Most of the time, I do a great job of ignoring the obvious – I’m not getting any younger. But I do have to brush my hair every day, and that means looking in the mirror. What a shocker when I'm so good at seeing myself in my mind the way I looked in my twenties, or even in my thirties!! But as they say, the alternative to getting older, unless your name is Dorian Grey, is to die young.
Last week I managed to turn my ankle in a shallow pothole and fell smashing my knee on the pavement. Once upon a time I’d have jumped up and plastered a bandaid on the cut and promptly forgotten the incident unless someone asked what I’d done to myself. But getting older means healing takes longer. It might also have contributed to the fact that I managed to tear some ligaments on the way down, which means the recovery is even more dragged out. So I hobble about feeling stiff and old, but the body is an amazing thing, and I will heal eventually.
In the mean time, however, I’m trying to be positive about the benefits of being a senior citizen. Among the obvious are being retired and being my own boss, not having to set an alarm clock, the freedom to take trips anytime I like and go for walks on the beach in the middle of the day.
It also brought me the opportunity to try things I’d never done before. With the last of my kids through college, I was free to look around and ask myself, what would I really like to try now? I took up skydiving, which was fantastic. Then I joined the Peace Corps and spent two years as a volunteer, sharing the wisdom and experience I’d gained over the years and garnering many unexpected blessings in return. I moved to a lovely bungalow by the beach in a place warm enough to walk on it every day and enjoy the sunshine.
Another thing most of us discover is that we’ve made all the stupid mistakes of youth and managed to learn and grow from them. The wisdom gained is precious. We’ve acquired a whole new respect for how fleeting time and life are and therefore a better appreciation for every blessing that comes our way. And we get discounts nearly everywhere (except on airlines.)
I can’t honestly say I’d turn down an offer to switch aging with a portrait were the chance to come my way, but I also have to admit that I love my life the way it’s turned out. Sure there are things I’d change if I could, not being a widow high on the list, but mostly I’ve been blessed. I’ve got adult children who are wonderful people I admire tremendously, who are always there for me with love and support. I’ve got a growing brood of grandchildren who are adorable and fun. I’ve got great friends I enjoy spending time with and while not perhaps the biggest blessing, I found the time to get serious about writing and I’m now a published author and I love what I do with all that time that’s mine to spend.
As my T-shirt says . . . “Life is Good!”
So, I leave you with these quotes to ponder:
"We live in a youth-obsessed culture that is constantly trying to tell us that if we are not young, and we're not glowing, and we're not hot, that we don't matter. I refuse to let a system or a culture or a distorted view of reality tell me that I don't matter. I know that only by owning who and what you are can you start to step into the fullness of life. Every year should be teaching us all something valuable. Whether you get the lesson is really up to you." —Oprah
“Old age ain't no place for sissies.” —Bette Davis