Thursday, May 14, 2015

Old Age Is A Gift

I have decided that old age is a gift.

I am now, probably for the first time in my life,
the person I have always wanted to be.
Oh, not my body!
I sometime despair over my body -
the wrinkles, the baggy eyes,
and the sagging butt.

And often I am taken aback by
that old person that lives in my mirror,
but I don't agonize over those things for long.

I would never trade my amazing friends,
my wonderful life, my loving family
for less gray 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 cookie,
or for not making my bed,
or for buying that silly cement gecko
that I didn't need,
but looks so avant-garde on my patio.
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 aging.

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's,
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.
They, too, will get old!

I know I am sometimes forgetful.
But then 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 gray,
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 your 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.
And I shall eat dessert
every single day!

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