Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Amish living true to themselves, being happy in their old age

A new study came out that reveals the top 5 regrets of elderly people. Number one was:

“I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
I have yet to meet an elderly Amish person with a life full of regrets. They were free to leave the community when young, contrary to popular belief. An elderly woman, nearly 90 years old, told me with tears in her eyes, that when she looks back over her life, she's ever so happy she remained Amish.

The pull towards the Amish is a phenomenon, and I wonder if it's because they can put the "pause" on life and think about what kind of life they want to live. Their occupations are more varied than you might think. Our friend, Noah, moved his young family to New York to be a farmer. He simply said, "Well, I've always wanted to be a farmer." Plain and simple, just like that, he moved away with the blessing of the community, because they said, "Yep, Noah's wanted to be a famer since a wee one. 

Noah is not just drifting through life, but has courage to live intentionally. He has the courage to live a life true to himself.
Now, my confession. I was a career driven woman. Having my elementary education and psychology degree, I felt like a fish out of water in the 1980’s being a stay at home mom. I loved my kids but the “mass mind” of society said I was ruining my life by not working. Mentally I was caving in, but my heart was in my home. I loved being a mom of four preschoolers in a decade that said I was irresponsible for having so many children. Didn’t I know the average amount of kids in the USA was only two? Don't I know what a daycare center is?

Here’s what happened. I looked the “mass mind”, a psyche term that just means "what everybody else is doing", and thought about how I wanted to look back over my life. Live in in reverse. Then I prayed and asked the Lord to give me strength to live it out. We ended up homeschooling for twenty years. (I am not saying putting your kids in school is wrong, but for us, homeschooling worked) Now in my EARLY 50's,  I look back and shudder to think what my life would have been if I hadn’t put on the breaks and gained the courage to live the life true to myself.  

The Amish in New York helped me tremendously to feel “normal” as a stay at home mom. And on one income, my hubby and I began homesteading, “puttin’ up” food to last us through the winter. We were tight, very tight, but we learned many lessons from our Amish friends on frugality, and found it so much fun to find a deal (and extra money in the bank), we were then led to get involved with giving to a charity in Haiti. Living among the Amish also led me into a great knowledge of the Amish culture, and who would have known how popular they would be today and anyone who want to read about them in my books? The Lord knew, and I love that!

I don’t use this blog to promote my books much, but my novel, Knit Together, may help you if you’re lacking courage to live a life true to yourself. I have to admit, I am Ginny, the main character, who is struggling with choices. She sees how her Amish friends live and she’s always challenged to think intentionally (and I still am...) Many of the Amish sayings and their advice I took are in it, but one that I continue to go back to is:

“If you admire our faith, strengthen yours. If you admire our sense of commitment, deepen yours. If you admire our community spirit, build your own. If you admire the simple life, cut back. If you admire deep character and enduring values, live them yourself."


Blessings to you!
My friend, Lydia, is Katie Byler in the book. Here's a picture of the inside of her house.
Again, I'm challenged by the Amish and need to de-clutter my house ;)

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