Thursday, August 30, 2007

How does it feel to be old?

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 avant-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)




Ananke said...

OK, we're around the same age so if you're old then I'm old too! I don't have gray hair though. It's coming in WHITE. OMFG!!!!! And things aren't as, er, "firm" as they used to be. But I've enjoyed every year from then to now. It feels pretty good to be old. :-)

thethinker said...

That was a very beautifully written post.

don't call me MA'AM said...

I've seen this one before and also like it.

However, there's a LOT I would trade for a flatter belly. ;-)

Stinkypaw said...

ananke: Same here for the white hair - let's not waste time on turning gray. I've had fun as well and wouldn't go back... well, maybe just a little! ;-)

thinker: Thanks but I didn't write that! (that's probably why it was beautifully written!)

dcmm: Same here, but not lots just some!

Purple Pigeon said...

Still being at that awkward kind of ''omg i have to be all slim etc cuz what will people think of me??'' age, I am oddly comforted at the thought of getting older and not giving a crap. I am going to have long grey hair and be goddam proud, i decided long ago! Though to be honest, that post does actually hit home a bit, as recently I have been thinking ''who gives a f**k what i look like?? does it make me enjoy myself any differently if people i have never met and never will think good or bad of me?? no!''

sorry if this comment is rambly and makes no sense, I'm in an odd mood!

mrsnesbitt said...

A lovely post with a poem to echo the wonderful sentiment!


Upresh@Pappu said...

haha i googled "how does it feel like to be old", and your blog came up 1st..ill read and be back..thanks cheers

Upresh@Pappu said...

very nice..i enjoyed this...guess i gotta just carpe diem..thankss!!!

Anonymous said...

@upper.. l0l@!, same...

Anonymous said...

Total bullsh*t... It's not that you've stopped caring about what others think - your body and mind have slowed down so much that you litterally don't have the energy to care anymore!

Much in the same way that a highly sedated patient in a mental hospital doesn't 'care' to brush their hair or maintain their appearance... their faculties are altered and they lack the energy and drive to 'care'... lol

Getting old sucks... there is nothing magical or special about it. It will happen to us all, sooner for some as they will let go earlier - later for others as some will try to hold on to youth much longer!

I refuse to grow old gracefully... I enjoy the battle against mother-nature, and will continue to fight the clock.

I train hard, eat very healthy and get lots of sleep. I'm 58 Y/O - but have been told I look half that age!!

One day science might find a cure for old age.. until that point, we must continue to fight the good fight.

I say to hell with growing old gracefully - that's for cowards !! lol