“I hate photographs, M. said the other day. “I look in the mirror and still see that same guy I was in college. But photos? They don’t lie.”
Considering the alternative, aging is a pretty good deal.
But all the little aches and pains that crop up out of nowhere can be irritating signs of your body’s betrayal.
I am reminded daily of my age when I stand in front of my college classes and look at all those bright young faces. And remember that I was once one of them.
Pills and potions and surgeries — we Baby Boomers are fighting hard against the ravages of time. It’s hard not to fixate on it.
A friend sent me this, yesterday. It’s one of those “forward to seven people and fabulous things will happen.” I don’t like those things (nor does he) and neither of us forwards many of them. But this one’s worth sharing.
I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend. I don’t chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn’t need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.
I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.
Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60s & 70s, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love …. I will.
I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set.
They, too, will get old.
I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.
Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody’s beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.
I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face.
So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.
As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be wrong.
So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be.
And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).
If we look at aging this way, the mirror becomes our friend. Every laugh line, every gray hair is a stripe earned.
And I was with the author right until dessert.