A baby boomer who stops to smell the flowers

After all these years as an active baby boomer, do you ever just stop and smell the flowers? Carol Viau of Waynesville, North Carolina, has learned to do just that. And when she says the rest of us should too, it makes good sense.

Some people say, “Stop and smell the flowers.” Some phrase it as, “Stop and smell the roses.” Whichever you prefer, my advice is to do this simple thing — take time to enjoy the beauty of life around us.

We baby boomers are like everyone else; we all get caught up in the hassles of everyday life. Oh, it’s time to pay quarterly tax! Or, there’s a leak in my basement and the insurance adjuster isn’t calling us back. Or, that road is under construction again and I’m late.

C-Dobbs-NC-arboretum

STOP AND SMELL THE FLOWERS — A woman at left spends time on her cell phone, while another visitor takes time to enjoy the flowers at the N.C. Arboretum in Asheville, NC.

Boomers: here’s your wake up call. Take time to relax and enjoy the world around you.

A small lake near my house features a rose walk as part of the path that surrounds it. Some people walk with their smartphone glued to their ear. Do they even see the beauty of the roses in full bloom there? Occasionally, I see a walker stop, bend down, and smell the roses. By the way, the purple blooms have the most delectable fragrance.

There is a rose on the walk named Double Delight. It’s a hybrid tea rose, which was cultivated from the Granada and Garden Party varieties. What make this rose so amazing is its bicolor bloom, with a creamy center, and strawberry red tips on the leaves.

Looking at the blooms over the course of the summer, I was struck by the various stages the bloom exhibits — and it led me to reflect on the stages of life and where we Boomers are now. When the bloom forms, it’s tight and full of promise, just like we were in our teens. Then as it begins to unfold its 24 to 30 petals, the color changes from creamy white to red on the edges. To me, it’s a metaphor for the innocence of youth and youthful idealism (the cream color), followed by brilliant success (the red) in our careers and family life.

The interesting part is that as the bloom continues its life in the sun, it becomes dappled, with a mix of cream and muted red blotches. The brilliant colors begin to mellow. Perhaps, like all Boomers, it’s showing its age as it enters the “autumn” of its year.

A METAPHOR FOR LIFE’S STAGES — The Double Delight hybrid tea rose blooms mirror life stages. At top center, the robust bloom unfolds beautifully in younger days, showing its cream center and bright red petal edges. It unfolds more (lower right), as we live our lives. Then, in the “autumn” of its bloom cycle, the colors become mellow, showing the dappled mix of life lived. Photo taken on the Rose Walk at LakeJunaluska, NC.

A METAPHOR FOR LIFE’S STAGES — The Double Delight hybrid tea rose blooms mirror life stages. At top center, the robust bloom unfolds beautifully in younger days, showing its cream center and bright red petal edges. It unfolds more (lower right), as we live our lives. Then, in the “autumn” of its bloom cycle, the colors become mellow, showing the dappled mix of life lived. Photo taken on the Rose Walk at LakeJunaluska, NC.

The flowers at the lake are now basking in the warm sunshine of Indian summer — and if it is true that we Boomers are in the “autumn” of our lives, we should bask in the joy of living.

So stop what you’re so busy doing all the time. Put down that iPhone. Or at least use it to take apicture to capture a happy moment with friends or a peaceful view in nature.

My husband and I have started to realize that we have attended way too many memorial services lately for friends who have passed away. Let’s resolve to get out and enjoy the “autumn” of our years.

It doesn’t need to be a big trip, although that is a fine way to enjoy the world. But you also can start small. Take a walk. Go on a picnic. Drink some good wine — or a craft beer. Perhaps, take a class. Visit your grandkids — then come back home for quiet reflection and relaxation.

Enjoy this fine time of life. Laissez les bons temps rouler! (And if you’re French-challenged, that just means, Let the good times roll!)

8 Comments

  1. An excellent post, and a reminder that every day is a wake up call. Greet it with and open eye and excitement and God’s wonders will amaze you. Nice job, Carol.

  2. Thanks for a most timely post as the world, and we, enter the autumn season of life. So let’s enjoy this time with its wonderful hues, Cool crisp air, apple cider donuts, and spectacular purple sunsets.

    1. Fall is the best season, with its brilliant colors and sunny, crisp days. Let’s all resolve to enjoy the autumn of our lives!

  3. Quel magnifique article, un appel à la poésie! l’utilisation de la métaphore de la rose et de nos vies de baby boomer me ravi. Bravo!
    Et comme vous le dites si bien “apprécions le temps qui passe” (Let the good times roll!)
    Richard

  4. We’ll enjoy the flowers (& friendship!) with you when we ‘hop over the pond’ on Thursday!!! If I say it quickly it will, hopefully, be a stress free flight & Atlanta airport will be a ‘breeze’ !!!

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