What’s it Like to Get Old?

I would never trade my friends, my life, or my family for less grey hair or a flatter belly. As I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder 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 goose that I didn’t need, but looks so avant garde on my porch. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, and to be extravagant. I have seen too many friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with ageing. 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 wish to weep over a lost love … I will.
I will walk on the beach in a swim suit that is stretched, 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 leaves, or even when somebody’s beloved pet dies? 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 grey, 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’s 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 the 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. I will remember the good things I have done in the past and the accomplishments I have achieved. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).

7 thoughts on “What’s it Like to Get Old?”

  1. Gail Wonderful article I too have grey hair when i am over due for a hair appt… That I can control Other “stuff” I cannot . Yes , Savor each day. Learn something new. Be happy . Love deeply. And for Larry C. VOTE REPUBLICAN!!! Haaa.

  2. Just lived this yesterday. As I sat in my daughters hair salon watching her color this womans(about my age), I was aked by her husband how I thought we would look with our hair darkened. I responded that I earn every one of my grey hairs and wouldnt trade one of my experiences getting them.NOT SO BAD GETTIN OLD. RAY

  3. I had a birthday during the night. After spending the WHOLE day in Cincinnati I went to bed just short of 70 and woke up this morning having turned 100 during the night. I was slow, sore, aching, foggy headed, blurry eyed and slightly incoherent. But, like you said, I was still alive and after a stroll to the john and a sip of orange juice the years began peeling off. Fifteen minutes later I was near 70 again. These things didn’t happen when I was 30 but I don’t regret the passing of those 40 years. They’ve been a great ride, met lots of people, raised a family, built a career, had a ton of fun, buried a lot of friends and learned much about the value of life and how quickly it can be lost. So, like you, Gail, I’ll take what each day delivers me and embrace it. Being 70 is still experiencing life and I still look forward to tomorrows new adventure. Thanks for the great article.

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