I’ve been thinking about aging lately. It might have to do with the fact that amid the ashes of my marriage’s implosion, I’m now finding small green shoots of hope. Whether it’s the dream of traveling or embracing a new relationship or exploring a creative passion, I’m allowing my imagination to dance again.
But usually at some point a panorama of negatives about aging comes into the picture. Age complete with a flimsy aluminum walker and ivory-topped wooden cane.
Age with its wrinkles
and lumps . . .
Age with its loose skin
and compromised hearing.
Is there enough time to let those green shoots grow?
Am I too old to dance in the streets during Carnival in Rio
to have an extraordinary relationship
to become a visual artist?
My thoughts sway with the ferocity of winds in a confused hurricane, strong and strange and unpredictable. One moment I’m saddened at perceived limitations. The next moment I’m excited with expanding possibilities. Here I stand at this odd cusp in my life, marveling at the push-pull of existence: Youth/Old Age, forward-looking/past-focused. I’m a Great Aunt and the mother of teenagers, an orphan and a single woman contemplating dating again someday.
I’m betwixt and between.
In department stores, younger salesclerks ignore me in favor of 20-somethings.
Women in their 60s tell me I’m just a baby.
On television my contemporaries fight desperately to stay young.
The people I’m meeting in their 60s and 70s are so much more content and purposeful than most of my peers.
Aging is a reality in the sense that
our bodies change
our past experiences inform what we do now and in the future
and we move through time no matter how much we might want to halt it. (And, my friends, halting it would be death.)
But is aging the end of fruitful living? Is it to be feared?
Or is aging an adventure? Does it deserve cultural — and personal — reframing?
What do you think? How do you relate to aging?
(BTW, I’m not at work today, so I can finally really carry on a conversation with anyone who cares to comment!)