Aging in Acceptance, Growth and Grace
I think several years ago, I posted a version of this. But I've eliminated some if it and added some new thoughts, so I am asking for your patience.
A very wise woman told me recently when we were discussing the process of aging that there were two roads we humans can choose to take when it comes to aging. One road is paved with fear, anger, obsession, and a lack of gratitude. The other road is paved in acceptance, sharing, grace, and growth! I choose to age in acceptance, sharing grace and growth. Unfortunately, I have seen many who seem to have chosen the first road and I think how very sad it must be to be wracked to the core with such negativity.
You know, I don't ever remember being afraid of "Oldness." There are things that I miss about being younger - chiefly the ability to pull all nighters and keep working and working well; and being smiled at by guys I didn't know who thought I was hot; and I really wish I had the eyesight I had even five years ago. But, in reality, all of that stuff is pretty trivial.
I'm happier, on most days, than I've been at any time in my life. I have a wonderful partner whom I adore, I've experienced an astonishing number of grand experiences, I've traveled both in the states and internationally, I've made art that I am very proud of, I have real, true, glorious friends, and I've been able to do good for things that I care deeply about. Things like ALS and Lyme Disease Awareness, Pet Rescue, and Habitat for Humanity.
I miss great lovers and friends who have died, but then, I'm glad that time gave them to me to befriend, even if it was just for a short while. And, more importantly, that I was alive to know them. I knew Jolie Knight and Tom Kaufman, I knew Gail Williams and Quinde Smith, I knew Isabel Strong and Barry Horton, and I knew Jim Nygaard and Jo Lovette. Do you have any idea how lucky that makes me?
I think that I am rambling, and, I think I sound a bit more Pollyannish than was intended. Believe me when I tell you I KNOW the downside of age and the downside of time, and I am absolutely positive that the view from age 63 is NOT the view from age 83. I wish, however, that time hadn't gone so quickly and more importantly, I wish I'd enjoyed my journey more and worried about it a hell of a lot less!
Since it is the time of year that marks my birth, I tend to get a bit reflective. I ask myself; who am I? I am made from all the wonderful people I have encountered and all of the experiences I have endured on my journey. Inside, I hold the support and laughter of my friends, the love of my parents, the chattering of my children and grandchildren, and the warmth I have received from very kind strangers. Inside, there are a million stitches from shattered hearts, bitter words from heated arguments, beautiful music that has sustained me, and emotions I cannot begin to convey. I am made from all of these people and all of those moments. This is who I am!
Lastly, I've come to understand that even in aging you must find your teachers! It is my job to be a forever student because I gotta tell you friends, I'm still trying to figure out how to live this life in acceptance, in this body, in this community of humans, at this moment in history. At 63 years young, I'm proud to still be working out all the glitches in my own software, and continuing to grow in hope, joy and grace!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME and anyone else who shares this beautiful birth date ... WE GEMINI'S ROCK!