How to live in a small community without committing any sort of crime, real or imagined.
How to be older without buying into the societal b*****cks around age.
Welcome. I never knew how to be young, or middle-aged but … older … so far I’m lucky, and it’s good. Decades rollick along enriching experience which the considerably older wear like an invisible cloak. (It can promote invisibility but that’s another subject.) Result: I know all kinds of stuff which I am going to share. To mention just one nugget: How to be married; I didn’t see that coming. But the shiniest jewel in my experiential crown: how to live in a small community without committing any sort of crime, real or imagined. It’s a skill. These two are connected. If he had said no (as if) I wouldn’t be here.
But I am, and I have been for thirty years. During that time I have spent many hours, days, and years attending interesting (and sometimes tedious) events and recording them for the Oban Times, for various websites and for myself and I have an archive of words and images which are our story and, without this blog, they may be buried with me. Which would be fine for me, but my archive is not some great historical document, it records the everydayness of being here: the comings and goings, the crises and celebrations, the births, deaths and marriages, the successes and failures, the cancelled ferries, the storms, the power cuts, the ceilidhs, sales of work, etc, but above all the massive communal spirit which drives good things to happen and the tolerance which does not stop the evolution of the organism that is Lismore. It all matters. We need to know our everyday story to live well. To make good decisions. To know who has done what to make the place unique.
About being older
The word matters. No-one is old, ancient or elderly, nasty terms, they imply we have arrived. We have not. Regardless of age, we are all older. Every minute of every day. It starts at birth. Being younger is not an option. No-one will ever be younger in relation to themselves. Do not mourn the rollicking decades. Savour every season. Spring is exciting, but Autumn is the time of greatest beauty. We have been robbed of seeing older as beautiful in ourselves, in others. Or even seeing it. Robbed. Whatever our age, we must disguise it and look younger, more beautiful, more enticing blah blah blah. And so we learn, earlier and earlier to fear ageing (code word for death) as though it were unnatural. (There are many reasons for all this every one of them b****cks. I can’t cover everything alas.)
In all communities, but especially in a small one—and this is a very small community (fewer than 200 souls in case you have never heard of us)—all ages are of equal importance and value. We are interdependent and independent.
The coherence of our Lismore community is built on respect for and valuing of all ages. And that is not about how we look but how we feel. No-one needs to look young but we do need to feel our best. A functioning community in a beautiful place can maximise that. (It doesn’t need to be utopia but does need to function). That’s our secret. And that parent council ceilidh below from 2012 demonstrates it very nicely.
As a yoga teacher I have a few tips about feeling as well as we can and will drip feed them, so I don’t bore you.
Today’s tip: Think about your shoulders. Gravity from a young age wants them to sink and round and wreck your spine and lungs. Consciously reset them, in an exaggerated way, several times a day. You’ll thank me. Awareness is all it takes. (I know this is also a gender issue involving breasts but that is a massive subject and this is a blog. However, I’m sure to touch on it at some point.)