Thursday, September 23, 2010

Getting Older....and Wiser?

I just love "Maxine."  She says the things I'm thinking, but probably wouldn't say....well, maybe sometimes I would.  A lot depends on who I'm saying it too!

This week I had two experiences that made me wonder.  First of all, I was at a store on Tuesday that has a "Senior Discount Day" and I was offered the discount.  I should have just said, "sure, I'll take that 10% off!"  But, no, my stupid vanity took over and I said that "although I'm sure that considering the day I am having I might look like a senior, I can assure you that I'm not one yet."  Then there was the visit to get new glasses when I was told that although my prescription was only 8 months old, because I was "older" I should probably get my eyes checked again because "at my age" my vision deteriorates more rapidly.  (Yeah, tell me something I don't know already!)

Now, I'm still considered a youngster by those in their 70s and age is relative.  I know I must be absolutely ancient to my son and his friends, but to their moms, well, not so much.  It's amazing how old 30 seems until you're 50 and you realize how truly young 30 is!

It's not all terrible, getting older.  I like to think that with age comes wisdom, and for some people that's the case.  I think, however, that for most people it's not that we're wiser, we've just figured out which things are worth getting our knickers in a twist over, and which things aren't. 

It's liberating to reach the age when you don't care so much what other people think of you.  It's like, I am who I am, and I'm not so bad, so just deal with it!  It's also kind of nice to be able to look at all of the younger people doing the same stupid things I did and realizing that I wasn't really "stupid" I was just young.  Those were the days when I thought I knew everything.  Now I know I didn't then, I don't now, and I probably never will.....and that's OK!

It's the same with my quilting.  I've been doing this for so long that I can't remember not doing it.  I heard Alex Anderson speak once about the early days of the new quilting renaissance and I remember it well.  She lives not far from me and I used to travel to the shops she talks about and remember what a revelation it was that quilts could be considered to be more than bed coverings.  I was there for the beginning of this new quilt revolution and have been riding the wave ever since.

I guess that makes me a "Senior" in the quilting world, (although I must keep saying, I started verrrrrrry young!).  It's given me a different perspective on the art and the industry.  It's exciting to see how things have changed, how we quilters have managed to create and support a huge industry, and have brought about changes in the way long standing businesses operate. 

Because of our insatiable desire for the next best thing, fabric manufacturers are looking outside of their usual designer pool, and creating more new lines each year than ever before. Craft stores are full of new products and a whole new generation is discovering the joy of making something themselves.  Now we see different crafts intersecting in unusual ways and artists coming out of the craft world that are finally being accepted as "fine artists."   

Just look at the magazine section in your local bookstore.  The number of titles of craft related publications have soared.  I remember years ago that the only quilting magazines were "Quilter's Newsletter" and "McCall's Needlework and Craft" (which sometimes had quilts in it and sometimes not).  Now we have a huge selection from lifestyle oriented magazines to pattern magazines, not to mention the publications from England, Ireland, Japan, France, and Australia.  We are truly spoiled!

Sometimes I think back to the old days when finding quilt related stuff was a real treasure hunt.  It was exciting to find something new.  Now, there's so much new stuff that it can feel overwhelming.  The last big show I was at had my head spinning for days.

It's kind of the same with quilting as it is with the rest of my life.  Getting older has made me a bit wiser; I know what's worth getting upset about and what isn't, and I know what I've got to have and what I can do without.  My only regret is that I didn't figure this out when I was younger.  Oh well!

Happy Stitching!



Linda said...

Well said, Susan. I came to quilting later than you and I'm just a little older, but probably not much. I wish all "older" quilters felt liberated. I am saddened by the many who feel there is only ONE way to quilt or piece. I feel on the spot when one of them asks, "Why did you do that?" I am learning to say, "It was easier and a lot more fun!"

Stray Stitches said...

I couldn't have said it better. I am willing to take the senior discount when it is available - my hubby and I are declaring our age tomorrow (this will be our first ever senion discount) so that we may park and enter our local county fair free and earlier than those 'young wipper snappers"! LOL!

vivian said...

Definitely don't care as much about what others think. I got to the park yesterday and realized I had 2 different shoes on! Ten years ago I would have went home and changed-yesterday I just laughed!