As Young as You Feel

My mom used to say it. “You’re only as young as you feel.” She lived it, too. At age 90, she went with me on a book tour to Nebraska for the book about her youth, Farm Girl.

At age 91,  she was driving younger women in their seventies and eighties to their doctor appointments.

Finally, when she turned 93, she decided to give herself permission to sleep later and take an afternoon nap if she felt like it. But she still kept up her hair appointments, her exercise class and teaching the Bible Class– up until the day she had the stroke from which she never really recovered. She died on New Year’s Day, 2011, just seventeen days short of her 94th birthday.

After our mom’s passing, her daughters– we four Jones girls– decided to go on a yearly Sisters Retreat. This is how we would strengthen our bonds as sisters and as daughters of a fabulous woman who stayed young and refused to ever complain about the ailments of “old age.” Because you’re only as young as you feel.

12 thoughts on “As Young as You Feel

  1. Arlee Bird

    What a cool idea of the sisters retreat. I think I am revived when I get together with my brothers and sisters even though we may all not see eye to eye on everything. Just being together to enjoy each other’s company takes me back to younger days. I hope I make it many more years with vitality, clarity, and positive thinking.

    1. karenjonesgowen Post author

      Arlee, One of the worries my mom had was that once she was gone, we girls wouldn’t get together, since we don’t all live in the same town, or even state. This is our way of making sure we do!

  2. Suzie F.

    Love your new blog, Karen! I’m a follower. What a wonderful idea to go on a yearly Sisters Retreat. I appreciate my family bonds so much more now that we’re getting older.

  3. Donna OShaughnessy

    So here I am Karen, following you over to your preferred place of blogging. So glad I did. I also grew up in Central Illinois, Still here, and have four sisters. We see each other often but as we age not often enough. Our folks died young, 20 and 13 years ago. How blessed you were to have your mom such a great long time and I’m glad her life allowed her to see her stories come to life in your books. She was one blessed mother! My sisters and I went to the covered bridge festival in Indianna this year. What a joy! Good luck to you as you continue to streamline your life.

    1. karenjonesgowen Post author

      Donna, My sisters and I tell ourselves that constantly– how fortunate that we had our mom in our lives to be our friend, our counselor, our example, sometimes our thorn in our sides LOL, for so many years! And how glad that, although we’d all talked about recording her memories, I finally did something in that arena with Farm Girl. Her 90th birthday was approaching and I got this idea. She was so healthy and took such good care of herself, it seemed like there would still be plenty of time, yet just 4 years later she was gone. Every day I am thankful that we got this book out, and that she was able to tour Nebraska with me!

  4. Neurotic Workaholic

    Your mother sounds like an amazing woman. And she obviously did a good job raising you and your siblings, because it’s wonderful that you’re all close. I agree that getting older does come with a different mindset; I wish I could take all those young girls who get plastic surgery when they’re still teenagers and tell them that they don’t have to worry so much about looking/getting older. But then again, sometimes when I look in the mirror I freak out a little bit about the lines around my eyes and the fact that my hair is turning white (even though I’m only 31).

    1. karenjonesgowen Post author

      Neurotic, We have gotten closer through the years, I think. And if one takes off the reading glasses when peering in the mirror, it’s all soft focus and one looks 20 years younger. (Just a tip for you when you need it, maybe 30 years from now.)


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