Writer explains how to not become a grumpy old woman

A few years ago, I wrote about Grumpy Old Man Syndrome, and what it does to suck the life out of men who lack genuine purpose in their lives.

This week, Melody Richeson, the leader of Christian non-profit Alongside Women, broached the subject of being a grumpy old woman. In an article for Gospel Centered Discipleship, Melody noted it requires developing several habits early in the aging process in order to grow old with grace.

“It is good to give sober thought to the fact that life is short, and if we hope to finish well, we must intend to finish well,” Melody wrote.

She then outlined what she thinks are four foundational habits to help women remain joyful and steadfast in their twilight years. They are:

Practice gratitude

Melody recalls the story of Jesus healing 10 lepers in Luke 17:11-19, but only one person returned to give thanks to the man who healed him. The simple act of gratitude pushes back against self-sufficiency and helps cultivate a humble heart, she explained.

She suggests keeping a gratitude journal by trying to write down one thing for which you are thankful that day. Just noting things to be thankful about actually works to open your eyes to many other things for which to be grateful.

Melody also talks about the importance of writing old-fashioned thank you notes to people when they have done something nice or just because they have been faithful supporters for many years. Receiving a handwritten letter truly stands out in today’s fast-paced society.

Last year, I wrote about one of my efforts to create a list of the 100 most influential people in my life. They were selected based on whether they influenced me in a positive way, or had such a negative impact that it altered the trajectory of my life. Creating the list is more challenging than you may imagine, but doing so opens your eyes to all the people who have influenced you over the years.

Curb criticism

Criticism is a hallmark attitude of a grumpy old man because, without purpose for his life, everyone else’s business becomes his business. Melody admitted a tendency to become more critical as she got older, too.

To help curb that tendency, she memorized James 1:19, which encourages people to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. For years, I have done the opposite and could really benefit from applying that wisdom to my life, too.

There are, indeed, many things for which we can be frustrated as seasoned citizens. Yet, I liked Melody’s determination to have more humility rather than expecting the world to bend to her preferences.

Accept with joy

Reflecting on a passage from one of her favorite books, “Hinds Feet on High Places,” Melody encourages older folks to accept things with joy.

That is certainly hard to do, especially the older we get when we have to deal with rapidly-changing technology as well as frequent aches and pains.

Yet, if we have not yet mastered the ability to change what we can, accept what we can’t and have wisdom to know the difference, then now would be a good time to do so.

“My brain already doesn’t quite work as sharply as it once did. I have a choice. I can succumb to self-pity and bitterness or I can, by faith, accept and trust,” Melody wrote.

Too many seasoned citizens, both men and women, seem to gravitate toward self-pity and bitterness. Nobody likes to be around people who constantly complain. Doing so subjects us to increased isolation.

Abide in Christ

In John 15:5, Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

What does it mean to “abide?” The dictionary defines it as a verb, which means it often involves action of some type. Abide means to continue and stay, as well as to endure, sustain or withstand without yielding or submitting. More importantly, it means to remain steadfast and faithful.

Melody said, more than ever, we need to be drawing near to Jesus every day and trusting him to produce good fruit in us.

The Holy Spirit will also guide us toward opportunities where we can make a difference in the lives of others, if only by listening and lending our support. It is nearly impossible to be grumpy when we are serving others. Find someone to serve today, and do it with love in your heart.

Melody’s complete article can be found at www.gcdiscipleship.com.