Sunday, 27 January 2008

The Gift of Growing Old

I got this in an email...

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 father!), but I don't agonize over those things for long.

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, and 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 past, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love .. I will.

I will walk the beach in a swimsuit 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 is 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).



The Real Mother Hen said...

What a beautiful piece.

I don't mind being old and forgetful and dancing to myself... I've already done that when I have a good old scotch whisky!

Michelle said...


I'm already forgetful without extreme age or alcohol... no hope for me! :-D

I really liked this one too. Nice to read something happy about getting older for a change.

Choc Mint Girl said...

Very beautiful! Amazingly, I can feel what it's like to be old just by reading this post. Can't imagine how I look like when I'm getting old though hi hi hi...

Amel's Realm said...

SUPERB post, M!!! I'm smiling all the way through. ;-D

Blur Ting said...

This is so beautifully written Michelle. It says perfectly how I should feel too. You're a role model for everyone you know!

Michelle said...

Thank you Crystal, Amel and Blur.

You made my day! :-)

I really liked this one too. A lot of the emails I get are silly jokes, but this was so nice, and wise, I had to share it.

HollyGL said...

This is a lovely post, Michelle. And what a true sentiment. Just lovely.

heartvision said...

I am a male and can transpose this easily. Wonderfully said.

Michelle said...

Hi heartvision

It is a wonderful piece of writing. :-)