Ageing, Generosity and the Passages of Time, Health, and Wisdom
Like many of you, I’ve pondered the inevitable ageing journey. We all age. Some grow old. Others struggle with being elderly. But it is a rare few who learn to blossom into elders!
We all age. Some grow old. Others struggle with being elderly. But it is a rare few who learn to blossom into elders!
Altweibersommer: Vienna’s Golden Autumn
During Vienna’s enchanting Altweibersommer, or Indian Summer, the city transforms into a tapestry of golden foliage. The days have been glorious and unusually warm (20°C /68°F) for late October and early November in Austria. We’ve been relishing the sun’s warmth on our back and feasting our eyes on the golden foliage against azure blue skies on our daily walks.
What a blessing to savour an Indian Summer. Or what the Austrians call an “Altweibersommer” (Old Woman Summer), a poetic term for such a beautiful time of year, inspired by the long white threads floating through the air, reminiscent of an old woman’s long grey hair. It is a strange term for such a beautiful time of year.
The expression is common in Germanic, Hungarian and Slavic languages.
- Polish – babie lato
- Czech – babí léto, sorbisch babylěćo,
- Slowak – babie leto
- Slowenish – babje poletje / leto
- Russian – babje leto
- Ukrainian – babyne
- Hungarian – vénasszonyok nyara
Vienna’s Linguistic Evolution: A Mirror to Its Culture
This unique term also leads me to reflect on Vienna’s rich linguistic history and how language, much like seasons, evolves over time. The Viennese dialect, a beautiful example of this evolution, has changed remarkably over the years. You can read about its fascinating transformation here.
Impressive Years: A Family’s Legacy of Time
I recently revisited California to spend time with my parents. My mother turned 80 this year, and my father 90. Time is a precious gift, and this visit made that crystal clear. It was different this time. Good, but different. I no longer felt like a child. I’ve matured, and so have my parents, for the better. It reminded me that there is an elegance to ageing if approached with grace. Which is the topic of an imagined conversation, part of a new series called Conversations on the ABCs of Life. You can read about that here.
Refocusing at 58: Embracing Life’s Joys
I turned 58 this year. Not a special rite of passage, but a year of noticeable change. I’m more relaxed, dedicating myself to what I love most: writing, painting, cooking, walking, my health, and my loved ones. I am happier and healthier than in years past, apparently, it shows, or so I’ve been told. Life is good. Discover some key points that have enriched my life here.
Honouring Our Ancestors: A Poetic Tribute
Having just celebrated the Mexican Tradition of Dia de Los Muertos, I share with you a poem I wrote in honor of my grandmother’s passing a few years ago. “There is Love” is a heartfelt tribute to our ancestors, reminding us of the timeless bond of love.
As we conclude this edition of “The Multicultural,” I want to express my gratitude for your readership and the opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences with you.
Ageing is a universal journey; as we’ve explored in this issue, it can be a period of transformation and growth.
“Altweibersommer” in Vienna, with its poetic name, reminds us of the beauty in the changing seasons of life, just as language evolves and adapts over time. My recent visit with my ageing parents, an octagenarian and a nonagenarian, emphasized the elegance that can come with maturity and the preciousness of time spent with loved ones.
Embracing the passage of time is one theme we’ll continue to explore in “Conversations on the ABCs of Life.” I invite you to join this ongoing conversation as we delve into various aspects of life with grace and wisdom.
As I personally reflect on the years and the changes they bring, I’m reminded that life offers opportunities for refocusing, finding new passions, and cherishing the simple joys. Whether you’re 19 or 90, there’s beauty in every stage of life.
Thank you for being part of this journey, and I look forward to sharing more stories, insights, and discoveries with you next week in the next edition of “The Multicultural.”