? "

Thank you Jane. I love what you are doing.