Another year gone, another birthday celebrated, albeit more sedately than in years past. Funny, I don’t feel much older—mentally, at least. But I know I’ve crossed into the “crypt keeper” stage because of one thing—time is no longer something I can count on. In fact, it’s whizzing by so fast I have to run to chase it. I don’t think I can catch up.
There are sad things about getting older. Most significantly you begin to lose people. You have to say goodbye to loved ones. If you didn’t know the pain of loss before, you certainly do now. And so do more and more of your friends. You realize it’s simply a part of life, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
Time plays mean tricks on your body. I’m not talking about the changing face you see in the mirror. It’s the little surprises, like when you wake up with a debilitating crick in your neck. Again. Must have slept wrong, you figure. Again.
Or the time you turn and bend to pick up something from the floor and (owie!) throw your back out. For days.
Or how about when you catch yourself straight-arming the check away from your face and squinting hard-- just to be able to see how much tip you should leave the waitress who just called you “aunty?” Auwe!
Of course, there are some good things about getting on in years.
Let me think.
You get discounts for all kinds of stuff. Like the movies! And groceries (5% off if you shop on Senior Thursday at Foodland)! And the Senior menu at restaurants! Hey, it adds up. May as well get something back for all the years you’ve spent in those establishments.
Also, you are no longer expected to be agreeable. You’ve earned the right to say what you feel when you feel it. Let’s face it; you don’t have much time left so you’ve got to spit out whatever’s on your mind-- pronto.
But—you are also wiser (so they say). You understand the value of strategic crotchetiness. This means keeping the bulk of the grouchiness in check until you really need it, then wielding it like a blunt tool when the time is right.
The best thing about maturity is your ability to deeply appreciate the really important things in life—and those have little to do with physical possessions.
You cherish your connections with family and friends.
You take care of your health without being obsessed with physical “perfection.”
You are comfortable with your beliefs and core values.
You look for ways to nourish and expand your creativity, your mind, your soul. If you lack in one area you identify it and reach for it.
You realize it’s okay to simply be. Be happy. Be in the moment. Be magnanimous. Be loving. Be honest. Be true to yourself.
I took some flack in 2018 for speaking my mind, especially when it comes to politics. It’s okay. I’ll do the same in 2019.
It’s the way I choose to be.
When I was in my early 20’s I use to complain about getting older. One of my college professors and dear friend gave me a card that said “Never resent growing old, many are denied the privilege.” He passed away a year later in his early 60’s. I stopped complaining.