Saturday, January 8, 2011

And speaking of old age . . .


My sister sent this to me in an e-mail (not the Maxine cartoon).  I don't know if any of you have read it, but I have not, and I thought I would share - I loved it!!  It kind of goes along with my goal to like myself . . . right now, at this time in my life.

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) ! ~ Author Unknown~

I thought we could all use a little chuckle, or maybe even shed a tear or two today.  Oh,  and don't forget - Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional. 


Hugs,



12 comments:

  1. This, my Friend, is full of truth and good advice. I was just looking at the faces of some young families, and thinking how youthful and and slim they all look. Truthfully, a little sad at the thought that it once was me as the young wife and mother, and coming close to lamenting what was but is no more. Your post this evening was a good push for me! Great, great attitude!

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  2. Barb when I look at your photo or think of you I see in my minds eye "perfection." Now I know that no one really is perfect, but to me in my heart you are my dear friend~!


    Love n squishy hugs

    Kimmie
    xxx

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  3. I loved this post I think because it hit so close to home. I am now that older person in the mirror and wonder when she came to be? I agree with Deb when she said there is a lot of truth and good advice in this post. I find as I grow older that I am not so concerned with what others think, but more concerned with what I am thinking. I don't need approval of others to do the things that bring me joy even if it is sitting and reading a book for the better part of the day. Life is too short to not enjoy it. I don't worry if the house isn't in perfect condition if it will keep me from enjoying time with my family and friends. I have taken my mother's advice when she said when someone invites you to do something, do it. Things will always be waiting for you at home, but the chance to do and be with someone may not come again. I'm grateful to just be here enjoying the season I am in.
    Thanks for sharing,Barb. Nola

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  4. Hi Barb,

    I love this. Whoever wrote this is so very wise! I was just reminded at the funeral we attended recently that most of our relatives that are older than us are gone now. We're the oldies now! How did that happen so quickly?

    I love the part about dancing with yourself to the 60's tunes! I do that all the time! And of course I love to stay up late and sleep in...who cares? Being more relaxed about my appearance is a plus, too. I care enough to look as good as I can, but I don't care if I don't look good enough to model swimsuits. (Or insulated coveralls, for that matter...LOL!)

    Frankly, I'm just happy to be here and still alive. Worrying about what people think or worrying about my wrinkles and age spots are a colossal waste of time. There is so much more to life than all that. I like myself so much better than I once did when I worried all the time about what people thought. Or worried about not getting every thing done that I thought I should...I was my own worst critic.

    There is some excellent advice in Nola's comment. "Life is too short to not enjoy it". May those of us who are growing older and facing challenges of one kind or another enjoy life! Thanks, dear friend, for sharing this and for the chuckle that Maxine always gives me...I love her!

    Hugs,
    Cheryl

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  5. Great Post.. Sister's are the best
    Thanks for sharing this...:-)
    Blessings to all.. Enjoying Life...

    Trish

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  6. Precious! Thank you.

    Yes, we need to notice and grab onto the perks of becoming "olden." 'Cause it's gonna' happen anyway and we might as well enjoy what we can of it. :-)

    Gentle Jan. hugs...

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  7. I love your posts! But more, i just love you! You're so great and I couldn't ask for a better Aunt!!!

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  8. I seem to have always felt older than I was, but I grieved as the years started to show on my face and in my body. I've sort of made peace with it now, but not totally. I do enjoy the good part of being old, the lessons I've learned and the contentment that I feel most of the time. It's true there is a real feeling of freedom. It blesses me that my gd's and dd's seek me for a listening ear and want to spend time with me. I'm aware that the time left is getting shorter, but I live one day at a time. Thanks for something to think about again. Good post. Linda

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  9. Thanks for a great reminder that getting older is not all bad.

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  10. Hi Barb,

    Thanks for visiting my blog and becoming a follower. I am going to enjoy your as well. I believe you are my first follower in Idaho and as you probably could tell, travel is my passion and I love making new blog friends from different places. We are expecting a winter storm here in East TN over the next couple of days - something you are quite familiar with, but let me assure you, we are NOT!! Should be interesting!

    Sharon

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  11. Thank you for taking the time to comment on my recent blog entry.

    Gentle hugs...

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  12. You are funny!! Out of all the people I know I would never classify you as one who cares about getting old. You always say how much you love your grand babies and if you never got old you would simply be stuck with your obnoxious children. We love you and you are truly the world's best mom and grandma!! Thanks for being your gorgeous, old self!!

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