Saturday, August 25, 2007

Old Age

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I received the following in an email from my husband this morning, and I liked it. It's not written by him, and I don't really know to whom to give credit to - but just the same, it is a lesson I thing we all can learn from:

The other day a young person asked me how I felt about being old. I was taken aback, for I do not think of myself as old. Upon seeing my reaction, she was immediately embarrassed, but I explained that it was an interesting question, and I would ponder it, and let her know.

Old Age, I decided, is a gift. I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometime despair over my body, the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror (who looks like my mother!), but I don't agonize over those things for long.

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 more kind 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 60&70's, 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)


Now don't you feel just a bit freer to be your own age! I do, but I still won't let you know how young I am. By the way, by sister turned 40 yesterday. Happy Birthday, Denise!! She looks great!


Joanna said...

that comic is great... I'm going to forward both that and the write-up you shared to my parents :-) My mom will like the sentimental part, and my dad will like the comic :-p

Jeff said...

I agree with you 100%. I used to stress about the stupidest shit when I was younger - things I couldn't care less about now. I guess with age comes wisdom - AND freedom.

Happy birthday Denise!

Colin Sullivan said...

OUCH doesn't even come close. I had a spinal headache after a sloppy myelogram and wished I were dead-It was a holiday weekend. A blood patch fixed me-up after 3 days of violent nausea, and a railsplitting headache.

I've had another and now know that these may become regular occurances because of the myelograms. I'M ONE OF YOU!!!...GREAT. It is a (seriosly) great that you're here, Deborah. I'm still a little weak on my pins, but feeling better today. I'll shoot I private note, we've got a lot more in common than I'd ever known. God bless, and feel well, Colin

Migraine Chick said...

The comic is great and I really love the message in the post about age.