No one can avoid getting old and eventually saying goodbye to life. Some people are disturbed by this reality and get depressed having to face it. But people like Wanda Goines gracefully accept their aging process as a natural part of life and even find joy in it. Prior to her death in 2016, this Oregon woman created a poem about aging that went viral on the Internet.
In 2015, 92-year-old Wanda was being looked after by her caregiver Kathryn Clausnitzer Wilson. When Wanda recited her poem The Gift Wrap & The Jewel, Kathryn was mesmerized by it and decided to film the entire thing. Kathryn eventually uploaded Wanda’s recital on Facebook where the video went on to garner millions of views. People liked the poem that spoke about focusing on the inner personality rather than external appearance. You can watch Wanda reciting the poem on YouTube. Here is her full poem:
I looked in the mirror
and what did I see
but a little old lady
peering back at me
with bags and sags and wrinkles
and wispy white hair
and I asked my reflection,
‘How did you get there?’
You once were straight and vigorous
and now you’re stooped and weak,
when I tried so hard to keep you
from becoming an antique.
My reflection’s eyes twinkled as she solemnly replied,
‘You’re looking at the gift wrap
and not the jewel inside.’
A living gem and precious
of unimagined worth
unique and true, the real you,
the only you on earth.
The years that spoil your gift-wrap
with other things more cruel,
should purify and strengthen
and polish up that jewel.
So focus your attention
on the inside, not the out.
On being kinder, wiser, more content
and more devout.
Then, when your gift-wrap’s stripped away
your jewel will be set free,
to radiate God’s glory
Wanda was an accomplished calligrapher and artist. At the age of 87, she wrote and illustrated her first published work. In addition, she created several Bible studies, most of which were made available on her website. She even taught herself the Old Testament in Hebrew and German as well as the New Testament in Greek so as to understand the Bible as deeply as possible.
Wanda was the mother of 8 children, grandmother to15 kids, and great-grandmother to 4 children. One of her children is David Lance Goines, a famous international artist. David credits his mother for teaching him art from a young age. As to the poem, David felt glad that his mother could contribute to the world in some way even though she was due to soon pass away.
There are a few tricks you can adopt to age gracefully. The first is to change your mindset. If you view old age as something dreary during which time you will not be able to do what you want due to the physical limitations of the body, you will inevitably live a miserable life when old. In contrast, if you accept old age as a normal part of life and focus on spending as much time with loved ones and on your hobbies, you’ll soon find that old age isn’t as bad as you expected.
Try to do some type of light exercise every day to keep the joints and muscles working as optimally as possible. Practice meditation to keep your mind calm and under control. Don’t be too obsessed with your looks that you try to hide your age by copious amounts of makeup. Most of the time, the results won’t be too appealing. Look natural the way you are and be confident about it. As Wanda said, focus on the internal aspect of your life rather than external appearance.