Sunday, November 16, 2008

Old Age Is a Gift!

I didn't write this, but I wish I had...

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 sometimes 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 your 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. 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).



Delee said...

Enjoyed this writing, whether you wrote it or not.

I was thinking today some of those very things. Since my daughter has had the rabbit(her) since the 18th Oct, I have been truly free. I get him back next weekend.

This month has been the first time maybe in my life time I have not had to care for something/body other than myself. Yes it does get lonely at times, but doing what I want when I want or not do anything is nice once in awhile.

joy n said...

I'm not minding the age thing myself. I like running to the store without make-up. I don't mind anymore if the dusting waits another day. I enjoy that occasional ice cream cone without worrying about exercising it off tomorrow. Getting older is being free to really not sweat the small stuff anymore.

Hooray for purple hats!

bindu said...

That piece should be published! :) I keep wishing I'd had the confidence I now have when I was younger ... age has its perks for sure!

PDX Granny said...

My sentiments exactly!!

I especially like that I'm not as afraid to speak up when I feel I'm not being treated fairly, or am receiving bad service.

Well, almost. I'm much more apt to speak up to strangers!!

RBennie said...

That was really nice MEB. While I'm not quite there yet on most of those points, I can certainly already relate to a few of them.

Sydney said...

Beautiful Meb, Did you write it? It sounds like you. I see my mother too more and more and that still freaks me out.

Like RBennie, I am not fully there yet. I like what my life has been though I've been living in limbo the last few years in a new town, newly married and joined to a new family, not yet working on my next career, with my face and body changing -- FAST. But this read was a wonderful invitation, soothing and attractive as a direction to shoot for, to hope for, to attain!

sizzie said...

I always like your take on life. I would like you to write about things you remember that shaped your attitude. Or, I should say, I would like to hear those stories. You have given me ideas of what to write about...I will do a post soon on gifts because of a comment you left me. Thanks

Anil P said...

Aging can set one free.