I think I might have previously mentioned that I started learning French two years ago with a friend, mainly in protest at my mother’s referendum vote. The problem is that it’s taking more time than I anticipated to be able to pack my bags and live confidently amongst the Parisians, […]
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We’ve just read “The Warmth Of Your Heart Prevents Your Body From Rusting” for our book group by the French author Marie de Hennezel. It has become a self help “bestseller” in France with over 100,000 copies sold. I was really looking forward to reading the book – all about how to age without growing old. It is in fact very French and there are lots of truisms in the book – about what she thinks old people lack “it isn’t smooth skin or rounded cheeks; it is joy and youthfulness of heart”. In order to achieve this she suggests we aim to be charming and constantly open to new ideas, young people and the world in general. To continue to enjoy life by looking beyond ourselves. That said, I found that there were a few too many quotes and at times it was a little repetitive.
We had a very good discussion about growing old (dis)gracefully and about our thoughts on death. She thinks “a good death” is important to the remaining family members and loved ones and that we all should aim to face death with courage and acceptance. A lot of it actually didn’t really relate to our age group – several of my friends found it all rather depressing. However, as she points out “it is up to us, the baby boomers, to invent a new art of growing old” and to find a way of being relevant to others rather than to feel like a burden. Another friend took the advice to make the effort to actually look into the eyes of an elderly person – to make them feel less invisible and has already noticed a huge difference in the way they respond to her.
We had a lovely evening – here we all are – eating and drinking and generally chewing the fat (aka delicious chocolates):-
The book we are reading next, which has had incredibly good write-ups is “A Visit From The Goon Club” by Jennifer Egan.
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Here is the photo of Jennifer Anniston that my daughter showed me yesterday in her latest magazine. “Look mum, doesn’t she look AMMMAAAAZING – she’s your age you know – that’s quite embarrassing isn’t it”.
“Don’t be ridiculous, of course she isn’t my age, she’s 10 years younger, but Why is it embarrassing?”.
“No, she is mum, trust me, Well, um, you know, she looks ammaaazing and you look, well, um, it’s mostly embarrassing for her that she doesn’t look like you obviously but you’d never go out wearing something like that would you and you should – you’d look really good in that”.
“Don’t be ridiculous. I’d probably get arrested or die of hypothermia. Don’t forget she hasn’t had her children yet – that will make a difference.”
“Why should it make a difference whether she has kids or not? Also mum, why don’t you buy these shoes? If I was your height I’d definitely be wearing REEEALLY high heels” (killer black studded shoes with metal spiked heels you’d never be allowed on an aeroplane).
And so on……it really is extraordinary how rubbish gorgeous immensely tall 15 year old daughter’s can make you feel without meaning to and I know her well enough to know that any encouragement to actually buy items of clothing or accessories that I would frankly look awful in are so that she can borrow them. Devious. Beyond.
OOORRR…..maybe she’s right and I should try and find a copy of that dress to wear to all the Christmas parties…..what do you think? Are we too old these days to get away with that sort of outfit? The boobs wouldn’t look quite the same, let alone the legs, the stomach, the bottom…..
I can just picture my daughter’s reaction if I tried to go out looking like that.
“Mum, I’m not really sure about that – why don’t I try it on instead?”
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