Saturday, 30 January 2016

Old Age is not so Bad

Old Age is not so Bad

Rainbow Warrior.

Yes it is a fact, that is me I am looking at in the mirror. I often ask myself who is that staring back at me, but the bottom line is I know it is me. 

So let me get positive, old age is a gift. I am now probably for the first time in my life, a person I have always wanted to be, the person I have spent years hunting for. Oh for sure, not my body! I sometimes despair over my body - the wrinkles and the muscles that used to run up and down mountains not so tight anymore. But I do not agonise over these things for long.

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less grey 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 biscuit, or for buying that extra large buddha that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my fireplace.

I am entitled to overeat, 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 raging.

Whose business is it if I choose to get up at 5am and write a blog and read my book, and go to bed at 9pm? 

I will sing with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 50s & 60s even with my gravelly voice, 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 bikini set.I will ignore my son when he smilingly says, "Not so much the James Bond look," as he looks at my summer pictures.  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 a 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 turn grey  even though it happened overnight after a mountain fall, 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. 

I can say "no" and mean it. I can say "yes" and mean it. 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 the question of those who ask what it is like to be old, 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, and in spite of what the pundits tell me if I feel like an ale with a friend I will have it. 

Remember that 24 hours after you have read this you to will be a day older. 


1 comment:

  1. How right you are, Ralph, even if for me, it's a case of putting my light out at 2 am and getting up at 10 am (how inconvenient that the rest of world doesn't fit in with my timetable! ;)