Growing old gracefully sounds so idyllic. I see a beautiful, silver-haired woman riding on a bike trail with an equally handsome silver- haired George Clooney look-a-like. Of course they both look like they are about 40! Has anyone ever seen this couple? I don’t think so! I am not sure that graceful and growing old should be in the same sentence. And I think the word “young” should be changed to “non-old”, it puts a whole different perspective on things.
Spider veins that are like rivers with hundreds of tributaries, wrinkles like a Sharpei, bat wings and jello butt—that is what I see in the mirror every morning, if I remember to put on my glasses. If George Clooney ever shows up I am hallucinating. The truth hurts. When the reality of aging and the fantasy of aging are on opposite rims of the Grand Canyon we all know it is really, really far down to the canyon floor. Would you rather look young and feel old, or look old and feel young? I am not sure how I would answer this question, but I am pretty sure the question is one of those conundrums that may never be solved. I prefer simple yes or no choices. Chocolate or Caramel Swirl ice cream? Yes, both please!
Making my way through a mine field, very slowly and carefully I am learning who I am with the miles adding up. I hear myself saying “I’m not as young as I used to be” and questioning my choices. Should I be using a ladder to change a lightbulb or do I really want to keep weeding and mowing? I can make coffee, a necessity and a very safe activity, but too much cleaning, dusting and re-arranging gives me a rash. I have almost no patience for bullshit and more patience with my flawed self on good days. This is good because I seem to move a little slower and my thinking is a bit slower too. My boundless energy from childhood now has boundaries; I try to use my energy for joyful activities. Falling asleep at a stoplight is not a joyful activity.
“I used to be_____.” fill in the blank. Whoever I used to be is so yesterday, who I am now is today. Ram Dass said Be. Here. Now. I realize it is not important for me to know how I got here and where I am going to be comfortable in my own skin, no matter how wrinkled it is. How can the Past and the Future fit in a moment that is full of Now?