Two times today I have been a part of conversations about aging. One in the teacher’s lunch room and one at the wine store, both places I love to visit. It kind of got me thinking about aging and how I see life as it keeps moving.
To age well is a true gift, not in the no wrinkles and no gray hair kind of way- but to get to an old age and still be you is a gift. There are many, many… many thefts to that gift of ageing well- dementia, cancer, loneliness, Alzheimer’s and of course death.
I see wrinkles and gray hairs as reminders of the lessons and laughter, pain and joy that we all experience by the time we get to be an older person. I want wrinkles right near my eyes, showing that I am a laugher… I want hands that show that I worked my butt off to be a mom, a homemaker, a gardener and a hugger.
Today’s conversations reinforced my belief that age is a gift, and getting there is a privilege. To be 90 or 75 and get around, work and enjoy time, cook for family and have coffee with friends… to bake with grandkids and take care of my list of life things is a pretty awesome blessing. It isn’t like that for all. I have seen Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, I have seen cancer break down bodies and minds… for some that is the journey. I remind myself that we don’t get to know the journey, only the right now. I remind myself that I need to get to my ages content with my life.
We should enter each age, stage, growth and level of maturity content with our life. We don’t get to see tomorrow, to know that we will be there or be healthy for it… so we just need to be in the now. We need to live our life how we need to in the moment we are in. When I am 42, 55 ½ , 64, 72 or maybe even 90 I need to be okay with life. If get to those days unhappy, unfulfilled, empty, angry or dissatisfied I didn’t do life right. I need to do life right…
Bare with me…
I used to deliver newspapers, I hated it. Rain, snow, sleet, Sundays, Easter, vacations… ugh. My sister and I would split the route, whoever drew the short straw had to do the ‘Far End’ all.the.way down to Ainsworth’s. Just before the ‘Far End’ was Mrs. Scott. Back then she was only in her 90’s… with her cute green house, her dress with an apron and her uncanny ability to tell you what was on her mind. My mom would tell us she better not find out we didn’t help Leah (Mrs. Scott) sweep her porch or shovel the snow. The thing is if we did more than put her newspaper into the wooden box on her porch, she would be out there telling us she can do it all.by.herself. One night my grandparents brought us to dinner for Leah’s birthday, in Chaumont for a fish fry. She ordered a big beer and laughed her butt off. My sisters and I sat wide eyed and wondering about a 90 year old ordering a beer at dinner. She lived. Leah Scott lived exactly how she needed to, until she didn’t. She didn’t live her life easy, or pain free. She lived it, until she didn’t.
I often think of Leah Scott and my grandparents and my Aunt Jane. I reflect on them living. I miss my grandparents, even today. They lived into their 70’s, not old but enough. My grandpa passed away on the first day of college. He had Alzheimer’s. He spent a lot of time not getting to be the Lyle he was before… the one I miss. My grandmother missed him terribly, she battled Parkinson’s and Dementia, waiting to dance with him. They needed a lot of help in those years but I look up to them so much for living and respecting and honoring one another. I know those last years weren’t the way they imagined, but I know they did their lives the way they wanted/needed. I know things happened that hurt and broke them… life is hard. I also know that they aged and lived well- not all super perfect. My grandma died with her feet dancing, like her husband was waiting for her to dance again.
Live it well. Get to those years and know you did it well- even if it isn’t always happy, be content where you are. If you aren’t content- change something. Live today just as you should- contently. Tomorrow is not promised and it can change your forever plan in a moment. In moments our ideas of our future can and will be shattered. Live it well.
I will get to the age that I do… I will be content and wrinkly and brushing my gray hairs. I will live the way I need to as long as I can, until I don’t. I know I have ZERO control about how I will be as time moves… whether cancer will hurt my body, dementia will attack my thoughts or I will be blessed with time that I can care for myself for a long time. I know life is freakin’ hard.
So… for any fearing age- be grateful. Age is a gift… some never get wrinkles, gray hairs. We all have hard times, loss, grief… how we live and maintain contentment is a very big indicator of how we live and survive and hurt and cry… at the end of the day we must live it until we don’t.